Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA would lead to 'Mad Max'-style Darknet

In a remarkable example of a grassroots campaign gone viral, several websites including Google, Reddit, Wikipedia , BoingBoing, Imgur and Tucows, are planning an unprecedented Internet "strike" Wednesday to protest controversial anti-piracy legislation being considered by Congress.

Many of the sites plan to go completely dark on Jan 18 to show opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Google will not go dark, but plans to note its opposition by sticking a protest link on its home page.

"Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet," Google said in a statement. "So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our US home page."

According to Fight for the Future, one of the groups organizing the protests, nearly 12,000 websites have said they will join the blackout. That number is still growing.

The planned strike prompted a sharp response from at least one major supporter of the legislation. In a statement Tuesday, former Sen. Chris Dodd, now chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), blasted the so-called Internet Blackout Day.

"It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information," Dodd said. "It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. Read More