Wikipedia Protest: Websites Plan Jan 18 Shutdown Over SOPA

On January 18, 2012, Wikipedia and a long list of other popular websites will go dark to protest the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

by / January 17, 2012

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all online …. Along comes something else that’s new and raises plenty of serious tough questions.

On January 18, 2012, Wikipedia and a long list of other popular websites will go dark to protest the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The Internet is full of stories on this topic. USA Today ran a front page story covering the fast-approaching event. Here’s an excerpt:

“Mozilla, Word Press and TwitPic have joined a growing list of websites that plan to go dark Wednesday to protest the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, CBS News reports….

Wikipedia, Reddit and Boing Boing have already announced that they plan to go offline Wednesday.

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, tweeted: ‘All US Citizens: #WikipediaBlackout means nothing unless you call your Senators. Do it now! Give friends the number too!’"

We’ve seen Cyber Sit-ins, hackers shutting down and slowing down websites and even a website dedicated to starting a cyber protest of your choice, but this may be even more disruptive.

Without taking sides, here are just some of the tough questions that this protest raises:

1)      Have we put too much trust in Wikipedia and these other websites for educational or other purposes?

2)      Where are the lines for websites shutting down to protest new or proposed government regulation or any other issue in society?

3)       What can customers do to prepare for these disruptions?

4)      Will these protests help or hurt the chances for this legislation to pass?

5)      Does this set a dangerous precedent for others websites and/or causes?

One thing seems certain: cyber protests are here to stay. I certainly expect to see more online activity like this. It will be very interesting to see how the public reacts.

What are your thoughts? Is this a good way to protest SOPA, or a big mistake for Wikipedia and others?

Dan Lohrmann Chief Security Officer & Chief Strategist at Security Mentor Inc.

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.

During his distinguished career, he has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, receiving numerous national awards including: CSO of the Year, Public Official of the Year and Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.
Lohrmann led Michigan government’s cybersecurity and technology infrastructure teams from May 2002 to August 2014, including enterprisewide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan.

He currently serves as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Strategist for Security Mentor Inc. He is leading the development and implementation of Security Mentor’s industry-leading cyber training, consulting and workshops for end users, managers and executives in the public and private sectors. He has advised senior leaders at the White House, National Governors Association (NGA), National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), federal, state and local government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofit institutions.

He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, beginning his career with the National Security Agency. He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US/UK military facility.

Lohrmann is the author of two books: Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD for You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. He has been a keynote speaker at global security and technology conferences from South Africa to Dubai and from Washington, D.C., to Moscow.

He holds a master's degree in computer science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a bachelor's degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Follow Lohrmann on Twitter at: @govcso