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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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  • 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?
  • Srsly? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> 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?

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

    by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <> 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.

  • 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 shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:12PM (#38563664)

    I wonder if Google's anti censorship stance is what got them under the antitrust microscope in the first place?

    Far easier to pass a bad law when you have your opponent by the balls.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:18PM (#38563714)

    ...not among politicians, but among all the kiddies who can not communicate anymore but via Facebook. Under-18 Doomsday guaranteed.

    Cross your arms and huff all you want to, Facebook usage and traffic is not what you want to think it is. I'm sorry that you and I and everyone else here built the internet and other wonderful devices, but nerds are in the minority in usership and influence. The internet is now following the market, and our good old friend the Invisible Hand has made Facebook traffic number two. Sure, there are people who post about their breakfast on FB. There are also mini ego battles of enormous banality here. It's okay to be initially upset that a message on Facebook has more inluence than an article on slashdot. It's not okay to embrace your cognitive dissonance and perpetuate the incorrect model in your head and huff and puff over here to get more support for your particular brand of bigotry.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:19PM (#38563730)

    I hope they don't. The rest of the world needs to be confronted with the fact that the internet has way too many Big Red Buttons.

  • 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.

  • 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 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 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 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Editing fail (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:00PM (#38564156)
    It should be called SOAA - Stop Online Activity Act, because that's the real agenda here. Companies that failed to adapt to a changed market and blaming the internet for their failures and want it banned.
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:03PM (#38564180) Homepage Journal

    You can't combat piracy. Externalities are a cost of doing business. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding him/herself.

    There's exactly one way to maximize profit, and that is to deliver a product that people are willing to pay for at a price that they are willing to pay. The pirates were never your customers and never will be, and the sooner the companies accept that and focus on the real problems (massively overpricing everything when first released, delivering products that can't easily be moved between devices because of the restrictive/broken DRM, and the declining quality of entertainment products in general), they'll have better profits. That's not what SOPA/PIPA and similar legislation are about, however. They're about eliminating legitimate lower-cost competition.

    What scares the industry most is that these days, any jackass in his home could make a movie of comparable quality to most of the non-SFX Hollywood films. Moderately high-end HD cams cost a couple of grand or three—well within the price range of most people if they are willing to save up for a bit. You can buy halogen lights at Home Depot for fifty bucks, then rebuild the reflectors yourself and build your own barn doors for just about nothing. And there are millions of people out there who can act, not just a few dozen in Hollyweird, so there's no shortage of available talent.

    In effect, this means that commercial movies are too expensive by about a factor of a thousand. But instead of finding ways to take advantage of new technologies to cut their production and distribution costs, they are instead focusing on destroying new means of distribution to prevent competition. You see, YouTube is in a great position to deliver paid content from independent producers to consumers. The studios know this, and they know that if the Internet turns into anything approaching a free market, they're basically out of business. For this reason, they do everything within their power to kill such sites—not because they can be used to pirate Hollywood movies, but because they can be used to sell non-Hollywood movies without having to spend millions of dollars in infrastructure. That ability of the general public to do what the major studios do is the greatest threat to their power.

    Game studios are similar. There's no reason why people who want to write games should go work for one of those sweatshops, working unholy hours for terrible pay. You can go off on your own and work with a handful of people and write a great game, sell it, and make a fair amount of money. If everyone did this, the sweatshop game studios of the world would collapse, and the Internet makes that not only possible, but downright easy. They know this, and it terrifies them. So they do what they can to create liability for any ISP that might dare to distribute software, thus discouraging the practice.

    And so on. It's not about piracy. It's about control. They want to control the entire content production industry, and our Congresspeople are almost all too fucking stupid to realize that these laws only serve to turn the big studios into a state-protected oligopoly and thwart small businesses' attempts to compete. And this is why we don't have jobs in this country.

  • by LVSlushdat ( 854194 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:06PM (#38564214)

    Simple: Each one of the major players, put up a black splash page with info about SOPA and WHAT to do about it... That's all, No Google searches, no Facebook statuses, No buying on Amazon/eBay. If you go to one of these sites ALL you get is the black splash page... EasyPeasy...

  • 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 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:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ancientt ( 569920 ) * <> on Monday January 02, 2012 @01:44PM (#38564516) Homepage Journal

    It is very apt that they're referring to it as a nuclear option, because it harms much more than just the intended target. Every visitor to a site with blackout boxes or censorship warnings will consider for a moment what their other options are. This action would be to inform people of something they probably don't realize they care about. It will cost the participants real money as customers switch to alternatives and even those who don't switch will be a little more aware that they need alternatives.

    There will be fallout.

    You fear corporate action to influence behavior? Many people seem to think that they have a right to the services provided, rather than realizing it can be revoked or changed at whim, and I welcome the education of the masses.

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @03:31PM (#38565338)

    No Google searches, no Facebook statuses, No buying on Amazon/eBay

    It's not that simple. There are contractual issues in play, with third parties who pay places like Amazon and eBay to provide services that are part of their businesses. I doubt that those agreements have clauses in them that say things like "We retain the right to fail to provide you with these contracted-for services while we participate in a political protest." Lots of moving parts involved, here.

  • by biodata ( 1981610 ) on Monday January 02, 2012 @03:41PM (#38565416)
    >politicians tolerate being bribed but they are highly allergic against being blackmailed.

    I think you are wrong about this. History shows that Newscorp has a long record of invading politicians' private lives, digging dirt they want to keep quiet, and using threats of publication of said dirt to affect politicians' votes.

    I think if you made a list of the politicians supporting SOPA you would find it correlated strongly with the list of politicians which Newscorp have some dirt on.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Monday January 02, 2012 @03:57PM (#38565548)

    Imagine if every Adsense ad changed to an anti-SOPA message for a day...

panic: kernel trap (ignored)