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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Android App Filters SOPA-Supporting Products

The number of companies and individuals boycotting the new US copyright legislation known as SOPA keeps growing – recently, an Android application named “Boycott SOPA” was introduced to public.

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After being installed on a smartphone, the app will help a user identify those products that are produced by supporters of SOPA legislation. “Boycott SOPA” uses the ZXing Barcode Scanner, which works the following way: it shows a green check if a product isn’t produced by a firm supporting SOPA, or a red X mark if it is related to a supporting company.

At the moment, the application recognizes more than 800 brands and companies, and the developers keep introducing the updates. “Boycott SOPA” is an absolutely free Android app that you can use to scan bar codes to find out whether the products are created by or intimately related to SOPA supporting entities. It was created by two college kids unimpressed with the US copyright bill and willing to discourage it from getting passed in such an interesting way. Although the app is meant to help identifying the above mentioned products, users shouldn’t absolutely rely upon it and carry out their own check of any product. The app is available online, of course.

Apparently, the movement against SOPA is growing stronger. This is of no surprise, since the law is considered a rude act of violation of the First Amendment which would finally result in the web filtering at levels users can’t even imagine. The bill was first introduced by the House of Representatives more than a year ago. The opposers to the suggested legislation point out that an open Internet is actually crucial to US job creation, government operations, and the daily life of Americans. Therefore, the public should deserve an open discussion about the consequences of changing the way people access data and communicate online our days.

Meanwhile, on the 18th of January, the House Committee on Oversight and Government is planning to hold a hearing to investigate the potential impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine filtering on US cyber-security, jobs and the online community. The only hope the opposers to the bill have left is that the Congress will keep an open mind and listen carefully to what the tech experts would have to say.

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