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

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,,, 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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  • 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.

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:16PM (#38563702)

    Isn't a collusive action like this no better than the legislation these corporations are trying to stop? Blocking the internet is blocking the internet, regardless of who does it and why.

    There's a difference between a protest a few hours long and a law that will change the landscape for decades to come.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • No. In this case you havecompanies who ownthe resources in question deciding to make them unavailable. In the other case you have the government deciding to make the resources it does not own or control unavailable based onthe say-so of any given third party and a judge's approval.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:31PM (#38563866)

    What's the difference between Facebook, Google, et. al. taking themselves offline compared to the government doing it for them? From an end user's perspective, there is no difference.

    This is the most idiotic thing I've heard anyone say in a while.

  • Re:Good Idea (Score:4, Informative)

    by ais523 ( 1172701 ) <ais523(524\)(525)x)> on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:49PM (#38564048)
    It's worth noting that the Italian Wikipedia actually did shut down for a few days, in response to a proposed law in Italy that they thought would have made it basically illegal for them to operate (apparently, it would have allowed anyone to force a website to publish a retraction of anything said about them with minimal judicial oversight). Here's the Slashdot story [] on the issue. They hid all content on the site while they were opposing the proposal. So not only has this happened, on Wikipedia, but at least one major website's actually gone through with a threat like that in the past. I guess it makes it more likely that they'll go through with it again, if necessary.
  • Re:No need ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:53PM (#38564086) Journal

    I can practically guarantee that loss or suspension of an account at the sole discretion of the provider is in their terms of service. Completely legal, and already agreed to by the candidates. Game, set, match.

  • by mrclisdue ( 1321513 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:59PM (#38564142)


    Let's suppose someone from Time-Warner decides that "your own photography" resembles theirs? "your own videos" resemble theirs (how could *anyone* possibly have the same or similar ideas as anyone else?)

    Once *someone-with-more-pull ($$)* than you decides that you're infringing on their widespread copyright/trademarks/patents, you're doomed.

    You may feel that you're immune, but you won't be; there simply aren't enough checks and balances to ensure you're immune. The dollars win every time.


  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:04PM (#38564670)

    Are you dense?

    What's the difference between a bunch of key employees of a company quitting at the same time, or that company laying them off? From the perspective of the customers of that company (who now can't get their products), there's no difference, but that's irrelevant. Employment is voluntary: if employees want to quit, they're allowed to, regardless of who it hurts. If the employer wants to fire everyone, they're allowed to (subject to employment law), even if it's shooting themselves in the foot. Same here: just because so many people use FB and Google services doesn't mean they're obligated to continue providing them in perpetuity.

  • Re:Newscorp (Score:5, Informative)

    by biodata ( 1981610 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:20PM (#38564786)
    Newscorp eh? A UK politician recently openly called Newscorp a 'protection racket'. They had invaded the privacy of everyone in the public eye to dig up dirt, and were using that dirt to further their own agenda, and as leverage against politicians.

    It's starting to become clear why your US senators support this thing now.

  • 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.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal