January 18th, 2012, will be remembered as a political event, a day where technology companies and advocates took to the web to oppose SOPA and PIPA, two bills they feel would censor the internet.
But what will linger most in the mind from January 18th was the visual form these protests took, the shock of opening up a familiar, indispensable webpage and finding it quite literally blacked out. As much as today is a political event, it is a striking one in the history of web design as well.
Some of your favorite websites are censored today in some way, and others—like Wikipedia—aren't really working at all. It's a very high-profile protest against SOPA and PIPA, potential legislation that detractors say could break the Internet.
As members of both the Senate and the House start falling back to a more defensible position by considering the removal of the DNS provision from SOPA and PIPA, many voices of opposition to the bills are claiming victory. This is a big mistake.
Rebellious groups Anonymous and LulzSec have formed a hacktivist Voltron to strike back against international police efforts to arrest their members; they've hacked the police. It's a war, now. And we've developed a war-room style video of LulzSec's history.
Someday in the near future, the chart you see below might be looked at as a hero's roll call — the same way that war heroes are listed at the sites of famous battles. Or, it might simply be useful to social scientists, hoping to understand the role Twitter played in bringing about the end of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship. Either way, it's an astounding document of a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Created by Kovas Boguta, The Egypt Influence Network shows some of the most influential tweeters during the Egyptian uprising. And it's powered by the same mojo that drives Google.
4Chan's Anonymous "hacktivists" have launched attacks on various websites wrapped up in the latest WikiLeaks chapters in revenge for what they see as illegal treatment of the whistleblower site and its head Julian Assange. Expect more of this in the coming years.