Virus makers sometimes create what amount to digital versions of the creepy guy on the corner in a trenchcoat trying to convince kids to get in his ‘police van.’ The SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) virus is just the latest and worst example of this. It’s called ransomware, and it will lock down a victim’s computer and give them an ugly scare in the process.
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One of Andrew Rasiej’s favorite jokes is that legislators don’t know the difference between a server and a waiter. Mr. Rasiej, chairman of the NY Tech Meetup and founder of Personal Democracy Forum, a summit on tech and politics, moderated on stage at NYU’s Skirball Center. Mr. Rasiej faced off with netizens Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). “Why is it that so many members of Congress don’t seem to understand the Internet?” he asked. Read More
Ben Huh, the CEO of Seattle-based Cheezburger Network, stood in the lobby of the Le Parker Meridien hotel on W. 56th St. peering into his phone as he uploaded a photo of a soggy Central Park snapped from the view outside the elevator. “All my friends have switched to Path,” he told Betabeat, pulling to refresh. “Twitter just has too much noise.”
Mr. Huh was in New York for a charity gala and a few business meetings on his way to the third bi-annual ROFLCon. ROFLCon is a Boston conference for “people at the center of memes and people who make their living from Internet culture, and people who are just fans,” as Mr. Huh described it. The conference consists of two days of talks and panels about subjects like GIFs, webcomics, supercuts and “lulz.” Read More
One Friday earlier this month, Andrew Rasiej, the chairman of NY Tech Meetup and an old-school Internet evangelist, sent out an email to the 20,000 members of the group asking them to do something most had never even considered before: close their laptops, leave their coworking spaces, put their iPads down (but not—god no!—their smart phones, essential to live tweeting) and pick up a picket sign.
“The future of the NY tech community is in jeopardy,” the email read. “We are writing to call you to an Emergency NY Tech Meetup in New York on January 18 so that we can publicly demonstrate our collective dismay at the unprecedented attack currently being made on the Internet and our industry.” Read More
So the troubling anti-piracy bills Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are on the ropes, effectively dead. The celebrations have begun. It’s exciting. What a great, proud week for the internet, for democracy, and for fighting against money in our politics. But that doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down and overlook how the the bill’s defenders glossed over how SOPA and PIPA could be used to target U.S. citizens. Read More
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), Founder of GarysGuide, Mentor at ER Accelerator and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can follow him at @garysguide and reach him via email at gary [at] garysguide.com.
Takeaway #1: Speed of Grassroots To Mainstream
The fight against SOPA/PIPA was under the radar for many folks for a long time but when it did finally break through to get attention, it was heartening to see the speed and intensity with which the entire tech industry, from the grassroots all the way up to the Googles and the Wikipedias, quickly rallied around and came together to fight for the freedom of the Internet and won! Chalk that one up as another win for social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook that are making it really easy for people to come together, get their voices heard and take action around common worthwhile causes as happened during the Arab Spring revolution. Read More
A new report from sentiment analytics firm General Sentiment shows, astoundingly, that the Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP Acts have not only been discussed online more than any other legislation, but they’ve been discussed more than the Super Bowl the Oscars, the Oprah Winfrey Show finale and the American Idol finale and premiere. “When compared to 2011’s biggest online events, the SOPA/PIPA Protest ranked third in overall volume,” the report says. Guess that means SOPA/PIPA were discussed more than any other legislation, too. Additionally: “Wikipedia proved to be the top influencer, generating over 4.1M mentions on January 18; 99.1 percent of mentions about the SOPA and PIPA Protest came from social media and Twitter; and the most common hashtags were #wikipediablackout, #StopSOPA and #FactsWithoutWikipedia.
The self-proclaimed geeks of the New York tech industry gathered outside senators’ Gillibrand and Schumer’s office Wednesday afternoon to protest the PIPA and SOPA acts, that they say will lead to the end of the internet as we know it.
Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, brought sympathy cards which he planned to hand-deliver to the senators, mourning the death of the internet.
Scott Heiferman, Meetup CEO, held up a sign after his speech that read, “Can we go back to work now?” in a cunning reference to the jobs the industry creates in New York, and perhaps the cold weather too. Read More
During tonight's Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, all the candidates weighed in on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act.
Newt Gingrich began his answer with a joke.
"Well, you're asking a conservative about the economic interests of Hollywood and I'm weighing, I'm weighing it. I'm not rushing in, I'm trying to think of all the many fond left wing people who we're so eager to protect," Mr. Gingrich said.
After his swipe at Hollywood, which is one of the main industries supporting SOPA, Mr. Gingrich expressed his opposition to the bill. Read More
Ooh, ooh, ooh. What a little blackout (and 4.5 million signatures) can do for you! In the wake of unprecedented opposition yesterday, at least 26 Senators, including seven former co-sponsors have disavowed themselves from the Protect IP Act (PIPA). PIPA is the Senate’s version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which had stalled out in the House under similar duress.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), one of PIPA’s former co-sponsors decided the bill was “simply not ready for prime time.”
Eighteen of the Senators now opposed are Republicans. Previously, as VentureBeat reports, PIPA had support from more than 40 Senators, who co-sponsored the bill. We’re currently having trouble accessing the OpenCongress site, however, earlier reports say the bill still had support from 33 senators, with a number of others who still have not made their position clear. Read More