On behalf of the ECA, our writers and contributors and myself, we wish you a happy, safe and healthy New Year. While 2012 had its fair share of ups and downs, Internet freedom and free speech had a very good year. Draconian laws and treaties that would have limited free speech and taken away our rights to privacy were soundly defeated by a vocal majority in countries all over the world. This year saw the defeat of SOPA, PIPA, Protect IP, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, and many other bills that were proposed in the name of protecting our critical infrastructure or fighting piracy and counterfeiting.
But the citizens of the world saw that sometimes the price of laws proposed by bureaucrats and politicians in the name of protection and fighting alleged crime comes at the cost of our freedoms. You did not let that happen; you signed petitions, you emailed and phoned your elected representatives – and some of you even took to the streets to voice your disdain.
We suspect that 2013 will bring back some old demons that we have fought before in the name of protecting rights holders, critical infrastructure, international trade, and protecting children. It will be contentious debate for sure on all these fronts, but it is important that we have these debates – and that we take part in them because the biggest threat to freedom is an international society that becomes tired and apathetic to what their leaders do.
The biggest dream that I have for 2013 is that we all remain vigilant, engaged and ready to use our voices on the biggest issues of our time. And I hope that those who have the burden of making the rules do so with thoughtfulness and an understanding of the issues that challenge them. We see no harm in fighting against those things that we all know are wrong – but it has to be done in a way that is fair and reasonable for everyone.
Happy New Year!