Polish Internet went supernova when three days ago it was announced that our government was going to sign ACTA. It came out of nowhere, and most Polish users didn’t follow the SOPA/PIPA legislation battle of the US – it seemed much more distant than it is now. First came the official statement from our President’s bureau, in which Poland was supposedly achieving great international success by catching up with the world standards of copyright protection. We were to sign ACTA on January 26.
This was registered by a few niche websites, and went for the most part unnoticed by the mass media. Bloggers and youtubers started to dig into the subject, research the legislation itself and post comments so that more people would get interested. We were caught totally off-guard, but luckily, the Internet stood up to the challenge: in the next 24 hours, literally hundreds of thousands of people started to speak out, write letters to our government, organize protests, record videos and hype the thing up.
When Anonymous went into action yesterday evening by bringing down government websites, it received mixed reactions. A lot of people were happy about it, but some were apprehensive: it’s easy to dismiss those who oppose ACTA by saying they just condone piracy, now they also support cyberterrorism. Nevertheless, Anonymous have achieved their goal, as mass media finally got interested in this „Internet thing”.
As of now, Sunday morning, the initial mass media coverage started coming in. Government officials have issued a statement that this was not a hacker attack but a technical problem, caused by unusually huge traffic. In some cases, ACTA isn’t even mentioned in a news story.
There’s a lot of propaganda and manipulation in what is revealed to the consumers about this legislation; these days in Poland, we don’t discuss the ideas behind ACTA as often as we just try to spread the word about it. All of this came so suddenly, few people had the time to research the paper itself, and the discourse can’t have matured on such a short notice.
Still, there are hundreds of thousands of us in here, and we believe in the free Internet.