Internet Freedom Day Overview ‧ read
Held just once on January 18, 2013, Internet Freedom Day was a day of activism and advocacy designed to keep alive the legacy of the fight against SOPA. Here’s a profile of this important event.
A big victory deserves a big celebration
“Public participation helped create the internet, and it helps protect it.”The idea was a hit with many of the leading digital rights advocacy groups. And boy did they act fast: Internet Freedom Day took place just 16 days after Ammori made his proposal on January 18.
Why January 18, 2013?
Twelve months earlier, 10 million people and over 100,000 websites had participated in the Internet Blackout or Internet Strike to protest the SOPA and PIPA bills proposed by Congress. SOPA and PIPA threatened to limit free speech on the internet by giving copyright holders the right to seek court orders to shut down websites that infringed their copyright. This had potential to create a situation where powerful corporations could control what was allowed on the internet. And that would be no good at all.
Thankfully, the Internet Blackout was a roaring success. Congress shelved both bills, and one year later, everyone was ready to celebrate.
Who organized Internet Freedom Day?
Other supporters of Internet Freedom Day include Access Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Engine Advocacy.
How the people celebrated Internet Freedom Day
On social media: Net users were asked to reflect on the question, “What's something you love on the net that you’d never want to see censored?” and post their answers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Reddit, and Tumblr.
By taking action: The InternetFreedomDay.org website encouraged visitors to engage in other digital activism campaigns, such as the Declaration of Internet Freedom and the campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
With live events: The Electronic Frontier Foundation held a special Internet Freedom Day event in San Francisco. An event was also held in Washington, DC.
In memory of activist Aaron Swartz
Swartz committed suicide after he was charged with stealing 4 million academic papers from the JSTOR online journal archive. He had pled not guilty.
Swartz had also co-founded Demand Progress, a grassroots organization which fights for basic rights and freedoms. The InternetFreedomDay.net site is dedicated “to the memory of Aaron Swartz and his incredible contributions to freedom, justice, and transparency.”
The future of Internet Freedom Day
That’s a shame, because our online freedom is truly worth celebrating. And if we want to keep the internet free, we need everyone to know the value of our digital rights.