Demand Progress: U.S. responded to blackout protest with the middle finger

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, January 19, 2012 22:43 EDT
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A police car's siren. Photo: Flickr user Jo Naylor.
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The advocacy group Demand Progress condemned the Obama administration on Thursday after the FBI took down one of the most popular file sharing websites on the Internet, Megaupload.com.

“Unbelievable: After history’s largest online protest, the U.S. Government nonchalantly responds with the middle finger,” the group said in an action alert.

MegaUpload, which had more than 150 million registered users, was shut down by the FBI because of alleged copyright infringement. The site allowed registered users to upload files, which could then be downloaded by others.

The shut down of MegaUpload came after the largest online protest in history, where thousands of sites joined in a blackout protest on Wednesday against the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).

“If SOPA and PIPA pass it’ll just broaden the government’s power to do things like this,” Demand Progress wrote, urging people to email the White House and tell Obama to rein in the Department of Justice.

Hacktivists affiliated with the “Anonymous” movement respond to the take down by launching a cyber attack against the Justice Department’s site.

Along with seizing the site’s domain names, the FBI charged seven of its founders and employees with online piracy crimes. Four of those suspects have already been arrested in New Zealand.

“This kind of application of international criminal procedures to Internet policy issues sets a terrifying precedent,” the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a statement. “If the United States can seize a Dutch citizen in New Zealand over a copyright claim, what is next?”

Photo credit: Flickr user Jo Naylor.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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