SOPA and PIPA endanger internet freedoms

As of 10:34 p.m., on Thursday, January 19, World War Web was trending on Twitter.
This might sound like I’m beating the drum of anti-SOPA individuals, but I have hated this piece of legislation since I heard about it in October and November.
No, I do not care about online piracy and getting free music. However, I do care about a free and open internet.
Most might feel that I am jumping off the deep end by saying that SOPA and PIPA would have led to a loss of freedom on the internet.
However, this Patriot Act on the web would have taken us much closer to 1984 or other dystopian ideas.
We are not China or Iran. We are better than that.
When I first started writing a column for this week’s Cluster, I really wanted to write a long platform on why I support Ron Paul.
I wanted to alert as many as possible as to why Ron Paul is a viable candidate for the 2012 Presidential Election.
Well, this quickly changed into reasons why SOPA really was worse than it seemed.
Not to forget Ron Paul or anything, but in one of the most recent Republican nomination debates, Paul made remarks suggesting that SOPA and PIPA might have died, but this would not be the end of Big Brother-esque legislation.
I only hope that he is not the only one that sees this and wants to act against it.
As for World War Web, I am not sure if you have ever heard of the group called Anonymous, online hackers that hate excessive governmental control and promote both internet freedom and freedom of speech.
They have been called domestic terrorists, but I’m sure George Washington and the other founding fathers were called that after the Christmas massacre during the Revolutionary War.
I’m not equating their actions here as anymore world-changing than the other, but the time will come when Anonymous will drive a severe blow and people will have to pick sides.
SOPA and PIPA were designed to curb online piracy. This is a noble cause, and I support this endeavor, if only it had been done correctly.
All too often, great ideas for legislation become bastardized and destroyed by the bureaucracy of Congress.
The idea was that offending websites could be taken down and blocked online, but there were far too many gray areas that would allow for serious lockdowns on freedoms.
The Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Acts (SOPA and PIPA’s real names) are just the tip of the iceberg.
I wrote about ACTA last year, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, and that was signed by the U.S. in October.
Our freedoms are going to be infringed upon again and again.
I don’t want to scare everyone, but I honestly do not believe that we are headed down a path that will undermine the liberties we hold near and dear.
We are not China, Iran or North Korea.
We are the United States.
Yes, there is a significant problem with online piracy, but that cannot just be solved in a few overbearing acts that are more like a bull in a china shop than a real targeted approach.
Finally, let me get to my point about World War Web.
Last Thursday, Megaupload was taken down by the United States.
The seven individuals most involved with the site were charged with online piracy.
While this was threatened to happen because of SOPA, the American government showed that they will take action, regardless of what the public says. Hence, Anonymous struck back.
At least 27,000 computers were put to work, and the internet experienced major effects.
The FBI and Department of Justice websites were taken down, along with several companies from the entertainment world like the RIAA.
The initial blast has been labeled as a malicious act, and the Federal government is threatening significant jail-time for anyone who participates in these “attacks.”
On January 19, many websites went offline for a day, such as English Wikipedia. I lost a lot of respect for Facebook, any that I had left really.
Twitter was able to readily get information out there, and it was necessary so people could know what exactly was happening.
At the very least, Google had a large censorship bar across their logo, a silent protest against the impending legislation.
Facebook did not do a single thing, not even a censorship bar.
I’ve always had qualms about Facebook, and this action, well lack of action, is making me rethink having a Facebook.
It wouldn’t be much. One person deleting their account, but you never should underestimate the will of a small group of people.
After all, a few thousand people took down part of the U.S. Government’s internet capabilities.
There is no telling what could come next.
I’m not technically savvy enough to be a part of this activist group.
However, I support them.
I do not condone idiocy, but their efforts have been protests of Scientology and corrupt governments overseas.
Wikileaks, while damning to some of America’s relations overseas, has potential. Anonymous are the ones to see this out.
I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg.

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