Programmer and designer Nathan Pryor invented a rather innovative way to protest President Trump: he wired an Amazon Dash Button to make donations to the ACLU instead of ordering products.
The one-touch donation button gives people the chance to take concrete actions in real life instead of just ranting and complaining.
The source code for the script that auto-fills the ACLU donation form is available for free on GitHub.
Pryor’s invention is just one of the many ways in which Americans are protesting the new President. In the coming months, both scientists and tech industry workers will hold rallies in Washington and California to make their voices heard.
What are Amazon Dash Buttons?
Launched in 2015, Amazon Dash Buttons are dedicated, physical buttons that allow consumers to reorder specific products with just one press.
Prime customers can buy a Dash Button preprogrammed to order Tide, for example, and all they need to do is set it up with their smartphone through the Amazon app.
Once that is done, every click they make will place an order on the product and send a notification to the device. People quickly realized they could hack these buttons to perform other actions if they wrote the script for them to do so.
Once Amazon caught wind of this, it did not shy away from the practice but embraced it by launching the AWS IoT Button in 2016. This button lets users customize the action they want to trigger with the click.
How does the ACLU Dash Button work?
Nathan Pryor ordered one of the IoT buttons from Amazon and got to work. He found he had to write a script to automatically fill up the donation form of the American Civil Liberties Union page.
Once that was done, he just did what any other customer would do with a preprogrammed Dash Button: he paired it with a gift card (in regular cases an Amazon Prime account), and it was good to go.
The idea for the button was born out of a conversation between Pryor and a friend about Trump. The two vented their frustrations at the new President and at a point, someone wished they had an instant way to retaliate against him.
While taking more concrete protest actions may involve a little bit more work, donating to the ACLU is an effective way of contributing to the cause of those fighting the policies and practices of the new administration.
“THE ACLU WORKS IN THE COURTS, LEGISLATURES, AND COMMUNITIES TO DEFEND AND PRESERVE THE INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES GUARANTEED TO ALL PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY BY THE CONSTITUTION,” reads the official website.
Pryor has made the code of the script available for free on GitHub, so anyone can try to set it up and do some real good. The IoT Button costs $19.95 at Amazon, and the ACLU string automatically donates $5 each time it is pressed.