NDAA and SOPA aren't even approved yet, but closures of the accounts of Twitter users who write on controversial topics, such as Occupy Wall Street and the bills themselves, seem to suggest that their effects may already be trickling down to the web.
The National Defense Authorization Act and Stop Online Privacy Act both contain provisions that would severely curtail certain constitutional rights currently held by all Americans, if they are signed into law.
The NDAA would authorize indefinite detention without the right to trial, and SOPA would make it so the government could shut down a whole host of websites at will, including ubiquitous giants like Twitter, YouTube and even Google.
The tenets of SOPA, which is currently before the U.S. House of Representatives (the Senate version of the bill is called PIPA), are the ones that seem to already be having an impact on web users.
David Seaman, the intrepid Business Insider columnist who has been covering NDAA and SOPA like a hawk, published a story on Sunday called Welcome to the United Police States of America, Sponsored By Twitter.
The piece details his harrowing tale of having his Twitter account shut down because, he believes, the social media site believed he was talking too much about Occupy Wall Street ... and talking too much about the controversial detainment without trial provisions contained in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
He said he sees his account's closure, essentially, as a response to his being too vocal about issues that don't jibe with the interests of certain powerful parties. Sounds like the veiled purpose many people see behind SOPA.
Seaman's account was re-opened later Sunday, after he contacted Twitter about his predicament. The social media site may also have been concerned about their image in the wake of the story, which had been viewed more than 60,000 times as of Monday morning. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the International Business Times Monday.
Twitter's official response to me: my acct was 'caught up in one of spam groups by mistake,' Seaman tweeted on his newly reinstated account.
But he isn't just accepting that explanation. On Monday he tweeted that he has to take Twitter at its word that I was removed due to autospam filter, BUT: 'spam' & 'copyright infring.' will be how state silences.
And he pointed out another Twitter user who has written about OWS, @occupybay_2, whose Twitter account has also been suspended.
Twitter user @Kallisti Tweeted that she had another issue with Twitter that related to Seaman and his article. She said she attempted to Tweet the Sunday piece by Seaman out to her followers and was thwarted in her efforts, instead being greeted by an error message reading Something is technically wrong--Thanks for noticing. We're going to fix it and have things back to normal soon.
It may just be a coincidence that these sorts of things are happening while SOPA is before the House, and as Americans wait for the Senate to take up PIPA when it returns from its winter recess.
But I'd be willing to bet this is just the beginning of a long pattern of Internet censorship that will plague countless web users as these bills become law.