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A #SOPA and #PIPA awareness campaign that might just work

Jan 17, 20122 mins
Data and Information Security

I’m usually unfazed by awareness campaigns, whether the cause is cybersecurity or the fight against cancer. But sites going dark to protest SOPA and PIPA could be an exception to the rule.

Snuffing access to a site millions depend on could really drive home the point that passing these bills would lead to many more darkened sites.

My IDG colleague John Ribeiro wrote a story about how Wikipedia is going for it. He writes:

Wikimedia Foundation said on Monday that the Wikipedia community had chosen to black out its English version to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate.

“If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, said in a statement on its website.

I’ve heard of other sites promising to do the same.

Not everyone thinks this is a good idea. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said in a message on Twitter that “Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish.”

I agreed at first. Then I thought of the potential to jolt people from their apathy. Sometimes the best way to wake someone up is to take away something they care about.

Having said that, CSO will not be going dark to protest SOPA and PIPA. If we go dark, we can’t report on others doing the same now, can we?

–Bill Brenner

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