One of the few things that can drag me out of my shell of crippling depression these days is the issue of internet freedom. I truly believe in the power and potential of the internet – to bring people together, to share knowledge, to foster compassion, to organize for progress and justice.
Today, January 11, is the anniversary of the death of Aaron Swartz. You may not be familiar with his story – that Wikipedia link is a place to start – but in brief: Aaron Swartz was a programmer and internet activist who, among a great any other things, used technology to promote public access to public documents. (I had initially written a long explanation of exactly what that means, but if you know the story you don’t need the explanation, and if you don’t know the story you probably aren’t as interested in it as I am anyway.)
The actions taken against Aaraon Swartz were a deliberate attack on the potential of the internet. In the past six months, we have seen another threat arise as well - one that undermines the very foundation of the internet, not to mention the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.
On February 11 I will be joining the EFF, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Mozilla, Reddit, and others in an internet protest they describe as “A Day of Action in Opposition to Mass Spying, Honoring Aaron Swartz and SOPA Blackout Anniversary” – aka The Day We Fight Back.
Sounds melodramatic, I know, but assuming I am competent to live that day I am looking forward to participating. I encourage you to take a look at the Day We Fight Back website as well. This is our home – the internet is our home – and I will not give up its beautiful potential without a fight.