Internet Freedom Day and Aaron Swartz

sopa strikeJan 18: Internet Freedom Day

It has been called the largest online protest of all time:

  • More than 1 billion people saw anti-SOPA messages on January 18
  • 4 top-10, 13 top-100 US sites, 115,000 small and medium sites participated in strike, 50,000 blacked out all or part of site (WordPress network: 27,000 blackout and 17,000 ribbons)
  • 10 million petition signers, 3 million emails, 100,000+ calls and 8 million Wikipedia call lookups to Congress opposing PIP3 million+ tweets mentioning “SOPA”, “PIPA”, “sopastrike”, “blackoutSOPA”, “stopSOPA”At least 13 senators backed away from the bill in one day. 5 co-sponsors dropped their support of the bill: Blunt, Boozman, Cardin, Hatch, and Rubio.

In celebration, the anniversary was called Internet Freedom Day, with the action items including:

Fallout has continued from the Swartz tragedy:

  • World wide web inventor Tim Berners Lee calling his prosecution a “travesty of justice.” 
  • A petition to fire U.S. Attorney Ortiz whose office prosecuted the case has exceeded the 25,000 signatures required to merit a written response from the White House (and is now at over 40,000 signatures).
  • Silicon Valley Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) criticized the prosecution, saying the handling of the case “pretty outrageous” and “way out of line”, while Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) said the charges were “ridiculous and trumped-up.”
  • Ms. Ortiz has released a statement that asserted that

The career prosecutors handling this matter took on the difficult task of enforcing a law they had taken an oath to uphold, and did so reasonably.  [She said that his actions, while a violation of the law] did not warrant the severe punishments authorized by Congress. [She said her office offered Swartz six months at a low-security prison if he pleaded guilty to the charges.] At no time did this office ever seek — or ever tell Mr. Swartz’s attorneys that it intended to seek — maximum penalties under the law.