Daily Archives: January 18, 2012

Whiteout During A Blackout

Many of you are probably aware of today’s internet blackout, where many prominent websites are protesting the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) bills that are currently being considered. These bills were created to potentially help end piracy on the web for musicians, filmmakers, and other artists, which means well, but the end result would mean government involvement in censoring the internet.

Obviously a lot of people have a problem with that.

I think the biggest fear people have is that if the government begins censoring even just a small portion of the internet, couldn’t they potentially begin censoring everything on the internet? I mean, we’ve heard horror stories about the government in China doing a lot of internet censorship, and it is easy to jump to that conclusion.

I know our country was founded on the principles of free speech, and as of right now, I feel like the internet is one of the only good examples of that we have left of that principle today.

My appreciation for the internet has grown ten fold since the beginning of the Occupy movement. How many TV stations were reporting on the movement when it started? Zero. They blocked it out and wouldn’t report on it. Does that give anyone else the chills? That a major protest could be happening in part of our country (it was just NY at that point) and our media was acting as if nothing was happening?

How much more are our television networks “conveniently” not telling us?

The internet is not subject to any political party. Obviously some websites are, but we can choose what we take in.

Once the government becomes involved, even if they’re just putting a toe in the pool, they jeopardize the notion of free speech.

Beyond that, I can see how one thing might lead to another. If artists are upset about the piracy of their work, what if doctors are upset that more and more people are relying on the internet for medical advice? Is it possible that this “threat to their livelihood” could cause the government to step in and censor medical websites? That might sound far fetched, but as much as our country toots the free speech horn they also value business above much else. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be so keen on passing these bills involving censorship in the first place, right?

The answer to this censorship problem seems to be simple. Don’t let the government start. Keep the internet open and free.

As someone who has a mental illness and blogs openly about it on the internet, yeah. Free speech is extremely important to me.

The internet is one of the few places I don’t feel like a second-class citizen. Here, I am not disabled. I am not defined by the fact that I have a low income. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have insurance. I’m just like anyone else who has something to say, with a free platform to say it.

Let’s keep it that way.

If you have a moment, please be sure to tell Congress to end piracy, not liberty.