The year of the networked protest, from SOPA act to Anonymous

Pierluigi Paganini December 15, 2011

It’s end of the year and time for reflections. Yesterday we have discussed on incident occurred to CAs, but what else will we remember of this 2011? No doubts, we will remember the new way to use Internet, an irreplaceable vector for social protests, expression of social malaise and of too much stolen liberty.

We have often heard the word Hacktivism intending to use the usage of computers and computer networks as a Means of Protest to Promote political ends. The term is not new because it was first coined in 1998 by a member of the Cult of the Dead Cow hacker group. Hacking to fight censorship, to promote political ideology, sustain free speech and human rights.

The year of the networked revolution, from Wikileaks case to the Occupy movement to the Middle East, calls for political and personal freedom. The winds of protest are really strong, they are an hurricane, none is able to silet them. It is really difficult, the network is reacheable in just one click … a tweet, a post, a message could be spread to million on persons who share the same thought. This is the year of the social media, preciuos instruments to express the dissent against a power that is silently working to control every one repressing awkward voices.

But the danger is just around the corner, while we are stroking this breath of freedom, we realize that we are pawns in a much more complex boards. The main countries of the world join forces with large multinational companies to install complex monitor systems for communications, they deploy Internet kill switch to suppress protests in the bud. They spy on our phones and control our communications. Do you think the problem is only in China or India?

During the last year we have observed political insurrection events in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen, Tunisia, let consider also mass protests against economic breakdown in Greece, Italy and Spain. Than there were the Occupy Wall Street moviments from New York to London. Events united by the same intent, express a dissent, and by the same vector used to inform public opinion and the problems, Internet.

This time is really hard, we are facing with the worst economic crisis, with social dissatisfaction and an overwhelming sense of profound vulnerability that the 11/9 has left. The mixture is explosive. On one hand, Governments that have to be able to control, hopefully for noble purposes, to ensure the safety of the people, on the other hand  movements of thought that can not tolerate the interference of these preventive measures.

We witnessed the consecration of groups of “civil disobedience” as Anonymous who expressed opposition to a rotten system in every way and with success. In terms of security it has been a Waterloo. Underestimated, mocked by arrogant experts in the pay of the multinationals, have stepped up attacks of all kinds.
And then here who have ventured into the operations of web site defacements of institutional portal, denial of service attacks against financial institutions, information theft, and virtual sit-ins. A protest with digital real effect and an important economical impact. They are a powerful political force genetically supported by the people.

Remaining on subject of protests, objections and regulations let me invite you to read the act “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26. It expands the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.The bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.
The interpretation of this Act could be really the event of 2011, indroducing “de facto” an Internet censorship, a digital dictatorship.

We meditate, this could represent a real step backwards for mankind, the death of the dream of freedom.  The act gives me a great contrast, I personally have always supported the freedom of expression, to be able to exercise free will and  I find it difficult to accept this legislation imposed on us in the name of global security. I am deeply convinced that this will not fight our real enemies, they just stir up fears and nourished the seeds of discord. Control and repression stifling the dialogue that is the only weapon that man has for a civil coexistence.

Pierluigi Paganini



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