Friday Social Round Up: SOPA/ PIPA, Anonymous Avenge Megaupload Shut Down, Welcome to the Bark Side, Who Needs a Hug?

SOPA/PIPA protests

On Wednesday an estimated 10,000 websites went dark and over 7 million people signed a petition against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act), two controversial copyright enforcement bills. These acts of protest by websites including Wikipedia and Reddit appear to have influenced members of US Congress, including some of the bills’ co-sponsors (notably Florida senator Marco Rubio and the Arizona representative Ben Quayle).

SOPA is currently stuck in the House Judiciary Committee but the Senate is scheduled to vote on PIPA on Tuesday 24th January. Majority leader Harry Reid has scheduled what is known as a cloture vote, which is a procedure whereby the senate can vote to place a time limit on considerations of a particular bill. This move was taken to stop a threatened filibuster (the right to extend the debate). So far 20 senators have announced opposition, including a total of 6 original co-sponsors. Reid has talked to senators about drafting an amended version, but as of yet this has not been released. Reid will need 60 votes to override the filibuster.

Although the anti-PIPA movement seems strong, it’s important to remember that the fight is not over until the fat senators vote!

Anonymous avenge Megaupload shut down

Despite the SOPA and PIPA bills not yet being passed, the FBI has shut down prolific file sharing service Megaupload. Megaupload is charged with systematically abetting widespread piracy of copyrighted music, movies, video and other intellectual property. The indictment, which is an incredible 72 pages, charges seven people and two corporations (Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited) of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from the pirated content distributed on the website. All those arrested have not been granted bail and face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on racketeering charges, 5 years for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years for money laundering and a further 5 years on related charges.

A few short hours later, websites belonging to the FBI, US department of Justice and the US Copyright Office were hacked and taken offline, along with several entertainment websites, by what are known as DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. Anonymous have claimed credit for taking down the Department of justice Website via their Twitter account @anonops. The tweet read: “ & TANGO DOWN! You should have EXPECT US!”

As well as taking down these websites, Anonymous launched #opmegaupload and encourage supporters to download the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC), a tool which directs a flood of traffic to targeted sites and eventually overwhelm their servers. The Twitter account @youranonnews posted: “Megaupload was taken down w/out SOPA being law. Now imagine what will happen if it passes. The Internet as we know it will end. FIGHT BACK.” 


Who needs a hug?

On a much lighter note, tomorrow (21/01/2012) is National Hugging Day! So be warned: you might be swamped by strangers trying to hug you (although the official website does advise people to ask first!). Would you hug a stranger? We sent round a poll and discovered 63% of Fresh Eggers would not accept a free hug from a stranger!

Here at Fresh Egg we decided to see what (if anything) in the online world gives you the same feeling as a traditional (offline) hug. We sent round an email and asked people to tell us what they felt the online alternative is, and here are the responses:

  • *hug*
  • \_o_/
  • The warmth of a laptop superheating my lap.
  • Getting a good link from someone just because they like me… Sorry that was the geeky answer, scrap that. In reality nothing replaces a hug!
  • Maybe a nice email from someone?
  • We’ve spent the last five years stuffing the internet full of kittens and it’s still only half as good as a hug.
  • A retweet!

Let’s be honest, though; these are never as good as a hug when you’re feeling down. Is this where social networks fail? When someone posts on Facebook “Had the worst day EVER!” or “Can’t believe this has happened…” and people respond with “U ok?”, is the response really one of caring or just pure nosiness? The ease of typing these three characters almost makes the action insincere. If it was a good friend of yours, would you respond on Facebook? Or would you call them to see if they were okay? Does the action of calling evoke a stronger sense of caring? Is this the alternative to a physical hug? At the same time, the very act of posting such a status could be deemed extremely attention seeking and therefore this response could be appropriate.

On the other hand, when Coleen Rooney called a ‘hater’ "a dog" in a tweet after a Coleen had uploaded of herself and hubby Wayne, hundreds of her Twitter followers came to her defence. Having such a huge support network on Twitter is probably the closest thing to a virtual hug.

[twitterbox label="Who would you like to hug?" content="On #nationalhuggingday I'd like to hug... @Freshegg"]

Welcome to the bark side

Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen has had another viral success with this 2012 Super Bowl ad. The video has already received over 2.8 million views on the Volkswagen YouTube page after only having been uploaded one day ago!

Infographic time

Here’s an infographic explaining SOPA.