The most effective way to campaign against a particular piece of legislation in this country is to go after the elected officials behind it. There has been some confusion as to who in Congress supports and who opposes the increasingly unpopular Stop Online Piracy Act, but now local Manhattanite and ProPublica developer Dan Nguyen has created a website, SopaOpera.org, to clear things up.
The site lists SOPA supporters and opponents along with basics about their committee positions and financial contributions by industry based on publicly available data such as the New York Times Congress API, GovTrack.us and OpenSecrets. Unfortunately, the majority of Congress members’ positions are unknown. But maybe hacks like this website will pressure them to speak up!
“SOPA Opera is meant to be a neutral resource where you can find the positions and statements of our U.S. representatives on the pending SOPA and PROTECT-IP legislation,” Mr. Nguyen writes. “I created this site because while I had read a lot of rhetoric about these laws, I found it extremely frustrating to find exactly who supported these laws and for what reasons.”
Obvious disclosure: Pretty much everything behind this site’s technical operation – including the hosting (DreamHost and Rackspace), analytics and APIs (Google), open-source libraries (most of GitHub’s userbase) and the Internet infrastructure – is dependent on companies and developers who are avowedly against the proposed laws.
Mr. Nguyen posted the site to Hacker News and Reddit, where it got some traction. It hasn’t asploded yet, he told Betabeat via Twitter, and he still has things to add (“redesign/flesh it out, while keeping its data up-to-date as the Congressional debate continues”). SOPA Opera joins the Chrome extension that displays a red banner across sites run by companies that don’t support SOPA.