When you first visited this site today, you saw information about why it’s important to fight SOPA. There are many sites offering ways to take action against Internet censorship so let me instead talk about why it is important to me that we keep Internet speech free.
At 33, I have been on the Internet for longer than many people using it have been alive. I began on the Internet when it was almost entirely text, and can remember the birth of the World Wide Web. Back when I started online, the only way to get access — if you weren’t a researcher or student or one of a few other privileged people — was to make a long distance phone call to one of the two public Internet providers, in Boston or somewhere in Sausalito.
In my teens, at a time when I was often too depressed to go outside, I was able to reach out to people through the Internet and connect. It kept me going.
Even then I dreamed. So did the people I chatted with. All the computer geeks — and many science fiction authors — dreamed of what this medium could become. What would it mean when the world connects? When we could share a moment in the world, anywhere, instantly?
Though we’re not universally connected yet, we’re beginning to see the power of a globally wired and wireless world. The revolutions in the Arab world, and the Occupy movement, are just the first glimpses of what a truly free medium in the hands of a liberated people can accomplish.
This is the first 21st century revolutionary movement.
No wonder they want to stop us. The governments hate this freedom and how hard it makes it to keep their secrets. The corporations who control our media hate our freedom because they can’t put a price tag on it easily enough.
We need this. All the artists, journalists, creators, thinkers, people of the world need the Internet to stay free.
Take action for someone today. Do it for future versions of me — 13 years old, scared to live, and reaching out through the Internet.