Going Nuclear to Stop SOPA?

Yes, apparently very big names in internet technology are talking about doing just that.

Imagine what it'd mean if for a day, a week, or more when people went to Google they got a big, obvious warning that their was an effort to get rid of Google, to restrain them, to turn Google into a kind of cop, etc.  Imagine nice, location-based service being used to tell them just what Congressperson to call, and some helpful numbers.

Imagine it happening on several big sites like, say, Amazon.

This is a subject, that, apparently, has been broached among SOPA opponents.  The nuclear option.

Will it get to that?  In my opinion, no.  Partially because SOPA seems to be on the rocks, partially because SOPA is now an embarassment that is easier to make go away and then bring back.

But the fact it's even being discussed is important:

  • It shows that some companies/sites/orgs are willing to even consider the threat.  That's huge – it's essentially turning their entire business model into a lobbying model.  Discussing that is alone revolutionary.
  • It could be done easy.  Here's the funny thing with these internet businesses – they can turn their sites into protest sites with a few coders, a day of work, and little effort.  This is equvalent to a restaurant change being able to completely alter their signage, restaurant layout, and employee greeting within 24 hours worldwide.  The internet-based businesses can adapt a lot quicker to get their message out as the site is the source of contact.
  • If something like this happened, rather oddly, it may bring up Net Neutrality issues big time.  That could, ironically, be a win-win for some companies – but means the nuclear option can get used once.  Which is kind of assumed.
  • In no way do I think a lot of politicos or lobbyists get what the nuclear option would mean.  I've often talked about things going "meme" recently, and these sites could indeed create a meme-system about SOPA, Protect IP, and more.  These companies can influence thought very quickly, and that's not being considered by politicians.
  • A nuclear option like this would work once, and then politicians (and SOPA supporters) would essentially freak out.  At that point unless they were cowed (which I'm not sure would happen), it'd likely result in open political warfare – then again, that may play to the advantage of the anti-SOPA crowd.
  • Keep in mind this option could be used for other political reasons in the future.

Steven Savage



Yes, more SOPA/PIPA news. Yeah, I know.

The bill is still active, but as support flees the chance to kill it completely increases. I'm also expecting some recriminations from those claiming support of people who weren't told they were supporting it.

Steven Savage

SOPA Delayed

Looks like SOPA is not going to the House, hearings to resume later.  Techeme, as usual, has a roundup, the latest being here.

This is good news as far as I'm concerned – SOPA/PIPA are hideous, and the longer debate goes on, the more chance to rally against them.  It gives time for the truth to come out – and for folks like us to raise hell about it.

A few takeaways:

  • Lamar Smith either doesn't get what he's doing or doesn't care (my guess, both).  He actually didn't feel it was necessary to discuss the security issues of altering the internet.  Attempts to modify that part actually failed.  I'd keep an eye on whatever he does in the future if you work in tech or media, because he's clearly happy sponsoring hideous life-and-job-destroying legislation.
  • There are massive security concerns as well as legal concerns – more intense than I expected when I first encountered SOPA (I focused mostly on the legal).  If you work in tech, I'd do a deeper examination of this – it will help you lend your voice and also help you understand how the internet works and how people can still mess it up.
  • This delay is good for everyone since it's a chance to bring down SOPA and PIPA, it's tweedledum.  Stay on top of this issue.
  • This is bad enough that I think it shows certain big media companies are very desperate.  If they loose this (and I think they will between time, a presidential veto, and potential legal challenges), they will resort to something else.  Hopefully some companies will get a clue and try different methods of income, distribution, etc. – which could mean opportunities for people.
  • This fight also let us know who to trust to go with an open internet versus a hideous legislation.  You may want to decide your career options based on what you learned here.

Steven Savage