PIPA or the Protect IP Act
SOPA or the Stop Online Piracy Act
ACTA or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
You must remember the internet blackout earlier in the year, Wikipedia google and other major websites shut down or blacked out in some way. Well, they were protesting against these acts.
These are government policies essentially aimed at cracking down on internet piracy. SOPA and PIPA were being considered by US congress, while ACTA is an agreement already being implemented in countries all over the world.
The problem with these policies is that they are threatening the open and free nature of the internet. It’s basically censorship. The wording of these documents is very vague, and the powers given to them too extreme. For example, if content deemed pirated is found on a website, even if it’s in a comment left by a random user, the website could be removed. How ridiculous is that?
When you search the hashtag #politicalactivism these days you are presented with results related to Russia. Let me explain to you what’s going on…
The Russian government are attempting to introduce a law that will make it illegal to speak publicly about being gay, lesbian, bi, or transgender. I don’t need to tell you how the law is not only homophobic but a violation of free speech.
AllOut.org have the largest online voice of protest. You can sign up to their mailing list and they update you about their progress and protests. Last year they sent around an online petition that you would sign in opposition to the law, and over 170,000 people signed.
I discovered this movement on Twitter. At the start I only used it to follow Stephan Fry (like most people); he was the one who posted the link to the petition. I think this is a great example of digital activism at work; people using their online presence to spread awareness of issues that concern them.
The #Occupy movement is possibly one of the greatest things to ever come out of Twitter. It began on Wall Street in the US and has spread throughout the world. Every major western city has an occupy came at this stage, even Galway has one.
What’s so amazing about the Occupy movement is the fact that it is global. While the aims of the movement in general can seem somewhat clouded, they have achieved vast amounts. These people have established a united international front protesting against the harsh measures implemented worldwide due to banking crisis. AND their online presence is unprecedented, with pages on almost every social networking site out there.
The online aspect of the #occupy movement has allowed young people engage with political activism like never before. When you’re in college it’s hard to relate to stuffy politicians, being online and sharing ideas over the internet comes much more naturally to us. #Occupy gained such momentum because it was able to evolve and reach out to young people everywhere.
The aim of activism has always been to raise awareness; and thanks to both the physical and digital presence of #occupy the whole world knows about the failures of governments in dealing with the banking crisis.