Internet-wide Information Blackout in Protest of Censorship Bill Going Before Congress Jan. 24
Today many of our essential free information websites have chosen to censor themselves in a concerted effort to bring immediate nationwide awareness to the internet censorship bill, PIPA, or the Protect Intellectual Property Act. This bill is slated to appear before Congress for vote on January 24th and could put out of business many of your favorite and crucial websites, such as Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, and even sites like ICanHasCheezburger. Many of these sites have literally blacked out their content, replacing it with links to your congressmen’s contact info and websites with information. This call to action is a massive, proactive effort to get citizens to contact their congressmen immediately and stand together against this breach of First Amendment rights and the resulting loss of the free flow of information.
If PIPA passes, and also its companion bill SOPA going before the House soon, then sites could legally be monitored and censored to the point of crippling their ability to function as businesses and as a means of communication. Websites could be blocked based on a single infringement claim, without any due process of law. So, using the same methods being utilized by the repressive governments of China, Iran and Syria, the US government would be allowed to block a site’s web and ad traffic, as well search the sites, including emails, tweets, and Facebook posts. Unlike other countries that have had to revolt, sometimes utilizing these same social media as a means of organization, we have come to take for granted that these sites will always be free. If these bills pass, in the future we may find ourselves in the same predicament as they are now.
Text: Daniel Feral