Today is the anniversary of the protests against SOPA and PIPA that, aside from keeping some ugly laws from being implemented in the US, also made it clear to everyone that the internet gives everyone a voice and that people can actually change things, for the better, if they try hard enough.
The protests against SOPA and PIPA were the culmination of the last few years when online protests, hacktivism and so on became popular ways of expressing a point of view.
DDoSing a bank may not be the most effective or the smartest way to protest something, but it's better than doing nothing. Thankfully, there are better ways to protest online.
On January 18th, 2012, the web came together and websites as large as Google and Wikipedia
along with Reddit, Tumblr, Mozilla and everyone in between, not to mention millions of people, made their voice heard, by blacking out websites, by spreading the message and even by contacting politicians.
In the end, the protest worked, the proposed laws were shelved and, not for lack of trying, new similar ones haven't shown up yet.
The protest also sparked more protests internationally, the ACTA treaty which also covered copyright issues and was a similar threat to the web, got a lot of criticism in Europe leading to the EU dropping it.
There's now even an organized Internet Defense League
which aims to respond to any major threat to the internet by getting people informed and ready as fast as possible.
With all of that happening in one year, some are now declaring January 18 Internet Freedom Day
and are encouraging people to get behind causes they believe in and spread the word.
The web's not safe yet, it may never be, as governments around the world, from the US to China, learn just how powerful the online medium is and they fear it. Expect the battle for the internet to get harder before it gets better.