As I’m sure many of you are already aware, there is something of a blackout going on today. Many top web sites, such as Wikipedia and Reddit either are or will be going offline for 24 hours in protest against The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). (If you don’t know anything about SOPA and PIPA then I suggest you check those links I just gave as they will give you an insight into what these Acts are about).
Opponents of SOPA argue that the ACT could have far wider consequences than merely dealing with internet pirates though. In practice, it could well lead to frivilous lawsuits against any website hosting content which a corporate entity may find objectionable in any way, shape or form. Even some larger, well-known web sites could be taken down if this indeed the way forward. This leads to some commentators seeing SOPA as a form of internet censorship designed to protect the financial interests of the minority.
But there are ways to get around the blackout that is being run today.
But just because you can, does it mean you should?
If you hunt around the internet you’ll quickly find the means to get around the Wikipedia blackout, for example. Firefox users can use NoScript, Chrome users have the necessary tools built into their browser and there is, of course, the option of using Google to view cached pages.
And thats all well and good. After all, one of the points here is that the internet should be open and free and that web users should have the ability to view what they like. But on the other hand, wheres the pain in missing one of your favourite sites for a day in order to do your bit in keeping the internet open?
I’ll leave it to you to decide what to do…