Wikipedia to Blackout against SOPA

By siliconindia   |   Tuesday, 17 January 2012, 22:35 IST   |    1 Comments
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Wikipedia blackout

Bangalore: In a bid to protest against the Stop Online Piracy act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), Wikipedia announced on its site that it would be staging a blackout of information on its English site for 24 hours, starting 05:00 GMT on Wednesday, January 18.

If the US government went forward with the acts, websites that are found host pirated content, as well as services they employ, wouldn’t be listed on search engines and possibly on DNS servers themselves, thus hiding the information from internet users in the US.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation stated “As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet's underlying infrastructure. The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to block users' attempts to reach certain websites' URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the Internet grows increasingly balkanized.”

Jimmy Wales, the founder of the free online encyclopedia, was reported by the Washington Post as having announced the same on Twitter on Monday. “It’s a community decision”, he said.

Wikipedia joins Scribd, Reddit, and various other sites and networks including Cheezburger network in its decision to blackout against the act. Last year had Google, Yahoo!, and other major internet companies like Facebook, eBay, Mozilla, and Zynga, protesting against the bills via their own sites, letters that they sent to the key sponsors of both acts and through other means.

Wales estimated that Wikipedia’s 25 million daily visitors would be affected by the population of its landing page with a letter of protest (and a request to readers to get involved in the issue), instead of the information usually rendered by the site. Twitter saw Wales sending out a tweet of advice to students who use its services- “…Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!” he said.

Ars Technica reported that a number of Congressmen were backpedaling on the issue. Rupert Murdoch, however, as BBC said, branded Google a “piracy leader”, (to which Google replied, emphasizing its stand against counterfeiters). Where the future will take us, and the internet, is yet to be seen.