February 11th, 2014 Brian Herzog
Mass surveillance is clearly an attack on free speech and other freedoms we enjoy. We were able to defeat SOPA and PIPA by working together, but freedom needs constant vigilance and action.
In America, we're demanding that Congress pass The USA Freedom Act, restoring the Fourth Amendment protection that Americans have enjoyed for hundreds of years. If you have a website (a Tumblr, a blog) then you -- like us -- can add the code to your template today, and on the 11th, it will go live.
January 19th, 2012 Brian Herzog
I thought it was great how many websites participated in yesterday's blackout protest of the SOPA and PIPA bills. Partly, because I ended up explaining what was going on to quite a few people.
BoingBoing has a quickie recap of the effect the protest had on some Senators and Congressmen, and SOPATrack.com allows you to view, by State, who supports, opposes, and is undecided about the bills - also, how much money they've accepted from pro- and anti-censorship lobbyists. According to FightForTheFuture.org, there are now 35 Senators publicly opposing PIPA. Last week there were 5. Huge success, but it takes 41 to stop the bill completely.
For what it's worth, here's a few anecdotes from my day:
- A couple weeks ago, I used Senator Scott Brown's contact form to request a meeting with him to talk about PIPA. Nothing happened until yesterday, when I got a call from someone in his Boston office, thanking me for contacting them and saying Sen. Brown will oppose PIPA. That's great.
- Next I tried to contact Senator John Kerry. I called his DC office and got a busy signal, then went to his website to get the number for his Boston office - but the website was down. I found the number elsewhere online, but when I called it rang and rang then went to voicemail, but then a message said the voicemail box was full. I was disappointed I couldn't contact my Senator, but hopefully that meant that so many other constituents were contacting him that his methods were just overwhelmed.
But it's not over. The Senate vote on PIPA is still scheduled for Tuesday, Jan 24th, so keep contacting your Senators and ask them to explain the bill. Also, it looks like SOPA is scheduled to be revived in February, so also contact your Members of Congress. XKCD had a great shortlist of links to check out:
Of course, the funniest part of yesterday were all the tweets from people who didn't know what was going on - lots of desperate students unable to do their homework, but of course it's bigger than that. Still, they're worth a skim.