The Implications of Internet Shutdowns

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Wikipedia and several other websites participated in an online "blackout" on Wednesday in protest over SOPA and PIPA, anti-piracy bills that would allow the government to fine or blacklist sites accused of copyright violations. The message of the blackouts have come across not just to the online community, but with members of Congress — some who, like Republican Senator Marco Rubio, withdrew their support of the bill. But the blackouts bring up broader questions about the implications of shutting down the Internet as a form of protest.

Emma Llansó is a policy lawyer at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, D.C.