The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

SOPA: IT'S ALL BLACKED OUT!

January 18, 2012

SOPA and PIPA, especially SOPA, these two acronyms were doing the rounds for quite some time now. The recent point of attraction was Google and Obama centric tweets by Rupert Murdoch where he spared no words in deriding the announcement by Obama that he was not going to support the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ and seeing hand of Internet giants like Google in lobbying for it. Murdoch also sees an uncanny penchant in Obama for Silicon Valley tech marvels that, according to him, are scheming to derail and mutilate the process to preserve the ‘intellectual property rights’. "Big bipartisan majorities both houses sold out by POTUS for search engines. How about 2.2 m workers in entertainment industry? Piracy rules," he tweeted. Ok Mr. Murdoch here very conveniently forgets the ways some of his own outfits generated ‘intellectual properties’ – hacking, backing and then sacking. Probably Mr. Murdoch is still ruing the closure of one of the most profitable brands in his stable – News of the World – after getting entangled hopelessly in the UK phone hacking scandal.

SOPA and PIPA got the biggest boost today when the ‘really comprehensive and affordable’ encyclopedia Wikipedia decided to black-out the website for 24 hours to protest the voice being raised for enactment of SOPA and PIPA. Wikipedia has blacked-out its Wikipedia English site. The blacked-out site greeted the visitors with the text:

"Imagine a world without free knowledge... The US Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia."


According to the latest report on site traffic by the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia English attracts 10,119,484 views per hour. Multiply it by 24 and it comes to the average figure of 250 million views per day. Now that is a ‘more than significant’ count to show solidarity with the protest call!

Add to it the thousands of websites across the Internet joining the protest and it is great enough to be heard loudly and it is being heard. It is not about loopholes like Wikipedia English content pages still available this way or that way as some analysts are writing about. The protest call had to deliver a symbolic message that the common user is not going to be a mute spectator on attempts to police and regulate the Internet as the proposed US legislation says. And what could be better than it coming from a website like Wikipedia, authored by thousands of free spirits across the globe.

It echoes. Blogging site BoingBoing has gone dark for 24 hours. Google America is showing a black box on its so familiar search home page. Services like Reddit, Metafilter, WordPress, Craigslist, Firefox, Tucows, Modern Methods and many more are either fully or partially blacked out or hosting messages in support of the protest call. According to the Daily Mail, the Anonymous has promised Sony some tough time for supporting SOPA in past.

And the protest call has delivered the message rightly. Let’s wait for analytic results on the social media traffic on the issue and the black-out that will start filtering out by tomorrow. Analyses of the trend on Twitter traffic would be interesting to watch as apart from giving pulse of the momentum, it will also highlight the contrast to the Twitter CEO’s reasoning on keeping Twitter out of the black-out call. He said Twitter being a global service will not join an issue that pertains to single nation politics, in this case, the US.

US Congress is to take up ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ and ‘Protect Intellectual Property Act’ being promoted mainly by the film and music industry that alleges loss of significant revenue due to online piracy of content. "Some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging," BBC quoted Chris Dodd, senator and the chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, as saying. We need to see how the Senate proceeds on the issue when it takes the voting on PIPA on January 24.

Certainly the pro- and anti-debates are endless in this case like any other case where no clear line of use and misuse can be drawn. Piracy has been a clear and present danger even before the advent of the Internet. The way SOPA and PIPA have been drafted, some of the provisions could really be detrimental for free flow of information given the fact that once enacted, these may empower a private party to approach advertisers and payment facilitators of a website to request they sever ties. It is intended mainly to curb the sale of pirated content overseas and empowers the US Department of Justice to seek court orders even against the websites outside US jurisdiction.

One of the many major loopholes of SOPA is it would make many circumnavigation tools illegal. Wikipedia quotes John Palfrey, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, saying "SOPA would make many [DNS] circumvention tools illegal," which could put "dissident communities" in autocratic countries "at much greater risk than they already are. The single biggest funder of circumvention tools has been and remains the U.S. government, precisely because of the role the tools play in online activism. It would be highly counter-productive for the U.S. government to both fund and outlaw the same set of tools.” John Palfrey is also displeased on use of his research findings to support SOPA.

There are arguments and counter-arguments and certainly, at the moment, counter-arguments to SOPA seem to take an upper edge after the global prominence of social media in helping and spreading the mass uprisings of 2011.

While the anti-SOPA activists are homogenous in their appeal and are spread across the globe, the pro-SOPA lobby is basically a policy ballooning exercise by some US industry figures.

While the anti-SOPA cause is more about protecting free flow of information on possibly the only platform that cannot be totally censored or manipulated, the pro-SOPA lobbying is more about protecting commercial interests.

Also one of the major routes of online piracy is content sharing sites on the Internet, that apart from sharing content that harms the financial interests of ‘SOPA lobbyists’, also provides channels to the content sharing in many other categories like the atrocities in the autocratic regimes.

Probably the White House realizes it. A statement by White House staffers said, "While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

Piracy is bad. Any attempt to regulate or manipulate the flow of information on the Internet is sin.

Let’s see how the game proceeds!

Robin Morgan rightly says, “Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.”

 ©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/