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Net Companies Consider the "Nuclear Option" To Combat SOPA 507

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-today's-sopa-news dept.
Atypical Geek writes "Alec Liu of Fox News reports that Amazon, Facebook and Google are considering a coordinated blackout of the internet to protest SOPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act being debated in Congress. From the article: 'Such a move is drastic. And though the details of exactly how it would work are unclear, it's already under consideration, according to Markham Erickson, the executive director of NetCoalition, a trade association that includes the likes of Google, PayPal, Yahoo, and Twitter. With the Senate debating the SOPA legislation at the end of January, it looks as if the tech industry's top dogs are finally adding bite to their bark, something CNET called "the nuclear option." "When the home pages of Google.com, Amazon.com, Facebook.com, and their Internet allies simultaneously turn black with anti-censorship warnings that ask users to contact politicians about a vote in the U.S. Congress the next day on SOPA," Declan McCullagh wrote, "you'll know they're finally serious."'"
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Net Companies Consider the "Nuclear Option" To Combat SOPA

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  • ...not among politicians, but among all the kiddies who can not communicate anymore but via Facebook. Under-18 Doomsday guaranteed.
    • by BetterThanCaesar (625636) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:53AM (#38563502)
      They should start with just targeting DC. If that doesn't get any reactions, then do the whole US for a day. Or the world, for that matter.
      • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:12PM (#38563670)

        They should start by targeting the entire U.S. and other "pro-SOPA" countries and leave the other countries alone. Why punish people all over the world just because a small minority of people in the U.S. are corrupt douchebag cockheads?

        Targeting only D.C. isn't going to do much...the vast majority of the people, particularly legislators, that are supporting this legislation hardly even use the web.

        • by Hadlock (143607) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:18PM (#38563720) Homepage Journal

          You must be new here, just last year we wrote the copyright legislation for Spain and New Zealand, and shoved it down their throats (they passed it, grudgingly). We've twisted China's arm about movie piracy in the past, and plenty of other countries as well. We're terrible about installing dictators in countries, but we're really good at writing laws and making them law in other countries. What copyright law passes here in our bellwether country becomes law in 20-70% of the rest of the world.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:26PM (#38563806)

            Our government (NZ) passed it eagerly. We also did some blackout-style protesting, but the bill was passed anyway because of the emergency powers available to the politicians after the devastating Christchurch earthquake.

            That move alone absolutely sickened me, and I have lost all faith in our politicians.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Same here dude. It blows my mind how little awareness there was of the issue. We desperately needed a nation-wide blackout of internet services to wake people up. But it never happened. And well, now we have both censorship and copyright cops.

              New Zealanders really sucked it all up. The information is out there (wikileaks) but noone takes notice or cares. New Zealand has a real apathy towards politics.

        • by russotto (537200) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:33PM (#38563880) Journal

          They should start by targeting the entire U.S. and other "pro-SOPA" countries and leave the other countries alone. Why punish people all over the world just because a small minority of people in the U.S. are corrupt douchebag cockheads?

          Because

          A) These are American-based companies and will have to follow SOPA even in their overseas operations.
          B) Once SOPA passes in the US, the copyright industry will immediately move to have it implemented in Europe in the name of harmonizing. And the European corrupt douchebag cockheads will go for it. The rest of the world will follow, because no country has any shortage of corrupt douchebag cockheads.

          • by epine (68316) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:36PM (#38564908)

            Yes, and the harmonization process involves negotiating treaty consent in a closed process, then bringing it back and claiming in the face of democratic opposition "we've already promised this" without any democratic consent in the first place.

            I wouldn't complain about my life suffering a DOS day for these companies to band together and make a point.

        • by Surt (22457) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:22PM (#38564320) Homepage Journal

          Well for one thing, maybe we could get someone to come in and do some regime change for us if they get pissed off enough about their loss of internet?

        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          Because SOPA is already branded as an excuse for politician in several EU country to make a similar legislation. Many EU countries are US-followers when it comes to technological laws, especially those that pretend to deal with copyright infringement.

          Please do it worldwide. Then I won't see Sarkozy saying things like "The US did SOPA and everything went alright"
      • by gman003 (1693318) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:36PM (#38563910)

        Make it global from day 1. SOPA would be a problem not just for Americans, but for everyone.

        I'm pretty sure that if Google, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Wikipedia all went down for a day, even Washington would realize that SOPA can't stand. And if they went on a blackout until SOPA was defeated (with the implied or explicit threat of shutting down permanently should SOPA pass), defeating SOPA would become the #1 priority of Congress. Because *NOBODY* would vote for "the Senator that killed the Internet".

        • by Krishnoid (984597) * on Monday January 02, 2012 @03:44PM (#38565440) Journal
          They came after his candidacy ... and he stood down.

          They came after his planet ... and he started working to find a solution.

          Then they came after his child.

          Nobody comes after his child.

          GORE

          Summer, 2012.

        • by Rakarra (112805) on Monday January 02, 2012 @03:47PM (#38565458)

          Make it global from day 1. SOPA would be a problem not just for Americans, but for everyone.

          I'm pretty sure that if Google, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Wikipedia all went down for a day, even Washington would realize that SOPA can't stand.

          I'm not sure, you have to balance the dislike for having those sites down... against the amazing productivity gains that would result! If they all went down for a day, we'd have flying cars, cold fusion, and warp drive the next day.

          But I didn't think the actual sites would be down, just the front pages.

      • by wagnerrp (1305589) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:51PM (#38565026)

        They're not trying to persuade the senators directly, they're trying to make the issues known to the general public. The average internet user likely hasn't even heard of SOPA, much less realize the implications it entails. On the other hand, hundreds of millions use sites such as google, yahoo, and twitter daily. If instead of their normal behavior, all of those people using those pages get a notice about SOPA, a quarter will likely read it at least once, and a quarter of those might actually understand why that's a bad thing, and a tenth of those might actually take the time to try to contact their representatives about it. You're looking at potentially millions of constituents, all trying to contact their senators within a couple hour time frame, the day before the issue goes to a vote.

        The vast majority of politicians are in it to make money, not make the country a better place. That means accepting donations and favors, and staying in office as long as possible to accept more donations and favors. Argue that all you want, but the fact is that politicians don't get paid all that much, yet Senators all live very well, well beyond what a $175k/yr salary would suggest. If a particular bill becomes unpopular, they aren't going to support it and risk losing their position in the next election, regardless of how much lobbyists are otherwise pushing it.

    • by ancientt (569920) * <ancientt@yahoo.com> on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:13PM (#38564260) Homepage Journal

      I hope they do and I hope you are right. Nothing could be better for the future of our country than for the impressionable youth to realize that their freedoms and access are protected only at the whim of corporate policy and fickle government oversight. I could actually hope the coming years would reflect the will of the people if the youth of today were sufficiently shocked.

    • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:35PM (#38564432)

      I'm still waiting to hear why things like Minimum Wage and EPA regulations are "job killers" while things like SOPA aren't...

      The companies that are going to be most effected by this stupid bullshit are the few American companies that are actually doing well right now. I thought we had to make America "open for business"? Are these not businesses as well, or do they not donate enough to qualify for that kind of consideration?

      It's just so retarded on so many levels. The web brings in 100 times more revenue than the MAFIAA does. Why are we going to cripple it? It makes no sense whatsoever...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        From the companies' perspective?

        Minimum wage 'kills' the 8 jobs that would have been around if McDonalds could pay only 2$ an hour instead of minimum wage.

        EPA regulations prevent companies from hiring more people with the money they use to clean up and meet regulations.

        Both of the above are reasons why corporations need to be beaten into the ground and held to very strict, and very punishing legal standards. And why the should NEVER EVER be allowed to participate in politics in ANY WAY.

    • by bfandreas (603438) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:27PM (#38566650)
      Ooooh, this is actually a scary prospect. This is a scenario where corporations threaten to shut down infrastructure in order to interfere with Congressional decision making process.
      It fills me with great satisfaction when congress critters can't google for the closest ladyboy escort service on their smartphone while they are supposed to pursue this nations best interests. And yes, I intentionally imply gross negligence, rottenness and hypocrisy when talking of elected representatives.
      But the line being crossed here is scary. They could also threaten a black out in favor for SOPA and the likes. We can't on the one hand complain about undue influence of corporations on the political process and on the other hand welcome it when it suits us. This is hypocrisy, too.
      Now black out that Google front page already!
  • And when they don't? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gazbo (517111) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:45AM (#38563422)
    And when they don't in fact do that, are we expected to be at all surprised?
  • Editing fail (Score:4, Informative)

    by Travelsonic (870859) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:48AM (#38563450) Journal

    "Alec Liu of Fox News reports that Amazon, Facebook and Google are considering a coordinated a coordinated blackout of the internet to protest SOPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act ... *SNIP*

    PIRACY act, it's the Stop Online PIRACY act. Talk about a grammar failure. /GrammarNazi.

  • Srsly? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:48AM (#38563452) Homepage Journal

    I'd love to see it. I could believe it from Amazon and maybe Google, but also Facebook? That's tougher.

    Paranoia check, am I the only one whose links fail to post to their failbook wall only when they're political speech, and never just some vapid crap?

    • Re:Srsly? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:55AM (#38563526) Homepage Journal

      I would think Facebook could implement something geographically that based on what they know about you, tell you who to call to get your Facebook account restored and have it be the senators of the state you live in, and the house of representatives for your zip code.

      That could be spectacular. I mean the phone systems would melt down. I find this idea rather funny.

    • Re:Srsly? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RazorSharp (1418697) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:25PM (#38563804)

      I have no idea what you're talking about about this 'failbook wall' thing (I've never used Facebook), but I do know that Facebook, along with Google and Amazon, probably has the most to lose because of SOPA. As I understand it, it would make them responsible for the actions of their users, which would be completely unmanageable for them.

      This is why SOPA will fail. These companies cannot afford to let it pass because even if it did their only option would be noncompliance. This threat of a blackout is a warning. If they do go through with it, SOPA will be dead. Almost every single congressman's mailbox/e-mail server will be flooded with messages, it would be like a legal DoS.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        It's good to see these companies working together on a good cause. Now they need to also work together to eradicate one of the most evil companies on the internet today, and one of the architects of SOPA: GoDaddy.

      • "Almost every single congressman's mailbox/e-mail server will be flooded with messages, it would be like a legal DoS."

        Or rather would be, had google not shut down gmail.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:50AM (#38563460)

    Let people access facebook, etc, but only in a tiny little window. Have the rest black with a message "Call your politician right now to remove this".

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:52AM (#38563484) Journal

    Google, Facebook, Amazon,Yahoo, etc should continue as normal but show the supports of censorship just how much fun being censored can be!

    Google/Yahoo can simply don't return any results that include the names of Senators, and Representatives that supported the act, bonus points if you can still detect NEGATIVE news about them and return those results, don't return listings for products from companies that support the ACT on Amazon/Google/Yahoo, Facebook stop having the profiles come up in searches and don't let any posts hit news feeds even to people who are all ready friends or followers.

    Frankly after such a black out of those organizations I'd be real surprised if the thing passes, and if it does is not repealed in a week. It would also give a big boost to those who don't support this stuff as it will put them front and center before the consumer for a change.

    • by fermion (181285) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:17PM (#38563706) Homepage Journal
      A full blackout is a reasonable response, because, in the language that is so popular with politicians, SOPA is going to result in excessive regulation that will cost jobs and likely cause significant increases in the cost of services, perhaps to the point where those services will no longer be able to provided on an ad supported or free to consumer basis.

      The only impediment is how to make this coordinated. For instance all the Google, Bing, and Yahoo are going to have cooperate. Otherwise any blackout may simply result in loss of customers for one service, not a clear message to call one's representative. I suspect that if the services choose a minute during the day when no results are returned, only a message to call your representative and state your opinion on SOPA, the bill will die. If Google and MS tell users that search will die if SOPA is passed, no amount of politicking will be able to counteract that message.

      Anything less is a show of support for SOPA by the major players.

    • Interesting.

      I'd even go a step further. For 24 hours leave up a little button beside each link stating that you feel this person has violated your copyright. Anyone can click it, allow them to leave a small comment explaining why they think "their" copyright has been violated. When the 24 hours is up that page is delisted for the next 24, pointing to a fake seizure page detailing the "reason".

      I'm sure 24 hours of crappy reasons like "I've decided to act on behalf of Colgate and we feel that Oral-B violates

  • No need ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:53AM (#38563488)

    ... to black out an entire site. Just drop the candidates' Twitter, FaceBook accounts and websites immediately prior to various state primary elections or caucuses.

    You want panic? That'll be panic the likes of which you've never seen.

  • Stop Talking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:53AM (#38563494) Journal

    ... and do it. Either you have a backbone or you don't. Pick a day, middle of the week, say Jan 12th, and just do it. Announce you're doing it, and watch the others fall in line. True leadership doesn't wait.

    • The Tao demands that you exert your influence and spend the least possible amount of effort to accomplish a task. In this case, just saying that you consider a blackout may be enough to coax those technologically oblivious people. Leadership is not about acting, but about influencing.

  • by kanto (1851816) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:56AM (#38563534)
    ... and underlines the travesty that democracy has become. It's bad enough corporations write the legislation now they're going to effectively start voting on them by themselves.. this should scare the living daylights out of us and not be some kind a source for celebration.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Because it's so very democratic when the congress of one nation writes the rules affecting the whole Internet? The userbase of these corporations represent the global Internet community much better.

    • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:32PM (#38563874)

      You are confused. The fact that corporations do write legislation tailored to their needs is an obvious sign that the government is corrupt. Yet, having corporations react to the legislation that corrupt representatives are forcing onto a country is hardly any reason to worry about. You may complain that these companies are actively engaged in the democratic process, but this is the very definition of activism [wikipedia.org], which is supposed to be one of those inalienable rights which, when expressed, represent what a democratic system is all about.

      So, why exactly do you believe that activism is somehow worse than having corrupt politicians act as the lap dog of other corporations and special interest groups?

    • by naasking (94116)

      this should scare the living daylights out of us and not be some kind a source for celebration.

      When their position is in the interests of all citizens, it is cause for celebration. When their position is not in our interests, then it's cause for protest. There's no need to always consider corporations as the enemy. Sometimes they're on the right side.

  • by shabble (90296) <qkjj13x02@sneakemail.com> on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:56AM (#38563542)

    "...and their Internet allies simultaneously turn black with anti-censorship warnings that ask users to contact politicians about a vote in the U.S. Congress the next day on SOPA."

    Are they going to geo-locate IP addresses so those of us that don't have a congress-critter to talk to don't see what, to us, is a pointless message?

  • by IANAAC (692242) on Monday January 02, 2012 @11:58AM (#38563556)
    That's all well and good, but a total blackout of pages is never going to happen. These companies have too much money to lose.

    What will most likely happen is you'll get a black box on the page with the message, then a button to click to continue on with your search/purchase/whatever.

    I would fully support complete uavailability from these websites for a day/set time period - it would really be effective. But it'll never happen as long as there's money to be made/lost.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:01PM (#38563580)

    replacing DNS. With browser manufacturers onboard, it wouldn't be nearly as disruptive as one might think - particularly as nothing more than a new, preferred method that lived alongside the old method. Or another nuclear options is some combination of this and encrypting/onion-routing the entire Web, so that no one can tell where content is actually coming from.

    What TFA mentions is an attempt to barter by threatening suicide - not war.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:17PM (#38563710)

    When the politicians admit
    a) they don't understand the tech
    b) are willing to take the positions of the media companies that donate to them

    So the US is led by ludites who have sold their favor to the corporations. And this (the US) is the self descibed "leader of the free world".

    Where is the power of the people in this process? Where is the representation of the taxed?
    Where is the educated and informed action that is supposed to happen in a democracy?

    Do we need more proof we are living in a corporatocracy ?

    • by Artemis3 (85734) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:46PM (#38564012)

      Americans do not believe in Democracy. Power to the masses to them equals ignorants ruling. They crafted a system where the rich (educated) elite is able to influence politics to the extreme, the "Lobby system" which is basically illegal in the rest of the world; rich people and corporations openly funding politicians (elsewhere a scandal).

      Technically they don't define themselves as a democracy either, its a republic at best. A federal states union or something along those lines; each ruled by the wealthy (now corporations) in practice. A form of plutocracy, and it was intended that way. The rest is (corporate) propaganda to keep the masses controlled, and brag the world of how perfect they are and how undeveloped everyone else is.

  • by Artemis3 (85734) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:23PM (#38563768)

    It is a good idea, if the block shows a notice about the issue at hand. Wikipedia Italy did the same to protest something similar.

    SOPA/PIPA in the end forces self-censorship, Americans might as well try an early taste of it. Also, nobody in their right mind should keep their e-business there, and its about time the world breaks with ICANN and switch to alternatives like OpenNIC.

    I don't agree with that "nuclear" wording made by CNET. For a moment i though either the nuclear power industry was involved and would agree to a literal "blackout" or something unlikely involving weapons of mass destruction...

    Also i hope they make clear this is something concerning USA legislative branch, aka Congress, and its their citizens the ones getting the worst. Might be painful at first, but The World will learn to route around America. So the "blackouts" should be limited to American IPs.

    The notice might also show a list of who are supporting this bill, and call for boycotts, go daddy style; an action which seems to have gotten some people nervous.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:45PM (#38564004) Homepage

    I'm not "oh shit"-ing because there might be a global demonstration against what the US government is attempting to do. I'm "oh shit"-ing because many businesses are willing to interrupt their business to get notice and make a stand. Of course, this is so they can preserve what they have now, but this is also "oh shit" because they are seeing the future beyond tomorrow or the next quarter.

    It's getting serious.

  • by deadl0ck (92256) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:47PM (#38564026) Journal

    instead of blocking everyone, why not send requests from .us or gov domains to a custom page or block entirely.

  • Do it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by assertation (1255714) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:50PM (#38564060)

    Alec Liu of Fox News reports that Amazon, Facebook and Google are considering a coordinated blackout of the internet to protest SOPA

    Even if Congress relents, they should do it. It would be just too cool of a spectacle not to!

    It would also be fun to read the next day in the news how American office worker productivity had a temporary spike upwards.

  • by schwit1 (797399) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:58PM (#38564138)

    Google, Facebook and Amazon should block access from their public IPs, Facebook should shutdown accounts of SOPA supporters and Google should remove search results for them. This includes government IPs and accounts.

    Stop playing nice. Make life troublesome for them.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:02PM (#38564176) Homepage

    but for people like me losing those services will not be noticed. I think SOPA is insane but except for google I don't use any of the other services and google is not the only search shop in town. I can see mostly parents who rely on youtube and facebook as baby sitters being affected.

    Why not just de-list all the SOPA supporters from Google and see what happens.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:20PM (#38564304) Homepage

    If they're going to stop working and drag their feet on getting anything done, they should call it the "Republican option". Nuclear option implies a device that's working.

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