While Consumerist was outside in the chilly, sunshiney streets of NYC with anti-SOPA/PIPA protestors gathered outside the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, we made some friends! David Moore had one of our favorite signs, and a lot to say, while Emily is an English teacher who wants kids to be able to use the Internet. Then there was a guy with a beard hat. Let’s meet them!
David works for two non-profit organizations: The Participatory Politics Foundation and Fight For the Future. And let’s just say, he knows his stuff.
Why are you here today?
PIPA is an existential threat to what we do. I run a website called OpenCongress.org, and we educate people on what’s happening in Congress and government transparency. If PIPA were to pass, it’s so dangerous because it would establish a legal framework for censorship, and it could take down websites — just one government official could take down a site over an allegation of copyright infringement. And because OpenCongress maybe links to a site that was taken down, we would also be subject to take down. We’re extremely concerned about how it would impinge free speech online, in terms of free flow of information.
Tell me about your choice of sign.
Right now Senators Schumer and Gillibrand are co-sponsors of this terrible legislation. It’s the worst Net legislation in history, a ton of different Republican organizations and tech companies and entrepreneurs have all come out against it. We’ve all been screaming that no one consulted any technical experts when this legislation was written… These bills have been written by Hollywood lobbyists and they’re being rushed by Hollywood lobbyists.
PIPA breaks the Internet — if you can’t link and sites are subject to takedown, there’s a legal chilling effect. That’s not the open Web, and then all of a sudden we’ve destroyed the most important innovation of our time for free political speech online.
Then there’s Emily, who’s an English teacher and wants to keep the Internet awesome for the future.
Why did you come today?
I’m passionate about the Internet, and ultimately I hope to make the Internet and Internet studies, and using technology and digital humanities effectively part of the classroom in public education. I think it’s really important skill to teach to the children of tomorrow. I’m doing English, but I hope to bring digital studies to the classroom and make that a requirement.
Why do you think it’s important to stop SOPA and PIPA for all sites on the Internet?
It blocks the spread of information that’s necessary to everyone. We’re going to lose jobs that way.
How do you think today went?
It was good, I hope we can do a bit more. They’re going to go down to Times Square to continue educating people and I hope to join. I’m going to join in whenever I have time.
We didn’t really talk to this guy beyond asking to take his picture, but his hat is so great, it needed to be included. His friend’s chin looks cold, no?