Author Topic: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org  (Read 7312 times)

ZaichikArky

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #60 on: July 30, 2009, 05:56:02 pm »
I'm biased, of course, but I consider groups like Operation Rescue to have a terrorist fringe. When Dr. Tiller was murdered--a clear act of domestic terrorism, committed by an Operation Rescue member, no less--the organization's president Randall Terry came out and said he was more concerned about President Obama than the actual murder and everything it signified.

I'm deathly concerned about the right wing in America today. They're getting so far to the right, so ultra-conservative, that it's gone beyond losing touch with mainstream America. They're now openly talking about things like assassinating the president and seceding from the Union. It's mostly in jest at this point, but there's an ugly and unmistakable undercurrent of sincerity to it. We don't realize it yet on a national level, but the right is losing its grip with reality and is moving into the realm where it's becoming a lot easier to justify any action to advance their agenda. If you pay attention to the news, there're a lot of disturbing signals coming from these people. At this point the actual violence is still a fringe, but there have nevertheless been several terroristic murders in the United States this year--Dr. Tiller being one; the Holocaust museum shooter comes to mind; there was also that woman who killed her Hitler-loving husband--all of them committed by ultraconservative religious fanatics.

None of this has much to do with 4chan, but I would use it to point out that there is more terrorism and terrorism-in-the-making going on in America today than you acknowledge (or perhaps are aware of)...and much of it has not yet reached the stage of actual violence, and hopefully never will, but still qualifies uncontroversially as terrorism.

Edit: That was directed at Zaichi. Thought...don't you have anything better to do than to post just ahead of me? You've been up to it all morning...!!

I know nothing about that organization. it doesn't seem like the media covers these ultra rightist groups so well. If they were responsible for Doctor Tiller's death, it certainly is an act of terrorism. It's very unfortunate and concerning just how motivated they have become to committing acts of violence in the name of their screwed ideology. However, groups like this are just fringe groups and haven't really done much, despite the talk. I don't think they will become any more prominent and I can't really say that I consider them to be a threat, maybe "terrorist organization" isn't quite appropriate for me... Hard to say.

Thought

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #61 on: July 30, 2009, 06:03:33 pm »
They're now openly talking about things like assassinating the president and seceding from the Union.

I heard the same after the 2004 election. Though to be fair, the far right does house individuals whose ancestors actually DID secede.

Edit: That was directed at Zaichi. Thought...don't you have anything better to do than to post just ahead of me?

Actually, yes, I just can't seem to make myself do much of it today.

Truthordeal

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #62 on: July 30, 2009, 06:15:10 pm »
Let me put it like this Thought: If I started threatening to kill President Obama on the Compendium forums, and actually started actively recruiting and planning  how to do it on the Compendium, shouldn't I be banned and reported to the authorities by the Admins?

There might not be anything as large as assassinating the President going on over at 4chan, but the acts and threats themselves are even more overt. Except that there is no moderation on 4chan, and these people can get away with it until its too late to stop them.

Ask McKay Hatch. I doubt anyone from 4chan has been prosecuted in her case yet.

Lord J: Quit injecting politics into everything. She asked for domestic terrorism, not why you think conservative Americans are bat-sh*t crazy. You yourself said it had nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Lord J Esq

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #63 on: July 30, 2009, 06:20:56 pm »
Lord J: Quit injecting politics into everything. She asked for domestic terrorism, not why you think conservative Americans are bat-sh*t crazy. You yourself said it had nothing to do with the topic at hand.

It very much has to do with the topic at hand; it's a reference for my position. It just doesn't relate directly to 4chan's case, since their brand of terror is not of the right-wing political variety.

Thought

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #64 on: July 30, 2009, 06:36:45 pm »
Let me put it like this Thought: If I started threatening to kill President Obama on the Compendium forums, and actually started actively recruiting and planning  how to do it on the Compendium, shouldn't I be banned and reported to the authorities by the Admins?

You should, yes, by the site, not by AT&T. And it would be quite wrong for Zeality or Ramsus to be punished for your actions.

I must insist on right means as well as right ends. Restricting 4chan might be proper ends, but I find AT&T to have engaged in improper means.

FaustWolf

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #65 on: July 30, 2009, 11:33:42 pm »
After following everything in this thread, I'd still have to land on the side of saying AT&T acted incorrectly here. Grabbing IP addresses out of m00t, however, might be justified. All AT&T has to do is get an unpaid intern to surf Anonymous and /b/ for the offending attackers and discussions -- I imagine it's not too difficult to root out the offending usernames over the course of an afternoon or two. Provided the unpaid intern isn't some pissed off /b/ member him-or-herself...

Lord J still raises an interesting point in that the costs to society of restricting Internet access might not outweigh the benefits once you're looking at a certain level of depravity. Denial-of-Service attacks are one thing, but what happens when we're looking at terrorists who are discussing inflicting bodily harm on others? I'd place child pornographers somewhere around that level too, and it's been said they frequent /b/, if not outright headhunters, cannibals and suicide bombers. Could there ever be a hypothetical instance so depraved in which it may be "right" to violate Net Neutrality for the pure sake of disrupting these activities?

For that matter, what if interest groups started organizing their own private DDoS attacks against 4chan? Since Iranian protesters were able to organize brief DDoS attacks against Ahmadinejad's website, I imagine the day of vigilante DDoS warfare isn't far off, or may already be in full swing but hidden to me by my ignorance on the matter. Should the government or ISPs step in, or let such wars play out to their natural conclusion, the survival of the fittest group with the greatest number of zombies?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2009, 11:36:04 pm by FaustWolf »

Exodus

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #66 on: July 31, 2009, 05:43:18 am »
To J:

Why is it you are in support of a system that has become remarkably authoritarian? In particular why do you view current systems as being pinnacles of human ingenuity when they have a proven track record of being corrupt and ineffective? Furthermore, why do you label those who are against said systems as terrorists? A great number would prefer to see peaceful resolutions as opposed to resorting to violence.

Currently we slave away under a system that rewards those at the top only; as time goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach that economic pinnacle, lest you be born into it. Those that work the hardest, those that do the dirty work, get paid far, far less than those who in reality act as little more than a figurehead.

The system, as far as I am concerned, truly does not work; I would love to be convinced otherwise, but all that I have observed has left my outlook for our species quite bleak indeed.

MsBlack

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #67 on: July 31, 2009, 11:58:23 am »
However, 4chan is a special case and I cannot in good conscience oppose the hypothetical silencing of that website by AT&T or anyone else…I see the threat as being that serious.

The 4chan situation is one that demands intervention, but that intervention should only come from the government, and should only apply to the websites’ end and the criminals’ end, as opposed to the users’ end.

It shouldn’t come from private entities because they cannot be given rein to become enforcers of the law in any fashion or to any extent, and are not fit to judge the limits of the rights of ‘publishers’ and readers. Blocking is here an act of limitation of either publishing or reading rights, which is why it’s untenable that private entities—particularly those like AT&T—become authorities in deciding how and why to block.

(Indeed, the incident this thread’s about is a great example. AT&T, an internet-providing telecommunications corporation, displayed fundamental misunderstandings of justice and/or the internet—and the internet’s half of what is their bloody literal business. These people just aren’t fit to be jury or judge or executioner, and hitching a ride with them to deal with 4chan is folly as hitching a ride with the Bush administration to deal with Iraq was.)

It should come from the government because the government can be much better held responsible, should represent public interests etc. While realistically government would sometimes fail here, it seems better to have government trying than nobody trying while places like 4chan going untouched.

It should only apply to the websites’ end and criminals’ end because the rights to hear and read are non-negotiable. Blocking readers is limiting people’s right to peruse the internet and to seek out information, which is untenable. (I would also add that it’s not illegal to seek out information that people want to share with one; it’s only the sharing that can be illegal.) It makes much more sense to go after the website owners, hosts and so on, because they’re the ones distributing the illegal information, and the criminals adding the illegal content (in this case, the terrorist posters and whatnot) because they’re the ones sharing the information in the first place and actually committing the crime. Further, blocking readers off doesn’t address the source of the problem; it is a crude, less effective way to attack the problem, and is more likely to have side-effects.

Also: Sent!
« Last Edit: July 31, 2009, 12:02:25 pm by MsBlack »

Radical_Dreamer

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #68 on: July 31, 2009, 03:57:29 pm »
I disagree with you here. We're talking about a very large community, and communities are fluid places where a few movers and shakers can and will shape the mindset--or at least the reference frame--of the community as a whole. At /b/ the "scum and villainy" have become a prevailing voice. That's very serious, because it means that even if the proportion of instigators and perpetrators remains modest, their dominance influences the community as a whole. Then, the community as a whole, by virtue of its size, is sending out signals across the influence which influence people's perceptions of allowable net behavior.* If this doesn't qualify as a "big" problem, then I don't know what would. I can't name a single site on the English-speaking web that is more of a threat than 4chan. Other sites, like Fox News, are a danger because of their demagoguery and misinformation...very traditional instruments of provocation and wrongdoing. 4chan has optimized the potential of the Internet to produce one of the scariest bits of spellcraft we've seen in a while: the mob summon.


*: I mean, just look at this topic here: It ought to alarm you that I, of all people, am in stark disagreement with my traditional ideological allies and find myself in the company of the far right wing (who are against 4chan for the usual morality reasons). I'm against /b/ because I'm afraid of it; they're the sort of outfit that becomes extremely dangerous as their power and influence grows. They're bad enough today, but I see them becoming even worse unless they are checked. We may think it liberal and progressive and virtuous and just to give everyone and their dog a voice in our society, and almost always I would agree, but /b/ is the kind of dis-ease that, in forms historical, has destroyed societies. Giving them a pass in the name of liberty is self-destructive decadence of the worst kind.

Your response to /b/ troubles me greatly. It borders on the irrational, although I will grant that I clearly consider them less of a threat than you do. As far as I know, the only operation they did that really got outsiders involved was their battle against Scientology, which was done legally, and against a target that is also a negative force in the world.

The law isn't clear here. That's a big part of the problem. Much of what happens on the Internet is poorly regulated or completely unregulated, and even what laws are present are often poorly enforced. Given the sorry state of our Democrats in Congress, that isn't likely to change anytime soon. Until that time, there is this legal vacuum in which entities like /b/ will flourish and make serious trouble. To me, RD, the worst kind of terrorism is not the iconic stuff, like blowing up buildings, because such acts are comparatively rare. The worst kind of terrorism is the stuff that goes unnoticed by everyone but the victims, or would-be victims, because it is much more common and because it is much less likely to be resisted.

Here I find myself in the odd position of advocating government involvement to you. I hope you get some small enjoyment from this irony. If there is behavior that is so destructive that it ought to be made illegal, well, it ought to be made illegal. That is the governments job. Creating a culture of corporate vigilantism is not a good thing. Imagine if every sufficiently large business operated like the RIAA. Petition your legislators to both create effective laws regarding internet behavior if you think it is necessary, and also to prevent the corporate vigilantism that would not serve as an effective stop gap, and would not go away on its own either.

And for that matter, why are new laws even necessary? Planning acts of terrorism is, as far as I know, already illegal. Just start enforcing the laws.

I'm with you--I really am--in bristling at the prospect of an ISP deciding what sites I can or cannot visit. However, 4chan is a special case and I cannot in good conscience oppose the hypothetical silencing of that website by AT&T or anyone else (although, if I am not mistaken, the original story turned out to be misreported, which would make this discussion academic). I see the threat as being that serious. The /b/ that we know today needs to cease to exist. Somebody argued upthread that if it were shut down or if access were removed, people would just go to some other site. That isn't true. Migration does happen, to an extent, but it is the potency of /b/ more so than the premise of it which is particularly dangerous. It wouldn't be a simple matter of setting up another website somewhere, because community migrations are never that perfect; they are always lossy. Thus, there would be no slippery slope fallacy (or woe to those who would try making it!) by which the censoring of other, generic websites would be justified based upon what I would like to see done to /b/.

What good are principals if you don't apply them in the extreme cases?

And for that matter, it's entirely possible that not only would Anonymous view the corporate destruction of /b/ as an act of war, but that you would make martyrs of them. In that case the migration wouldn't be lossy, and the new entity would be both larger and more enraged. Do you really want them to target infrastructure?

Lord J Esq

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #69 on: July 31, 2009, 09:41:54 pm »
To J:

Why is it you are in support of a system that has become remarkably authoritarian? In particular why do you view current systems as being pinnacles of human ingenuity when they have a proven track record of being corrupt and ineffective?

I don't know what it is you think I'm supporting. Clarify that, and I'll see what I can tell you.

Furthermore, why do you label those who are against said systems as terrorists?

Again, you're not being very clear. I'm not labeling any specific person a terrorist; I've called /b/ a breeding ground for terrorists. That much...well, I won't say it's uncontroversial, since a number of you would seem to disagree with me...but at least it is uncontroversial under my conception of terrorism, which I hashed out in rough form upthread.

A great number would prefer to see peaceful resolutions as opposed to resorting to violence.

I'm wondering if you actually read my posts, because your comments are still not clear yet. What are you getting at with this?

The system, as far as I am concerned, truly does not work; I would love to be convinced otherwise, but all that I have observed has left my outlook for our species quite bleak indeed.

So you're a cynic. Fair enough. Good luck with that...


The 4chan situation is one that demands intervention, but that intervention should only come from the government, and should only apply to the websites’ end and the criminals’ end, as opposed to the users’ end.

You and I aren't really in disagreement here; the only difference is that I am being practical and you are not. Until the law catches up to the reality, there is absolutely no other recourse, save total inaction, than for private entities (individuals and businesses) to act on their own initiative. I'm with you: I want the government to step in and set up the rule of law. The problem right now is that there's no law. We're living in the Internet's Wild West days. For things to change, events must proceed until they have gotten to the point where the government is lobbied to, or feels obliged on its own volition, to intervene. Indeed, the hypothetical action of an ISP blocking a website could provide such a catalyst.

Speaking frankly, the democratic process is very messy and works best when things first fail.

Also, these comments would apply to most of Radical_Dreamer's reply to me. As for the rest:


Your response to /b/ troubles me greatly. It borders on the irrational, although I will grant that I clearly consider them less of a threat than you do.

From my point of view, of course, the opposite presents itself: The significance of an entity like /b/ is very clear to me yet seems lost on the rest of you, and while I wouldn't accuse anyone of approaching the irrational, I do consider the problem that much more serious because it is that much less recognized.

What troubles me here is not merely the specific, explicit harm and injury done--which is a matter for the authorities--but the danger of the breakdown of law and order. The continued stability of a society is a precarious prospect, which we tend not to realize because our culture and our politicoeconomic institutions have been very effective so far at promoting stability. Given, however, the ignorance of our general population and the corruption and incompetencies of the proverbial "the system" in which we live, I am always wary of the growth of social reform movements which possess both the power and the disposition to dominate or dislocate the rule of law. These come in two varieties: authoritarian, and anti-authoritarian. The former would include such factions in our contemporary society as the neoconservative movement and the colorfully-named "corporatocracy" (more properly an American plutocracy), and are hit-or-miss in terms of their willingness to completely upend our way of life. The latter consists of the usual rebellious types--anarchists, extreme cynics, revolutionaries, and so forth--and always spells trouble for the current order. There is nothing inherently bad about reform movements, even the most radical (our country was founded on such!), but like genetic mutation they tend much more often to be ruinous, and I am extremely wary of them, always. I may eventually support them, but I will never let them pass by neutrally. Understanding these kinds of movements is one of the keys to understand the operation of our entire civilization, and it is negligence for someone like me not to take notice.

Here is what I notice: I see /b/ as a manifestation of a new kind of power that we are only beginning to fathom. I also see /b/ as put to the service of evil. Not George Bush's evil, but my own personal definition: ignorance or willful ignorance. I see /b/ as having the chaotic prowess of a mob and the organizational vigor of the mob. I very much doubt that they pose a direct threat in the present day, but I fear what they could become, and, more significantly, I fear what they could inspire. Mimicry is one of our species' hallmarks, and those who pioneer the Internet have inordinate power in shaping the perceptions of those who will follow. That human principle has demonstrably superseded even the extraordinary resiliency of the Internet to bounce from meme to meme and tradition to tradition.

If that's all just so much bombast to you, then here it is in simpler terms: I think /b/ is a powerful force for change, and I don't like the change that it represents, so I would be willing to provisionally suspend my usual opposition to corporate excess in the event those corporations were to cut off access--until such time as a sufficiently robust legal structure can be built around the threat.

And for that matter, why are new laws even necessary? Planning acts of terrorism is, as far as I know, already illegal. Just start enforcing the laws.

You're talking about cyberterrorism? Or Internet-based organization for terrorism more generally? Well...either way: As far as I'm concerned, enforcement is only half the problem. The law itself is simply not effective. It's arcane, ambiguous, incomplete, contradictory. Just look at the DMCA, one of Congress' largest-scale early attempts to legislate the goings-on of the Internet. Colossal failure! Now recognize that there are entire realms of goings-on for which no laws have even been written. There are competing jurisdictions, obscure flow charts of authority...it's a civil mess. What we really need is something we're not likely to get any time soon: a cabinet-level Department of Information with a clear mandate to deal not just with situations like /b/ but with the myriads of unaddressed problems on the Internet today, while at the same time preserving the free nature of the Internet and most of the opportunities afforded to us here.

What good are principals if you don't apply them in the extreme cases?

Excellent question. Irrelevant, though: My principles are still in full effect. What /b/ presents to me is a conflict between two competing priorities. Philosophically, my options are limited to either ranking these priorities, or reorganizing my principles so that there is no longer a conflict. In this case, as a matter of judgment, I choose to rank them, in the manner I have described already. The judgment, here, is that I assign greater value to social stability than to the free speech of people who use that speech for evil. I have a grudging tolerance for hate groups, anarchists, cynics, antidisestablishmentarians, conservatives, revolutionaries, and PETA, but only because their power to actually do what they want to do is very limited. Whenever they stand within reach of real power, I'll be there to stand in their way. That's something that sets me apart from many of my contemporaries, who view freedom as an absolute that outranks everything, and democracy as the supreme political ideal. I share neither view, RD. I rank freedom below justice, and as for democracy...I'm not even a lowercase-D democrat! I only play the game because that's the system we have. I'm an imperialist, and if I ran the world things would be very different.

All of which is to say I consider AT&T and /b/ merely to be pieces on a very sophisticated chessboard, and I am not concerned with their specifics so much as I am with the strategy of victory, where victory is defined as my version of an ideal society. The only time the welfare of pieces matters to me is in the instance of material needs and human rights, neither of which applies here: AT&T is not a human, and the members of /b/ stand nothing to lose under my will except the unfettered status of their organization, which is neither a need nor a right. (It is a liberty, but not a right.)

And for that matter, it's entirely possible that not only would Anonymous view the corporate destruction of /b/ as an act of war, but that you would make martyrs of them. In that case the migration wouldn't be lossy, and the new entity would be both larger and more enraged. Do you really want them to target infrastructure?

Contrary to what you might be expecting, I grant you this without argument. There is the possibility that opposing them would trigger an intensification of their activities, on potentially an even greater and more virulent level. The threat of war's danger, however--as opposed to its ravages--is only a meaningful argument against war when one stands to lose, and if I know anything about conflicts between the establishment and the resistance, it's that the latter can only ever win when the former is incompetent. So in closing I point you to the immortal words of William Gladstone: "The resources of civilization are not yet exhausted." We all know what came of the British Empire in the end, but civilization itself is still with us (as is the British legacy, for that matter), and I for one intend to defeat the visions of both the dystopianists and the doomsayers. I am therefore obliged to check, or to advocate for the checking, of the powers of people who wield their power in ignorance.

ZaichikArky

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #70 on: July 31, 2009, 10:00:18 pm »
To J:

Why is it you are in support of a system that has become remarkably authoritarian? In particular why do you view current systems as being pinnacles of human ingenuity when they have a proven track record of being corrupt and ineffective? Furthermore, why do you label those who are against said systems as terrorists? A great number would prefer to see peaceful resolutions as opposed to resorting to violence.

Currently we slave away under a system that rewards those at the top only; as time goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach that economic pinnacle, lest you be born into it. Those that work the hardest, those that do the dirty work, get paid far, far less than those who in reality act as little more than a figurehead.

The system, as far as I am concerned, truly does not work; I would love to be convinced otherwise, but all that I have observed has left my outlook for our species quite bleak indeed.

This has nothing to do with the topic at hand. If you want to go into one of your spiels again, i suggest making a new topic about how corrupt society is.

I really liked Faust's idea of hiring interns to take care of DDoS attack-related problems that ISPs encounter. Interns are made to do such grunt work :p. I know from personal experience! I am still not convinced that /b/ is a threat to anything really. The nature of DDoS attacks do make unnecessary burdens for ISPs, but there are many ways to counteract the damage. I also do not agree that it is the ISP's job to filter any kind of internet material. This is the job of the government. The government has basically declared a few things are illegal which includes child porn and possibly DDoS attacks(however this is subjective and usually undertaken by ISPs and not the government).  I'm actually against any kind of filtering of internet material. I guess I will make one exception to child porn because children are harmed in the process.

Truthordeal

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Re: AT&T blocks img.4chan.org
« Reply #71 on: July 31, 2009, 10:32:55 pm »
After giving this some more thought, I decided that it was probably wrong of AT&T to filter it. Previously I had been undecided, but I think by the way AT&T stepped back on the issue that even they thought that they were wrong. The best course of action by them, I guess, would be to monitor DDoS attacks and report the IP Addresses to the proper authorities, as FW mentioned.

Still, I do think that it is AT&T's right to make such decisions, good or bad though they may be. It is their bandwidth, after all.