The People Trying To Ruin The Internet: Mel Watt

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At the Voice, we have been regularly following internet policy developments. We figured it would be cool -- maybe even a public service? -- to ID people who keep pushing for web-killing proposals such as SOPA and PIPA in this new, occasional feature: "The People Trying To Ruin The Internet." Enjoy!

Rep. Mel Watt (D-North Carolina) is proof that you can be the ranking member of the judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property, competition, and the internet without being much of an intellectual.

Watt agreed to co-sponsor SOPA with Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas.)

His SOPA support alone, however, isn't what makes Watt an enemy to a free web; a lot of people backed the bill and then abandoned it. Nor is his rumored luddism all that troubling; a lot of people don't like or understand tech -- especially our curmudgeonly Congress members -- and that doesn't make them bad per se.

Rather, Watt's attitude astounds -- in a bad way.

During hearings, he reportedly said, "I don't know about the technical stuff, but I don't believe the experts."

As Vice's Motherboard noted, Watt also proudly proclaimed, "I'm not a nerd" as justification for dismissing this evidence.

Yeah...

There's at least one thing Watt is pretty smart about when it come to the tech realm: He pocketed $130,000 in campaign donations from the TV, music, and movie industries during his tenure in Congress.

Watt's office didn't get back to multiple Voice requests for comment.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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4 comments
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Zoey_Anderson
Zoey_Anderson

This whole concept of "People Trying to Ruin the Internet" is incredibly absurd.  By supporting SOPA these politicans were attempting to protect the legitimate intellectual propery rights of their constituents. The bill would not 'ruin the internet'.

Michijo
Michijo

If you are really concerned about internet-freedom, we could always secede from the American South, which is where this guy Mel Watt is from. Of course, there are also those in Connecticut, though breaking off from The South would alleviate a lot of the conservative power eslewhere in the USA.

Michijo
Michijo

Luddism can be a revolutionary stance against the American Way of Life as well, depending upon how it is carried out. The internet is a new authority that everyone bows before. People sit in front of their computers in a sort of religious obeisance, like Muslims kowtowing to Mecca or Hasidic Jews nodding in front of the Torah. It's already something very controlling and dehumanizing. It only needs these religious nuts to censor it, and it's a form of enslavement. I predict rebellion in the near future against the internet.

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