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Internet Freedom Day: Take a Stand for a Free and Open Internet

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 Internet Freedom Day is about preserving and restoring the right to information for people around the world.

 

 

In the "Information Age" of the 21st century, the internet has become the prime conduit for information and knowledge.  It connects billions of people around the world, enabling us to share and observe human creativity, imagination, and ideas on an unprecedented scale.  It has revolutionized the way we interact, learn and even transact.

 

Most of all, where it remains free and open to all to participate, the internet helps guarantee our basic right to information.  

 

However, according to organizations dedicated to preserving internet freedom, today “broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users " are driving a decline in internet freedom around the world.

 

Organizations like Freedom House, Free Press, Wikipedia, and even companies such as Twitter and PayPal have voiced their concerns over laws and actions that curb Internet Freedom.  Two years ago, these organizations lead the fight against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act), making headlines.  Wikipedia, Wordpress and Mozilla blackened out their websites in protest,  beginning the tradition of "Dark Wednesday" on January 18, known today as Internet Freedom Day.

 

Internet Freedom Day marks the public’s stand against censorship of the internet and political decisions about information access made behind closed doors.  Leading up to this day, activists intensify the call for more transparency,  openness, and an end to government surveillance of citizens' private interactions on the Internet. 


In its yearly report Freedom on the Net, Freedom House concluded that “despite pushback, Internet freedom deteriorates."    34 out of 60 countries assessed in the report are "experiencing a negative trajectory," while "Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users drove this overall decline in internet freedom in the past year.”

 

There is hope in the response to these contraints on internet freedom: The more internet freedom is curbed, the more people are actively protesting to keep it open.   Freedom on the Net 2013 found that activists are becoming more effective at raising awareness of emerging threats and, in several cases, have helped preempt new repressive measures.

 


What You Can Do:

 

Preserve your right to information and power to make informed decisions.

 

Follow the event on Twitter at #InternetFreedomDay.

 

Urge Congress and the FCC to support Net Neutrality, which is under attack following a recent court decision limiting the FCC's power to keep internet service providers like Comcast from giving users better access to some websites over others. 

 

Sign the Declaration of Internet Freedom.

 

Take action to stop "closed-door" negotiations for the  Trans Pacific Partnership, which is being negotiated in secret and which, like SOPA,  is thought to contain Intellectual Property restrictions that threaten internet users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples' abilities to innovate.

 

Join Craig Newmark over at CraigConnects and write something about how the Internet gives you a voice!

 

 Write to Congress and tell them: We will defend the Internet against any legislation that threatens our freedom of speech, privacy, and other fundamental rights."

 

Demand a privacy law update to stop the government from reading your email without a warrant.

 

Fill out this UC Berkeley Survey and tell what SOPA/PIPA meant to you.

 

Join Demand Progress in calling for Justice for Aaron Swartzan internet freedom activist who many believe was bullied by the US government into taking his own life.