SOPA protests caused panic, crashed government websites

Wednesday’s “blackout” protest by Wikipedia, Reddit and other websites in protest of pending antipiracy legislation in Congress caused a panic among consumers. Congressional offices were flooded with emails and phone calls about the bills, and in several instances the high traffic volume caused congressional websites to crash.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), are bills in the House and Senate aimed at curbing the online piracy that originates on foreign websites. Supporters of the legislation argue that online piracy has a devastating economic impact, while opponents worry about government censorship of the Internet.

The Denver Post reported that members of both the House and Senate saw their websites affected by the influx of Web traffic.

“Mark Begich (D – AK)? His site’s down completely,” wrote Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. ”Barbara Boxer (D – CA)? Her [website] is loading like it’s hosted on a Palm Pilot.”

“And yes, Patrick Leahy (D – VT), you who co-sponsored PIPA — your site is all the way down,” he added. “Dead. Gone.”

Leahy told Vermont Public Radio that concerns about his bill were “unfounded.”

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