Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. probably never would have imagined a day when civil rights demonstrations would take place on the Internet, but such a day has arrived.
In the never-ending quest to protect free speech and freedom of the Internet, the international hacktivist collective known as "Anonymous" and others have called for a general strike to take place on the Internet between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST on January 18, 2012.
Social news aggregator Reddit, online encyclopedia Wikipedia and others will be shutting down for 12 hours on January 18 to protest freedom-choking bills such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).
"We're not taking this action lightly. We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it." — Reddit administration team
The SOPA strike is set to occur on the same day that Congress will be hearing witnesses such as Reddit's co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, voice their concerns about SOPA and PIPA before the US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
"They said 'bring in the nerds,' so I'm headed to DC to testify about SOPA/PIPA." — Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder and technology investor
The online strike is set to continue despite this weekend's statement from the White Housecontending that it would not "support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet." (Joint statement prepared by: Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, Howard Schmidt.)
"We have no indication that SOPA is fully off the table. PIPA is still alive and kicking. We need to send Washington a BIG message." — Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder
The Twitter hashtag "#J18" has become the rallying cry for Twitter users who support the January 18 SOPA blackout and have committed to refraining from sending out tweets on that day.
SOPA strikers and their supporters have created various tools for people to show support, such as:
Internet advocacy group, Fight For the Future, created a SopaStrike page, where anyone who is interested can see which websites are currently participating in Wednesday's strike.
In the meantime, the powerful media mogul and SOPA-supporter, Rupert Murdoch, has been madly tweeting anti-SOPA messages via his Twitter account, causing Technorati blogger, Stephen Alexander, to speculate: "So just like Oprah Winfrey was sued and had her mouth tamed by the beef industry, perhaps Google could sue Mr. Murdoch and tame his mouth."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream.
We, the people who use and benefit from the free-flow of information on the Internet, have a dream, too.
We have a dream that the Internet will one day be free from greedy and contentious elements who would co-opt it and corral it toward their own ends.
We have a dream that the Internet will one day be freely accessible to all without fear of reprisals, recriminations, or "indefinite detention."
We have a dream that one day freedom will ring across the Internet and into homes, businesses, governments and enterprises everywhere.
And when that day comes?
Thank God Almighty. We will be free at last.
Alexis Ohanian January 9 Twitter status
Stopped they must be; on this all depends.
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