The House member makes the case that a conservative approach is the best hope for keeping the Internet full of win.
Congressman Darrell Issa/Flickr
On the national stage, California Republican Darrell Issa has been known for a curiously colorful variety of things. As chairman of the U.S. House of Representative's lead oversight committee, Issa, has been the thorn in the Obama Administration's side over the "Fast and Furious" gun-walking operation that found Attorney General Eric Holder in congressional contempt and how the Department of Energy's billions in stimulus dollars are being spent. It was six-term, 58-year-old Issa who was the responsible for not letting Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke testify at that contraception hearing. He's also the entrepreneur who made a fortune in car alarms and other electronics, money he used to fund the 2003 recall of Governor Gray Davis. It is, rather famously, Issa's voice that says "Protected by Viper...Stand back!" in the '90s TV commercials.
But in the tech world, the congressman from north of San Diego is known for something quite particular. Darrell Issa emerged during this winter's debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act as a politician willing to question Washington dogma about how you go about protecting copyright online. Issa and a suddenly swelling band of allies asked tough, tech-savvy question about what the legislation would do to the Internet's workings: the effect of website blackouts on the domain-name system, for example, and the liabilities the bill would place on sites like YouTube and everyday blogs to patrol for infringement. Darrell Issa sounded the alarm over SOPA. The Internet came running.