The internet blackout today to protest the SOPA and PIPA bills that are rattling around Congress and threatening the nature of the web has done a beautiful job raising awareness. With web giants like Google, Reddit, Wikipedia as well as many smaller sites either blacked out or dedicating most of their coverage to the blackout, SOPA will almost definitely be a household name after today. Hundreds of thousands of calls are probably pouring into senators’ offices.
But you know you’ve really pissed off the techies when you get them off their computers and out into the streets.
The influential tech networking community NY Tech Meetup is leveraging their strength of organizing people in the real world to launch a protest today in solidarity with the #StopSOPA movement. New York’s tech enthusiasts will rally in front of the offices of New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, who are both SOPA and PIPA supporters. The protest will go down from 12:30 to 2pm today, at 780 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017.
During the Arab Spring we began hearing all kinds of chatter about the new importance that web information and social media plays in transforming real-life political realities. What’s interesting—seismic, even—about today’s New York Tech Meetup protest, which will probably be fairly small in size, is that it probably marks the first time in history a real-life protest has been launched to speak out against changing the rules of our digital lives.
So if you’re not stuck at work today and you enjoy being able to use the internet as an unrestricted tool of free speech, get out and join the Tech Meetup rally. The official page with rsvp and details is here, but something tells me if you just show up you won’t get turned away.