Last weekend the twelfth Hackers On Planet Earth conference, subtitled The Circle of HOPE was held at the Hotel Pennsylvania by 2600 Magazine. As with most years, I made my cross-country pilgrimage to New York City to attend. I flew out on Thursday morning with the eventual goal of making it to my hotel early enough that I could order in, relax a bit, and get to sleep early to shake the inevitable jet lag so I could be somewhat functional the next day. Modulo the usual difficulty in catching a ride from JFK, I made good time and accomplished a decent amount of war driving along the way. There isn't much to remark on until the next day...
On 12 July 2017, websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. Learn how you can join the protest and spread the word at https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12.
As of right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai (local mirror) has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience. We're also seeing some shenanagains taking place, in the form of tens of thousands of fraudulent comments being entered on the FCC website. (one, two, three) Funnily enough, all of the comments are exactly identical. I sure as hell didn't post a comment saying that net.neutrality was a bad thing, and I've never been a customer of Comcast. I also don't live in Seattle. (local mirror) You might want to check to see if your name is in there without your permission, too. Additionally, properties of some of the bigger ISPs (such as Tumblr, owned by Verizon) are being pressured internally to not support net.neutrality or July 12. (local mirror)
If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users - tilting the playing field in their favor. We could also be facing a Net in which little websites like mine will not exist for all intents and purposes because folks like me won't have the money to even buy into the "slow lanes" of throttled Internet access. We may even be facing a Net in which censorship of "inconvenient" websites may be imposed under the guise of failure to pay or not falling into one of the defined content types required to buy into one of the speed classes.
But, on July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them. Websites, Internet users, and online communities will stand tall, and sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality.
The Battle for the Net campaign will provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your friends, family, followers to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we've shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. Now, we have to do it again!
Learn more and join the action here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12
So, there's this guy named James O'Keefe.
He's got this problem: He likes trying to play Mission: Impossible and wreck the careers and lives of people he doesn't like by pulling scams, editing videos in interesting ways to set people up, and generally being the sort of person you'd eject from the party for being such a huge asshole that the Alpha Betas would throw him out on his ear. He spent all of Election Day in 2016 tailing buses taking people to the polls in an attempt to intimidate them into not voting. He's cost a couple of people their jobs. He's also been paid to do other people's dirty work, including breaking and entering and wiretapping, and his video editing skills are creative to say the least, but he relies upon shock value to cover up the fact that he's talking out of his ass. His track record shows that there's a 50/50 chance that he'll burn himself while trying to pull a black op (and I'm being much too polite because the guy's not even a mall ninja).
He's up to his old tricks again, only this time his reputation preceeded him and he was caught in the act when the groups he approached turned the tables on him by using his own tricks. O'Keefe and Allison Maass (one of his employees) approached two organizations, Americans Take Action and the journalist group The Undercurrent, and offered them thousands of dollars if they would disrupt the inauguration on 20 January 2017 by shutting down bridges and inciting a riot. Two versions of the video are available, an edited version in a news segment by The Young Turks (including some behind-the-scenes discussion that you really should watch) and longer video footage which is damning, to say the least. When last I heard, trying to pay people to cause riots and generally wreak havoc was a felony in the United States.