You may not have heard much about the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA over the last few weeks. Holidays can be like social Trojan horses when it comes to unpopular new laws. But the netroots has heard of it — we’re against it — and now the Internet giants of our era are considering a dramatic move to bring the ill-conceived idea into the harsh scrutiny of the soon to be very pissed-off public eye:
(C/Net) — 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, you’ll know they’re finally serious.
I remember as an adolescent a local election in central Texas, circa 1975. One speaker stood up and announced he was running simply to bring voice to the public. His idea was to use the burgeoning cable network spreading through the Hill Country at the time to connect citizens into a network of voters. At the time I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. Today that man looks like a visionary! I wish I could remember his name.
The corporate netizens considering pulling the plug temporarily have a combined page view total of about … hell I dunno, billions of hits a day? They would have full use of targeted messaging, meaning through cookies and other Internet devices, not only could they tell you your Senator or Congressman, they could nail it down to the local schoolboard and precinct captain, complete with auto email address and skype phone link displayed. All it might take is a single click to send a predetermined message or leave a pre-recorded voicemail. So, yes, this would certainly get noticed and I think it’s a damn good idea. DC politicians and K-Street lobbyists would literally not know what hit them. And if it worked here, you better believe a whole new vector of netizen activism would be unleashed bypassing the traditional centers of paid influence.
May you live in exciting times.