By Sebastian Anthony on January 9, 2012 at 7:38 am
Armchair activists now have a tool that can transport their SOPA protestations into the real world: Boycott SOPA, an Android app that scans barcodes and tells you whether an object’s manufacturer/publisher is a supporter of the much maligned Stop Online Piracy Act.
If you’ve ever scanned a barcode on your Android phone to look up a book or CD on Amazon, Boycott SOPA works in exactly the same way: First you have to install the ZXing Barcode Scanner app, but then you simply go around pointing your phone’s camera at product barcodes. Boycott SOPA gives you a big red cross if the product is distributed by a SOPA supporter, or a green tick if it’s “clean.” Much to my chagrin, Coca-Cola supports SOPA — but Smirnoff, on the other hand, does not. If you ever needed a sign from Above that you ought to drink more, there it is.
Scanning food isn’t really where Boycott SOPA is at, though: Really, it’s all about scanning books, CDs, movies, and games — products that are protected by massively militant groups like the MPAA, RIAA, and BSA who are spending millions on buying off Representatives to shoehorn SOPA through Congress. If you scan a random selection of media in your DVD rack or bookcase, you’ll be unsurprised to see that almost every object is produced by a company that supports SOPA. It’s worth noting that the app isn’t perfect, though: It relies on a user-curated list of SOPA supporters — a list that isn’t complete nor publicly visible. The app developer claims that the list will be regularly updated.
- Boycott SOPA: An Android app that should terrify publishers and politicians (extremetech.com)
- Boycott SOPA: The Android app that identifies products sold by SOPA-backing companies (thenextweb.com)
- Boycotting SOPA? There’s An App For That (huffingtonpost.com)