The year 2012 is really going to be a big deal. Not only is it the year that the ancient Mayan Long Count Calendar ends bringing with it the supposed end of the world, it is also a leap year and the year of the U.S. presidential elections. In 2012, we will see a lot of trials and tests against personal freedom, and the continued growing resistance of the people against it.
Watching the global press and following current events has shown a building trend toward two very important things: Reform of the Internet and major advancements in Modern Medicine.
Reform of the Internet
We saw major changes in the collective power of the Internet in 2011. From the revolutions in the Middle East to micro-fundraising on social media websites, the last year has proven that the Internet is no longer a separate entity from daily life. Our society's integration into the world wide web has reached an all time high as cheaper, more powerful technology becomes available to the masses.
Corporations like Verizon Wireless and Bank of America have seen first hand what Internet protesting can do when a large enough population can utilize a resource to centralize and organize together. January 18th, 2012 marked a momentous event in the history of the Internet, in which millions of individual people, organizations, and corporations worked together to organize the first global internet protest against the U.S. Government's attempts at censoring Free Speech on the Internet.
It is only natural that with a new tool for organization of the masses comes resistance from those who try to control them. The global community has never before seen such a threat to individual rights for privacy and free-speech on the Internet. While it seems that the U.S. house and senate bills SOPA and Protect IP Act (not PIPA!) have stalled out (for now) due to strong protest, the real kicker for global internet reform is quietly passing through the hands off the international power-players in charge.
And by global internet reform, I mean GLOBAL.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is an international agreement aimed at establishing a means of enforcing current intellectual property rights on an international scale. While the concept of intellectual property protection and reform may seem innocent to most, the truth of this agreement is far from it.
Below is an excellent video detailing ACTA and what it will change. The scope of the powers granted through ACTA may be frightening to some.
In an age where almost every adult and child in a 1st world country has a portal GPS and surveillance system in their pocket, one can begin to see the vast possibilities for enforcement that ACTA allow.
The really interesting part of this the fact that ACTA is not new news. It was first drafted a few years ago and has only recently come to fruition in the last year. Worse, it has already been signed by President Obama without Congressional Approval and is currently under consideration by several countries throughout Europe and around the world. All without any formal announcement to the people it would impact.
As the internet grows more embedded into our daily lives, we have seen a a massive shift toward people becoming more aware of what is happening around them. And with that awareness has come more of a push toward activism and movement by the masses. People are beginning to look at developing new alternates to the Internet and others are fighting back to preserve what we have. And this is only just the beginning.
While 2011 was an interesting year for the Internet, it will likely be nothing compared to what we are set see in 2012. Buckle up, it's going to be a wild ride.