Stop Corporate Cyberextortion

How do we organize ourselves to prevent corporate cyberextortion? It’s only a matter of time before they threaten individual users. Even more importantly how do we get the average non-blog reading Internet user to know and care about this issue?

The Issue
Basically big corporations who provide Internet access to companies such as Google and Yahoo want to charge them extra for “preferred services”. This could speed up, slow down, or block an individual users access to search services Google and Yahoo provide. Imagine not being able to find what you want via a Google search. In essence Bell South and Verizon want to put a traffic cop at the Internet spigot and control what SPECIFIC data goes through, how much, how often, and at what quality. This is not the free flow of information that the Internet was built upon.

Read what other people have to say about attempts at corporate cyberextortion by big telcos like Bell South.

From Preston Gralla:

“BellSouth and Verizon have been trying to force big Web sites to pay extortion-type fees if the sites want adequate bandwidth, with Google a prime target. But Google has news for them: It won’t pay.”

“Google’s Barry Schnitt told Paul in an email: “Google is not discussing sharing of the costs of broadband networks with any carrier. We believe consumers are already paying to support broadband access to the Internet through subscription fees and, as a result, consumers should have the freedom to use this connection without limitations.”

From Cory Doctorow:

“Google has rebuffed to an outrageous demand by BellSouth, in which the phone company proposed to charge Google for access to its customers. Bill Smith of Bell South told reporters that he wanted “to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.” Google has responded with an unequivocal no — a flat refusal to pay blood-money to carriers to keep them from discriminating against its services. Honestly, what the hell is BellSouth thinking? The whole point of an ISP is that it delivers the same packets as every other ISP; anything else is substandard. There’s only one Google, but T1s come and go.”

From Doc Searls: (Thanks for all the links Doc!)

“BellSouth wasn’t thinking. They were doing what big carriers usually do, which is look for ways to make big money with tiered service to big customers. Dumb, perhaps, in this case; but predictable.”

[ Doc wins the best blog post title of the year (so far) IMHO: Google to BellSouth: Go Tier Yourself a New One ]

For LOTs of context read Doc’s Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes.

Washington Post:
Executive Wants to Charge for Web Speed and The Coming Tug of War Over the Internet

I wrote a post called Angry BellSouth and Anti-Public Good Chapel Hill Business, about similar issues with the data access war here in Chapel Hill,NC.

Thanks to Ed Cone for reminding me about this serious subject.

The End of Privacy: for Real This Time!

The sad reality is that the US Government has been spying on it’s citizens for decades. (ex. Operation Shamrock where the US Gov. gathered telegraphs) But finally George W. Bush has admited to it. [?!?] Learn more about this subject by reading the following, the NY Times article that broke the story, CNN comments on it, Security Focus links to all kinds of stuff. Sadly the media really isn’t serving us very well with this story. The NY Times says they knew about the story for more than a YEAR but chose not to release it citing national security.

Organizations are now doing somthing about this. The ACLU is suing the NSA! [Wow!] There is something you can do about it. Sign the Move On Pettition to Restore the Rule of Law. Here is the letter that will be sent to your elected representative and the Justice Department. Public pressure works. Especially during a election year.


TO: Your Senators
CC: (Attorney General Alberto Gonzales)
FROM: (Your Name and Email)
SUBJECT: Thoroughly Investigate the Wiretapping Program

Dear (Senator/Attorney General),

(Your personal note)

President Bush admitted to personally authorizing thousands of potentially illegal wiretaps, and he doesn’t plan to stop. This abuse of power threatens the very core of our Constitution.

We demand a thorough and independent investigation of the Bush administration’s allegedly illegal wiretapping activities, including: (1) appointment of an independent counsel to respond to any criminal activity that may have taken place, (2) a thorough, meaningful and open Congressional investigation, (3) protection for all whistleblowers who come forward with evidence of wrongdoing in this program.

(Your name)
(Your address)

Onion Radio News Still Making Me Laugh

Arensb over at posted a link in an old thread that The Onion Radio News finally has a podcast feed. Yeah! It’s a iTunes store link. 🙁 Where is the straight RSS 2.0? What about other podcatching software? Always got to monetize everything huh? Ok. Whatever… I have a iTunes link too. Lots of new podacst listeners are going to the iTunes cause it’s trusted and easy. Why does it take a big corproation to inspire trust in people? Ok, end of rant. More about the laughing.

I just listened to Scientists Say Venom Taken From Politicians Could Provide Medical Benefits and laughed out LOUD!

Note to self: Never eat or drink while listening to The Onion Radio News. Unless you want it spit all over your monitor. 😀 (I’m serious this shit is funny. Depressed cause that Shrub is a sadistic criminal? Get your releaf from the sound of Doyle Redland.)

The Stories of Experienced Radicals

Anton Zuiker is gearing up to work on his next project called NC Storyblogging aka Narratives of Your Life. It’s based on his interests in blogging, genealogy, storytelling and oral history. This is such a good idea!

It could be a wonderful way to transmit knowledge from generation to generation to generation. This project seems especially important, to me, because the technical illiteracy of some seniors can separate them and their knowledge from younger people who are on the Internet. Shouldn’t all knowledge, emotion, and experiences of adults be passed on to future generations? If we don’t document this information and put it on the Internet it may completely disappear in the future. Books of information will hopefully always be around. But because searching the Internet is so easy and discovering metadata from it is so great having your knowledge on the net is a necessity, IMHO.

A lot of my interest are in radical left politics and the activism that comes from struggle. Sadly many of these struggles are not new to human kind. It seems we’re always taking three steps forward and two steps back. We have traditional methods of passing on information about radical activism knowledge. Great books, teach-ins, consensus groups, fairs, bookstores, etc. But wouldn’t it be great to hear about how-to conduct a sit-in straight from men and women who’ve done it? Wouldn’t it be incredible to listen to instructions on organizing a strike? What about watching experienced radicals discuss movement building? There are so many more possibilities. I wish we had recordings of Bob Sheldon who founded the Internationalist Bookstore in 1981. (maybe we do… ?)

I suppose my recordings of Stan Goff reading his writing about Marxist economic theory counts. But the NC Storyblogging project may be looking for any content gathered. I’m sure rambling story telling is just as welcomed.

But because all knowledge is important I’m interested in documenting many things. Not just politically left concepts from experienced radicals. So I’m sure I’ll be helping Anton record all kinds of stuff. And to be perfectly clear Anton is interested in many story topics. So don’t assume my interest are a limitation of his wonderful project. Respect.

Sex and War: a new book by Stan Goff

Stan’s new book Sex and War is now available for pre-order on Amazon. See reviews on his blog. Here is the books description:

The notion that war is intrinsic to man’s nature is dealt a powerful setback in Stan Goff’s Sex and War. Goff, a former Special Forces sergeant, argues persuasively that rather than being born that way, men are made into killers by governments, corporations, and systems of power. Drawing both on his experiences in the military and on his reading of feminist writers such as Patricia Williams, bell hooks, and Chandra Mohanty — and as the father of a son stationed in Iraq — Goff journeys through wars, ideologies, and cultures, revealing the transformation of men into killers. His story encompasses not just the battlefield and the book, but the Swift Boat Veterans controversy, the eros of George W. Bush, pornography, the Taliban, and gays and lesbians in the military. Goff’s remarkable ability to connect his own personal experiences to contemporary feminist criticism makes for a provocative discussion of war and masculinity.

Thanks to Ruby for reminding me to blog this… 😀

Alito Must GO!

Judge Samuel Alito must NOT be nominated to the Supreme Court of the USA! He must not be given the chance to destroy a woman’s right to choose. I am all for any legal means of blocking his nomination. I hope the Democrats in congress use the filibuster. Show some damn spine ya’ll! You’ve been CYA for too long. Fight those Republicans! Can I be any more blunt?

You can get summaries of the Alito hearings at the Planed Parenthood Now What?! Blog. I believe you can also get some video streams of the hearings at They even have a CSPAN Podcast page.

Are there any citizen journalist covering this? Would be great to download the entire event via RSS!

Read and Write Access is Control

One of the great things about the web is that it’s read/write. Just about everyone can read it and write it. This can foster GREAT global equality IF everyone has access to and knows how to read and write the web.

I’ve read a lot on the web and email lists recently about false information being written on Wikipedia. Such as Adam Curry changing the Podcasting entry on Wikipedia to suit his version of events and John Seigenthaler Sr. being connected to the assignation of John F. Kennedy. This is really just a demonstration of new power. Now that people have the knowledge and the tools they have at it.

Dave Winer wrote:

In June I wrote People With Erasers about Wikipedia. Now after reading about the Seigenthaler affair, and revelations about Adam Curry’s rewriting of the podcasting history — the bigger problem is that Wikipedia is so often considered authoritative. That must stop now, surely. Every fact in there must be considered partisan, written by someone with a confict of interest. Further, we need to determine what authority means in the age of Internet scholarship. And we need to take a step back and ask if we really want the participants in history to write and rewrite the history. Isn’t there a place in this century for historians, non-participants who observe and report on the events?

The fact is we are all participants. No one who is reading the web is a non-participant. We have access to so much media we become part of it. If we compeltly ignor the media – like the web – then we are not part of it. If we are not part of it then we can not observe and report on it.

The tension I described above about the editing of wikipedia is just a growing pain. Pain from loosing control over others. Those who had control may not even realized they had it. The experts, trusted sources, gatekeepers, professors, teachers, editors, encyclopedias, dictionaries, media, leaders, and the parents are no longer in complete control. The masses have discovered that racket. Now we all can read and write. Let’s their be no one in charge!

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.

“Being a strong opposition instead of a weak government has its advantages”

Jim Shultz over at the Blog from Bloivia has written an interesting primer/analysis of Bolivian politics. Not the whole history but a glimpse of what’s going on right now. Especially as it relates to Evo Morales and the MAS parties run for President this year.

The most amazing part he reveals is that “Winning the Popular Vote is Not Winning the Presidency” in Bolivia. I’m just beginning to understand how other countries political systems work. It demonstrates just how unfairly the US system blocks diverse groups from realistically participating in government. The US brand of democracy is so flawed. It completely depends on its flag waving PR to exist. If only the majority of US citizens knew how unfair their system was AND really cared about it… IMAGINE!

It seems no matter where you live, “Being a strong opposition instead of a weak government has its advantages”.