Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Power Of The People

Yesterday was a good opening salvo:

Wednesday's online protests against two online antipiracy billscurrently before Congress are being hailed as a success after sites such as BoingBoing, Reddit and Wikipedia temporarily shut down to oppose the Stop Online Piracy (SOPA) and Protect IP (PIPA) Acts. As a result, more than 162 million people saw the protest message on Wikipedia, 18 senators have backed away from the proposed legislation, and 4.5 million people signed a petition against the acts.

The New York Times called Wednesday's online activism, that also included messages of protest from Craigslist, Google and Mozilla, "a political coming of age for the tech industry." ...

Now that the lights are back on at Wikipedia, BoingBoing is publishing, and Reddit users are once again commenting on cute puppy pictures here's a look at the fallout from Wednesday's protests and where the debate goes from here.

-4.5 million people signed Google's anti-SOPA/PIPA petition, according to the Los Angeles Times

-25 Senators now oppose PIPA (the Senate version of SOPA), according toOpenCongress

-Twitter saw more than 2.4 million SOPA-related tweets between midnight and 4 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday

-Two SOPA co-sponsors and several others dropped support for the House bill

-More than 8 million people used Wikipedia's search tool to look up their elected representatives' contact information

-News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch accused "the blogosphere" of "terrorizing many senators and congressmen who previously committed" to SOPA and PIPA.

-Conservative publication The National Review called on Congress to dump SOPA

An alternate bill has been introduced in the House, too, supposedly one that takes a much more reasoned approach to balancing the need to crack down on genuine privacy while still preventing the kind of abuse that government censorship will inevitably produce.

As is depressingly normal with Congress, however, the fight is only beginning.  The first actual vote is on January 24th, so feel free to continue hammering away at your representatives to get them to oppose these terrible bills.

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