Category Archives: News

AT&T Whistle-Blower’s Evidence Released

Wired magazine has release what they claim is a group of documents created by former AT&T technician Mark Klein. He is the lead witness for the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) in their case against AT&T for helping the NSA spy on American citizens.

Here is a copy of the document – att_klien_wired.pdf. The original link for the PDF was http://blog.wired.com/27BStroke6/att_klein_wired.pdf.

Several civil rights groups and news organizations are working to release all documents in this case to the public.

We are filing a motion to intervene in the case in order to request that the court unseal the evidence, joining other news and civil rights organizations that have already done so, including the EFF, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the Associated Press and Bloomberg.

Before publishing these documents we showed them to independent security experts, who agreed they pose no danger to AT&T. For example, they do not reveal sensitive information that hackers might use to attack the company’s systems.

Looks like a lot more than just our phone calls are being spied upon folks.

Via:
Wired News, Why We Published the AT&T Docs

Wired News, Stumbling Into a Spy Scandal

Wired News, Whistle-Blower’s Evidence, Uncut

PhillyIMC video of Norg UnConference

Albert aka DragonBall Yee hipped me to a neat unconference in Philly that just happened. (Ed Cone is blogging about it too) From what I’ve learned in the past thirty minutes it’s called NORGS. This is the wikipedia definition. (Subject to rapid change):

Norgs are news organizations that may produce a printed newspaper, a website, podcasts, blogs or any combination of these and other news products. Norgs have certain qualities, including wide distribution of news, ethical standards, resiliency, interactivity, giving voice to the audience, aiding media literacy, and a positive cash flow. Will Bunch, a writer and blogger with the Philadelphia Daily News, coined the word in October 2005 [1]. A discussion group met in an unconference on March 25, 2006, at the University of Pennsylvania to outline guidelines for an initial Norg architecture. Usage is common on websites discussing the future of news, particularly local news. See phillyfuture [2], buzzmachine [3], and blinq [4] .

Check out Albert’s photos and watch the PhillyIMC video. I’m podcasting – vlogging – that video, btw. My favorite part of the video is Amy Webb‘s comments. Go 3min 46sec into the video to view. Basically she expresses concern about the “great digital divide” between newspaper editors and their young readers. Hearing the words blog and podcast from editors makes her cringe. It’s evidence that they still don’t get it. Because people, who editors are trying to reach, knew those words (blog and podcast) years ago.

She is also concerned about people claiming we need paper news because everybody can’t afford computers. Ten years, or less from now, she says everyone will. Paper based news is a romantic ideal that will be gone. If it isn’t completely gone in 10-20 years it will be supplanted by other deliver methods. These words are prophetic!

To make it super clear the video linked to bellow and encluded in my podcast was created by the PhillyIMC. Thank you PhillyIMC for making it and allowing the public to “rebroadcast” it. I podcast it from my server space to save them the bandwidth costs. 🙂

MOV 7m 41s 11.46MB 44.1kHz 320×240

Email Congress to Stop the ATandT Merger

Stop the ATandT merger! Goto the Freepress Take Action: Stop the AT&T Merger page and email your Congress people, FTC, and FCC to express your concern. This type of electronic letter writing campaign can achieve results. Go for it! Let yourself be heard!

From the Freepress site:

ATandT and BellSouth plan to merge into a single colossus. This deal must be stopped.

The merger resurrects the Ma Bell monopoly that was busted up in 1984. But it’s far worse today. These companies no longer just control telephone calls. They want to become gatekeepers to all digital media — television, telephone and Internet — at prices that many Americans can’t afford.

The merger is now in the hands of the FCC, FTC and Congress. They’ll rubber-stamp the deal unless the public speaks up. Stop the merger now.

AT&T plans to buy Bell South

AT&T eats Bell South like Pac Man! In a deal reported to cost $67 Billion in stock AT&T is calling its child back home. That’s right Ma Bell lives again!

Wasn’t there a good reason to split up Ma Bell in the first place? Times certainly have changed but duopolies (AT&T and Verizon) are just as bad as monopolies. The deregulation of the telecommunications industry has been a disaster for consumers and the free flow of information. It has lead to the consolidation of corporate competitors who once provided a mediocre amount of choice, service, and pricing. Now our choices could be fewer and worse. (Choice is one of the consumers greatest powers.)

This new corporate giant could make it much harder for our Congressional representatives to resist the privatization of the Internet. A bigger company has more resources to create armies of lobbyist with pockets full of cash.

The effect upon localities could be big too. Having a large multinational corporation breathing down your neck when you try to negotiate any kind of deal for your citizens is going to be hard. Not to mention the notoriously bad customer support AT&T provides. Not just bad for individuals but bad support for towns themselves. (I snagged the graphic from MediaGeeks site. Thanks man!)

This news raises the urgency level even higher. Local communities need to create their own municipal networks. (Voice and Data) Citizens need their cities and towns to provide them equal access to municipal networks now more than ever!

To get much better analysis and links to lots of good info about this merger read MediaGeek‘s blog posts It’s Confirmed — AT&T Planning To Gobble Up BellSouth, Public Interest Be Damned and Recreating a Monopoly.

Video shows Bush Warned Before Katrina

The folks over at MoveOn let me know today via email about a new AP story called Video Shows Bush Was Warned Before Katrina. It discusses video footage – I’ve yet to see myself (John Stewart?) – that tha Srub and his unqualified lackeys Chertof and Brown were well aware of the potential destruction of hurricane Katrina BEFORE it hit. Even though they’ve claimed they didn’t and have worked hard to distance themselves from the ultimate responsibility of over 1,500 deaths. Outrageous! At the very least Bush and others are responsible for NOT cutting through all the government red tape and send more resources sooner to help!

Read the whole story by clicking more. (I include here under fair use.) Continue reading Video shows Bush Warned Before Katrina

Richard Stallman’s Political Notes

I subscribe to Richard Stallman’s RSS feed. Not for techie info – though I’d dig that – but for the great political links he has. The political notes section of his visually spartan website contains regular synopsis/opinion (aka metadata) of stories with links. [It’s like a very basic blog.] As a political lefty I really appreciate this “service” Mr. Stallman provides. It points me towards issues and events that I might never have found. One of the many reasons the internet, RSS, and metadata is so important. Most especially as it relates to the future of global equality.

Angry BellSouth and Anti-Public Good Chapel Hill Business

The Washington Post is reporting that Bell South withdrew the donation of a building to the City of New Orleans – that was to be used for local police – when the city announced plans for a free WiFi network. Why do you think Bell South did this?

Let me preface my comments with a technical explanation. A municipal network can provide wired and wireless access to the Internet and Intranets. WiFi networks are usually created to provide wireless access to EVERYTHING you can get to via the Internet. The term free WiFi describes the cost of the service at the time of use. Not the actual cost of the WiFi to all citizens or the Town. Dispersing or delaying the cost of access to the Internet can really help people like the working poor.

Here in Chapel Hill, NC fear of angering local businesses and large corporations is preventing a municipal network from being created by the Town. See how Bell South treats suffering New Orleans? Remember what Verizon did to Philadelphia? Imagine what big bad business will do to Chapel Hill if we dare give something to those in need!

Based on their actions and inactions many local citizens are against a free town WiFi network. I think they believe it’s wrong for the government to provide free services. They CLAIM free WiFi will unfairly compete with and disrupt businesses. This fear is incredibly short cited. The potential for other money making possibilities if the Internet is available to all is HUGE. The evidence is all over the place! Just look at how much money some business could make building the WiFi network and providing the network access. Somebody has to pay for this. Someone will profit from it.

So if there is money to be made in the private sector by the creation of a free town WiFi network then why is business against it? Network providers and ISPs understand that the real money isn’t in building networks but leveraging the data that is collected en mass about users network usage habits. All you have to do is look at Google’s billions and you can quickly understand that user data is big money. By retaining complete control over access to the Internet you can understand how it’s used. Over time this information becomes more and more detailed. A local government who controlled access to the Internet might have issues with a business watching how they use it.

The Internet has provided a more level playing field for making money. Individuals and small businesses can compete effectively with large business and government. This has put large business, like Bell South, on the defensive to protect what they already have and profit from generously. In the near future pipes to the Internet will be guarded much more diligently. They will become expensive toll roads to the public’s information super highway. Read the article Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes by Doc Searls to get the details and context.

In my estimation the biggest reason for business opposition to a free town WiFi network boils down to GREED. By working against it businesses and business people are preventing a valuable public service from being utilized by those who need it most. In Chapel Hill this is mainly poor black people – children, senior citizens, teens, and adults.

I don’t need free internet access. I can afford it, own the hardware to use it, and have the skills to take advantage of it. So can all the anti-public/pro-business people. Why not open your caring hearts and give other people this amazing privilege?

In the US we finally obtained public water, sewer, roads, street lighting, slumlord regulations, public transportation, public TV, etc. etc. etc. Do you think we got all these great public services by just asking nicely for them? NO! People in need had to suffer and die before the robber barons of the 19th Century would relinquish one tiny bit. (See the book People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn for the details.)

Citizens aren’t just asking for a hand out. We work for public services everyday. Public services aren’t free. They are only loaned to us at the time we use them. We pay back the local government for them later in taxes of all kinds. Yet another issue business has. They don’t want local government to get more of their money.

How will we win FREE public internet access for all? We reframe the debate and publicly shame businesses. The issue right now isn’t a technical one or really one of cost. The core issue right now is greedy business unwilling to allow the public free access to the Internet. You can look at it how ever you wish but greed is preventing “liberal” Chapel Hill from doing the right thing and building a free town WiFi network.

Don’t Bomb Us – A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers

I’ve read on a few blogs that some staff members of Al-Jazeera, an Arab satellite TV station, have created a blog called Don’t Bomb Us – A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers. It appears to be in response to the story in the British Daily Mirror newspaper that Bush and Blair discussed plans to bomb the buildings of Al-Jazeera. (The fact is the US military did bomb Al-Jazeera buildings several times killing at least one Al-Jazeera staff member. Each time the US military claimed it was an accident despite direct hits on these buildings.)

From DemocracyNow:

The attack in Iraq killed Al Jazeera’s correspondent Tariq Ayub. Ayub’s widow, Dina, said she is now considering suing the U.S. government for her husband’s death. She said “America always claimed it was an accident. But I believe the new revelations prove that claim was false or at least not trustworthy.”

At first I was a bit skeptical that this blog was really by Al-Jazeera staff. Then I read about it on Global Voices Online, a blog I trust, and I saw the AlJazeera staff want answers flickr photo set. Propaganda? All depends on who you trust I guess. People in the US who still trust Bush will think so.

From the AlJazeera staff want answers flickr photo set:

Al Jazeera staff organised a symbolic gathering outside their offices Thursday, 24 November 2005.

We demand that the truth about Daily Mirror report to be revealed and that the Britsh and American governments tell us the truth about Bush wanting to bomb Al Jazeera.

These are a few examples why individual citizens using blogs and social software like Flickr are better than the main stream media. WE can develop personal trusted networks that can help to verify a story quickly AND democratically.

YES there are real human lives being taken by the US military! YES there are real people who live in fear of this violence! When we hear from people in danger US world domination becomes much less abstract. It’s not just some “terrorist TV station” or “evil other person” anymore. (Not that many of us ever belived these Bush government lies…) Blogs like Don’t Bomb Us can show the real potential of increased humanization that the Internet provides.

NYT magazine on Bolivia and Evo Morales

Blog from Boliva recomends a article from the New York Times magazine called Che’s Second Coming? By David Rieff. It’s a pretty fair look at Evo Morales and the leftist revolution occuring in Bolivia. At least from what I know on this subject – which probably isn’t sufficiant. That’s why I’m reading more.

I have to agree with the commenters on Blog from Boliva that the focus on Che seems mostly hype. From the comments:

“Che was a white man trying to rally the indigenous around his favored issues. Evo is indigenous and trying to rally everyone simultaneously around his issues and those that affect everyone. If a purely classist stance is taken (Che,) the age-old ethnic divide will keep the indigenous from true liberation.”

Read the artilce, blog, and all of the comments to some context.

Google giving $265 Million for Charity and Social Causes

The New York Times is reporting that Google is donating a share of it’s public stock offering to charity and social causes.

“It said it had donated $90 million to a new charitable foundation it started and would give another $175 million to nonprofit groups and what it considers socially useful businesses over the next two to three years.” By SAUL HANSELL

This could be a REALLY big deal to a lot of non-profits, foundations, and other charities. If you write grants for a non-profit or you’re an Executive Director of one KEEP AN EYE ON GOOGLE.

[via: Jon Stahl’s Journal] NYT

Update: Google Starts Up Philanthropy Campaign | Washington Post