The day the internet went black
10:01pm | 18 January 2012 | by Mike Rispoli, English
As many sites all across the internet Wednesday went black, Access today took the the halls of Washington and the streets of New York to tell Congress to stop the PROTECT-IP Act, an incredibly dangerous piece of legislation that seriously threatens digital rights, innovation, and the integrity of the internet.
In New York, the Access team, along with hundreds of people from the NYC tech and human rights community, gathered outside of Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in a demonstration against PIPA and its House companion bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Among others, representatives from Reddit, NY Tech Meetup, and Tumblr Vice-President and Chairman of the Access Board of Directors Andrew McLaughlin spoke before the large crowd, highlighting how these bills will dramatically alter the nature of the internet, infringe on free speech, and inhibit a growing industry. Find more photos of the rally below.
Down in Washington D.C., Access' Policy Director Jochai Ben-Avie, armed with a letter from the international community, met with legislative representatives to discuss how to protect the internet and defeat PIPA. Because of the influence of US legislation, the passage of PIPA would have far-reaching implications, which stretch beyond America's shores, by sending an unequivocal message that censoring the web is not only acceptable but encouraged.
Over the course of the day, several lawmakers including Sens. Marco Rubio, John Coryn, Jim DeMint, Mark Kirk, Roy Blunt, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (one of the bill's original authors) dropped their support of PIPA. The big question remains, however, whether or not opponents will attain the 41 votes needed in order to fillibuster Tuesday's cloture vote.
While some lawmakers have changed their minds, there are rumblings that more changes will be made to PIPA, making the fate of this bill still very much undecided. We will keep you updated as we learn more about it in the days ahead.
(A view of the protest Wednesday afternoon)
(Tumblr Vice-President and Chairman of the Access Board of Directors Andrew McLaughlin)
(Protestors at the rally)