Letter to the Editor: Activism is required for more issues

In response to “Internet blackout affects all” from the Jan. 27 issue of The Maroon

Dear editor,

In response to Eric Knoepfler’s column, “Internet blackout affects all,” I would like to comment further on the state of our civil liberties, censorship and the U.S. Government.

For one day, the Internet seemingly stood together against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act and actually saw something happen. SOPA/PIPA, backed by all the lobbyists of entertainment companies, fell to the combined opposing voices and lobbyists, but mostly lobbyists of the websites we all know and love, especially those of Google and Facebook. So where are we now?

Following SOPA/PIPA being blocked, the United States proved that it doesn’t need a new law to deal with piracy and yanked MegaUpload off the web, making several arrests at the same time. Before SOPA/PIPA, the National Defense Authorization Act bill was passed, allowing the president to arrest terrorist suspects and hold them without trial indefinitely. The Republican primary debates have included a lot of talk about Iran massing nuclear weapons and attacking Israel, a statement which is as false as it is bold.

It may seem like I’m throwing all this together without rhyme or reason, just naming various things our country has done wrong. However, I’d just like to say this: there were a lot of flags set off in people’s heads when they realized Wikipedia went dark. Possibly, you weren’t aware of any current events that could have major implications on the rest of your life until you realized that the government could, at the drop of a dime, remove your access to a website. Well, now that you’ve seen the red flags, I just want to let you know there are more of them. A lot more red flags have been raised that should give us all pause.

We have been in a perpetual state of war for the past decade, and now Republicans are casually discussing going to war with Iran. In times of war, citizens make sacrifices, but it’s understood that the war should end and the freedoms should be returned. The NDAA provisions that deal with “terrorists” are a flagrant violation of our rights.

The same attention given to SOPA/PIPA should be given to all current events. MegaUpload was not only taken down, but people associated with the site were also arrested. The freedom you want to see on the Internet should be seen in our day-to-day lives. We may think that these events are trivial, that we can’t do anything about the NDAA bill or MegaUpload — but we did something about SOPA/PIPA.

Please keep being noisy. Keep being loud. Add your local politicians, senators and representatives to your speed dial.


John Valdespino

Music industries senior