Beating SOPA/PIPA With a Blindfold
By: Chris Kazarian, January 18, 2012
“There is no way to fight apathy so don’t even try.” – Abraham Lincoln, in The Gettysburg Address
It’s a dark time for the Internet, metaphorically speaking, as sites such as Wikipedia, Google, Reddit and countless others send a clear message to Congress against two proposed pieces of legislation – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) – that could cause irreparable harm for the millions of Americans that derive pleasure from surfing the web.
While these websites have taken a strong stance on SOPA/PIPA by blocking out their names or the sites altogether, there are many Americans who are unsure how to best make their voices heard.
The traditionalist in me would be to recommend writing your congressional representative.
But is that good enough? No. Will it be effective? Probably not.
That is why I am proposing more drastic measures. Earlier today I took to Twitter and Facebook, announcing I would be closing my eyes the entire day when surfing the World Wide Web.
If websites can take that step, so can we. It is time we make a sacrifice for the greater good.
So far the plan seems to have worked.
Every time I launch my web browser, I slip a bandana over my eyes. For additional security I close my eyes really tightly, in case my bandana falls off.
I’m not sure where I’ve been to on the Internet today, but so far my boss hasn’t fired me. And I’m pretty sure I landed on a bunch of good sites – including one in which I heard George Takei laughing and baking bread. I highly recommend that site.
Making the struggle personal
What’s great about this movement is that it is contagious.
I’ve been successful in getting many of my coworkers to join in, although I was pretty pissed off when I caught my cubicle-mate peaking at his email from the corner of his eye. I chastised him pretty bad and made him pinky promise in front of everyone he would not do it again.
I also was annoyed when I found another coworker browsing the Internet while pretending to sleep. To be fair, he reeked of beer, weed, and sausage links so he may have been recovering from a rough night on the town.
Looking on the bright side, it has been astounding to see the good that mankind can do when pressed to take action against injustice.
The greatest example of this occurred just minutes ago when I received a text from a close college friend in New Jersey who had taken my lead and run with it.
He elected to drive the entire day with his eyes closed. Granted, he sideswiped two cars in Hoboken and nearly hit a busload of Japanese tourists, but he is standing up for civil rights.
And for a notoriously bad driver (17 speeding tickets and five accidents in the past six months) my friend did incredibly well for essentially driving blind.
Of course there have been countless stories of similar courage – like my friend who urinated on his work computer and his friends who posted the video of him doing it onto YouTube – that prove to me this is not a passing fad.
What I have done today has sent a message even more powerful than the one being communicated by the likes of Wikipedia, Google and Reddit. I have basically told Congress that even if they take away my Internet, they will never get my eyes.