The news over the past week was fairly disturbing.1 It could also be said that the concept of "net neutrality" is rather effectively dead in the United States of America. Those who might have championed it have also killed it with calls for censorship due to a recent outcry over banning "hate sites".2 The big questions over statuary and other monuments that came out of the recent conflict in the Virginia community of Charlottesville are what fuel this right now.3 Conservative writer Erick Erickson expects violence may increase based upon the current state of events.4
One website, The Daily Stormer, has been chased away from most of the public Internet which is otherwise known as "de-platforming". A variety of news sources have covered this remarkable chase. This has happened in the background of continuing protests and counter-protests with a flare-up in the Massachusetts community of Boston.5 Most recently the domain name registrar NameCheap revoked the registration of that site after GoDaddy and Google had both done so.6 There was even an attempt to request a so-called enhancement of Tor to block the site after it had retreated to being a hidden service there but the request was blocked as it would have been against the basic purpose and reason for Tor to exist.7 The Southern Poverty Law Center's intelligence project apparently has been taking action for multiple years to try to get some of these withdrawals of service to take place.8
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has spoken about the situation from an expressive rights perspective and noted that a slippery slope was present.9 The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that it was a small step to designate groups like Black Lives Matter as a hate group that needed to be eliminated from the Internet too.10 Similar concerns were raised by the CEO of Cloudflare, Matthew Prince, who withdrew his company's services from The Daily Stormer where he even noted that a member of his company's staff asked if that act was the start of the Internet dying.11
In light of all this recent news, I remain concerned. The Canadian commentator Rex Murphy has written, perhaps quite rightly, that these are quite crazy times in the United States of America.12 My work building off work at the Chaos Communications Conference on reviewing the Outernet satellite platform continues.13 The original plan was to present that work at OggCamp 17 but due to family circumstances as well as the unpredictable nature of my day job that did not happen.
Our very centralized Internet is very rooted in the United States of America. Twitter, RedHat, Netflix, FaceBook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and more are all companies headquartered in the United States of America. Parts of the Linux world are not headquartered here but major pieces are here let alone a major portion of core Internet infrastructure. This presents a signficant point of failure not in terms of these resources simply vanishing but in terms of the output becoming filtered quite hard. There need not be any governmental action to make it happen. If anything the howling mobs are causing statues to be pulled down across the United States of America. The Lincoln Memorial in the capital has been defaced over the past week.14 A bust of Abraham Lincoln in Chicago was set on fire.15 Multiple people are facing charges for toppling a Confederate statue in North Carolina.16
First the mob demands "net neutrality". Now it throws it away calling for "good censorship". What is next? Cultural hegemony through consolidation of Internet providers in the United States of America does lead to problems when the culture starts to go to war with itself.
Mirror early, mirror often, mirror locally.
N.B. Not everything is available directly online in a free-as-beer fashion. Some items cited were found via Lexis-Nexis which is why footnotes are used in lieu of simple links.^
Steven Overly and Ashley Gold, "Tech Firms' Fight against Hate Could Haunt Them," POLITICO, accessed August 20, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/19/tech-firms-fight-hate-backlash-241807.^
Jon Schuppe, "As Confederate Statues Fall, so Might Markers to Other Controversial Figures," NBC News, August 18, 2017, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/toppling-confederate-statues-fuels-opposition-other-markers-n793966.^
Erick Erickson, "Here Is Why the Violence Is Going to Escalate, And Escalate Quickly," The Resurgent, August 15, 2017, http://theresurgent.com/here-is-why-the-violence-is-going-to-escalate-and-escalate-quickly/.^
Adi Robertson, "Namecheap Has Taken down Neo-Nazi Site Daily Stormer," The Verge, August 20, 2017, https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/20/16170370/namecheap-host-take-down-neo-nazi-hate-site-daily-stormer.^
"23270 (Allow Tor Relays to Be Configured to Block Selected Hidden Services, Including Racist Hate Sites)," Tor Bug Tracker & Wiki, August 18, 2017, https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/23270.^
Barbara Ortutay, "After Charlottesville, Tech Firms Banish Extremists," Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA), August 18, 2017, B; Pg. 5.^
Rachel Sandler, "Warning Issued Following Silencing of Stormer; Digital Rights Group Sees Dangerous Step for Free Speech," Dayton Daily News (Ohio), August 19, 2017, Z5.^
Levi Sumagaysay, "Google, Other Tech Companies Warned over 'Dangerous' Banning of Neo-Nazis, Hate Groups," The Mercury News (California), August 18, 2017.^
Matthew Prince, "Why We Terminated Daily Stormer," Cloudflare Blog, August 16, 2017, http://blog.cloudflare.com/why-we-terminated-daily-stormer/.^
Rex Murphy, "American Madness; Politics In The U.S. Has Become Unhinged, And Not Just Because Of Donald Trump," National Post (Canada), August 19, 2017, ISSUES & IDEAS; Pg. A19.^
Reverse Engineering Outernet (Hamburg, Germany, 2016), https://media.ccc.de/v/33c3-8399-reverse_engineering_outernet.^
Miranda Green, "DC's Lincoln Memorial Vandalized with Spray-Painted Expletive," CNN, August 15, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/15/politics/lincoln-memorial-vandalized/index.html.^
Fran Spielman and Mitch Dudek, "Alderman Says Lincoln Bust in West Englewood Burned," Chicago Sun-Times, August 17, 2017, http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/674297/.^
Jonathan M. Katz, '4 Surrender in Toppling of Confederate Statue in North Carolina,' The New York Times, August 17, 2017, sec. U.S., https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/us/durham-duke-robert-e-lee-statue.html.^
Well, scratch the last plan I had.1 I will not be able to go to OggCamp 17 as I had planned. Due to a member of my immediate family having been put on the docket for open heart surgery, family wants me to stay on-continent and within six counties of Northeast Ohio if at all possible.2 I do not have a date yet for when that family member will be going into surgery but recovery will be tough.
Yes, I was looking forward to the trip to be able to meet up with everybody in-person. Other relations have indicated to me that, if there is an event next year, they may help me plan for travel. Continuing uncertainty about the status of my job due to proposed cutbacks by the departmental offices in their budget submission to the Congress has not helped things either. I am certainly not happy about this but I will have to soldier on.
Efforts to unravel some of the mysteries behind Outernet continue. Eventually I will be able to put together some sort of paper. My preference was to have presented something at the gathering in Canterbury. I will be having to review plans instead. Learning more about LaTeX may prove useful, I suppose.
The trip was going to be nicely timed before the Fall 2017 semester started at Lakeland Community College. I missed one class during the Spring 2017 semester during to workload constraints at my day job.3 If I had taken that class I could have graduated. If I can talk the program director into getting the capstone offered off-cycle in the fall I may be able to graduate from the program by December 2017.
Somehow the work as an evangelist at West Avenue Church of Christ is continuing.4 It is hard preaching to residents at a nursing home. Shut-in populations still deserve to have the opportunity to hear the Word if they so choose, though.
If you want to talk about anything contained here, I don't have comments on this blog. Use something like Telegram to contact me at https://t.me/smkellat or via Mastodon/GNUSocial/StatusNet/Fediverse at https://quitter.se/alpacaherder/. I've been off IRC for too long so I cannot be found on freenode at the moment. Others have more special, rather direct ways of reaching me.
Have a beautiful day!
It is reasonable to ask exactly which plan at this time as there are so many, though... ↩
Northern Ireland has 5,460 square miles. Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga, Trumbull, and Portage counties come to a mere 2,935 square miles. One is just slightly over half the size of the other. ↩
It is rare to be in a workplace where you actually have "All Hands On Deck" called and that is an actual operating condition but I digress. ↩
Eventually the congregation may get a website. That is triaged low. Getting audio issues sorted out in the sanctuary is a higher priority problem right now. ↩