“Black Wednesday” was a very small taste of what the internet could be like in the future for America. Google had a big black rectangle covering its logo and Wikipedia was “offline” in protest of the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills that are in deliberation in Congress. By now, we have all heard the hype and we should all be highly concerned. The intent of the bills is to protect United States copyright laws from piracy that is taking place mainly from rogue websites that are registered and run overseas. The fear is that these bills and their vague definitions could bleed into other areas and many are afraid that its reach could dramatically change internet life today as we know it, which would affect our Freedom of Speech in America, not to mention jobs, business and the economy.
If this causes a change in your pulse rate, then you are not alone. It is a very scary reality.
We can see how things would be through the eyes of China. They have used censorship on the internet for years through China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or MIIT. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Flickr, no YouTube. They even block certain keywords from being searched. Many of you may not be aware that we already are being censored from certain topics on the internet because of business relations that we have with China. Search engines and software companies that we use every day have already heeded to the Chinese and their demands for censorship. If SOPA and PIPA pass, the fear is that Americans will know exactly how it is for the government to police the internet.
Yes, copyright laws and the arts are important and the piracy needs to be stopped, but there are other ways they can be protected and this is where Congresses focus needs to be channeled. We, in the United States, take some of our freedoms for granted every day, but as Americans we need to stand up and fight for our unalienable rights under the Constitution, or we can start to kiss more and more of our freedoms goodbye.