Today marks the one year anniversary of the protest against SOPA and PIPA. Around this time last year, all of the Internet was abuzz with conversation surrounding these cryptic, and yet very ominous, acronyms. SOPA, shorthand for Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, Protect IP Act, were legislations that threatened online freedom as well as what has now grown to be New York’s tech innovation economy. Forbes Magazine ranked the protests against SOPA among the top events of 2012, alongside President Obama’s re-election and the devastation wrought by hurricane Sandy.
This time last year, thousands from the New York tech scene, organized under New York Tech Meetup and Aaron Swartz of Demand Progress, took to the streets to make their voices heard. While on Twitter, conversation peaked at over 1,676,153 tweets, a figurative uprising when plotted on a scatter plot. Millions of calls and emails sent to Congress, and thousands of website blackouts finally culminated in the bills being stopped.
Today, we remember how internet users let Congress know that, as David Segal of Demand Progress said best, “we are real, we exist in three dimensions, not just online.” Today, we remember heroes like Aaron Swartz of Demand Progress, whose online petition educated and incited action. Most of all today, we celebrate our freedom to create, innovate, and contribute to the economy. Happy #InternetFreedomDay!
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