Defending our Homeland, the Internet: 2014 - War on Comcast

Computer Problems

Phase One: Before the May 15th Meeting - In Defense of Neutrality
"Let the data flow like a river, with no bit hindered for reasons of which cloud it came from."

It's that time again when something annoying is happening on the internet!

This time the issue is Net Neutrality - "the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication." Here's an article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation explaining why *now* is a good time to get much more worked up about the issue than usual (article from April 24th, 2014): FCC's New Rules Could Threaten Net Neutrality (USA stuff)

As far as what Net Neutrality is and why we should care (and which side we're on - I'm for it, BTW):
Internet Citizens: Defend Net Neutrality is a three-minute animation/video from CGP Grey explaining what Net Neutrality is and why it's good.
Here's a technical explanation from Netflix and one from Level 3 (a Tier 1 Internet provider) with a bit about how the internet works and why Net Neutrality is good (or rather, the lack thereof is bad). Here's a nice diagram.

For further reading, Level 3 has a follow up post Observations of an Internet Middleman, and Netflix had an earlier post on the issue Internet Tolls And The Case For Strong Net Neutrality. Time has a few articles under the tag Net Neutrality, including Net Neutrality: FCC Boss Smacked by Tech Giants, Internal Dissent, which links to the letter "More than 100 Internet companies sent to the Federal Communications Commission." There's also this article (January 2014) Podcast: Net Neutrality, the Internet and the First Amendment with associated podcast. Arstechnica has a 4-apge article (2008) How the ‘Net works: an introduction to peering and transit.

For an analogy: Dude Arnold has a cell phone, and he pays LavaFore for X minutes every month. Dude Bill has a cell phone, and he pays Womcast for Y minutes every month. Normally, if Arnold wants to call Bill, he pays his provider, LavaFore, to connect/talk to anyone, in this case Bill, and Bill pays his provider Womcast to connect/talk to anyone, in this case Arnold. That's it. When they're done, they hang up.

The bad part: Arnold now, in addition to paying LavaFore to send a call, and Bill paying his provider, Womcast, to receive a call, Bill's provider Womcast decides to *also* charge Arnold to send Bill the call which Bill has already paid to receive. Womcast is charging two people for one service. Additionally, without neutrality, phone companies could do other shady things. For instance, Womcast might decide to charge Arnold for the "premium" service of not hearing crackles and hisses, to block his calls to Bill entirely whether they pay an extra fee or not, might let the call mostly go through but block "silly noises" like laughing, and other such nonsense.

We don't allow that sort of thing with phone lines, we shouldn't allow it with internet data, either.

So, what can be done? To quote some guy:
First, call your Senators and Representatives and tell them you want the FCC to classify broadband Access as a "Title II telecommunications service." these are the magic words that -- under the Communications Act -- let the FCC tell companies "this is like a telephone call, between the people involved, not something you get involved in -- you are hired to move the information, not mess with it."

Remember "I support Title II." Otherwise, the carriers can mess with the traffic and we're only debating the details of how much they can mess with it.
And to rephrase/be more specific/quote some other guy:
If the FCC is truly supportive of Net Neutrality, I urge them to reclassify all Internet Service Providers as Title II Common Carriers as laid out in the Telecommunications Act of 1934. From my understanding, this will force all Internet Service Providers to act as data carriers and restrict them from altering the flow of information in any manner.
(Also, we want to make sure "all ISPs" include both wireless/mobile providers and at-home/landline connections.)

How to contact congress: or Senators of the 113th Congress and Directory of Representatives. Look up who your Representative is at Who Represents Me?

Besides getting in touch with congress, what else can be done?

You can write a letter to the editor in your local newspaper. Good for letting people who aren't on the internet 100% of the time know about what's going on, and I hear congressmen tend to read those.

You can contact the FCC. Here's an article to read first, Everything You Need To Know Before E-mailing The FCC About Net Neutrality. If you want to file with the FCC, it says "Note: You are filing a document into an official FCC proceeding. All information submitted including names and address will be publicly available via the web." You can go to "14-28 Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet" and click "Submit a Filing in 14-28" or click here. It has been suggested that "while you're at it let them know about the Comcast/Time Warner merger under "Proceeding #14-57."" (The Netflix blog post mentioned earlier references the proposed merger.)

There's a couple of White House petitions: Reclassify Internet broadband providers as common carriers. and Maintain true net neutrality to protect the freedom of information in the United States. I don't think too much of that site (a lot of petitions don't even get answered), but figured I should include these anyway.

If you have a webserver in the US (XD) you can ask your hosting company to support Net Neutrality. Or you could petition other internet businesses to support Net Neutrality, explaining why it should matter to them/their bottom line, and why it's good in general.

You can Test Your ISP to see if they are up to any funny business.

If you really feel like it you can protest: Protesters set up camp at net neutrality rally outside FCC headquarters.

There's the meshnet, the poor man's internet! There's this article about uses for it: When the internet dies, meet the meshnet that survives [NewScientist]. Basically, you connect to other people on the mesh without using ISPs (or cell phone towers) at all. It's kinda like an extended LAN you connect to with random people in your area who are also running meshnet software. I think it's pretty much all wireless connections. It's good for having a backup in place in case of natural disasters or the like, or where you can't get good/any internet, or if you just want to putz around with networking stuff.

This is what the FCC wrote in response to some letters they've gotten: Setting the Record Straight on the FCC's Open Internet Rules by: Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman and Finding the Best Path Forward to Protect the Open Internet - My response: The FCC does *not* currently have Title II authority. The FCC can't actually use Title II unless the ISPs get classified under Title II, so until/unless that happens, Wheeler's claims that he'll use it "if necessary" are rather moot. So, boys and girls, keep hammering at it!

For an example of what can happen when an ISP is *not* net neutral, Comcast was messing with people's use of BitTorrent (article from 2008): FCC Rules Against Comcast for BitTorrent Blocking
This follow-up explains how the courts have decided the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) does not have the authority to prevent such nonsense (2010): Court Rejects FCC Authority Over the Internet
Here's one from AT&T where they decided to charge for a separate data plan for people to use Apple's app called FaceTime (2012): AT&T faces Net neutrality complaint for FaceTime over 3G

Okee dokee, guess that's all I've got to say about that! Oh, one last thing, the FCC's proposed rules are scheduled to be presented May 15th. So... bug 'em now before they come out with them, then if we need to we can bug 'em again depending on what specific sort of nonsense they come up with.

Okee dokee, a bit more info:

I found a pic that expresses the problem. And I found a better video (11 minutes): Net Neutrality in the US: Now What? It's a bit less hyper "go team" than the other one and more informational. It's also got some links in the description. It's a great starter video, methinks.

Here is info from the FCC about "open internet" stuff:

Other things one can do:

You can check to see if there's any legally enforced monopolies in your area and if so you can file a complaint about them.

If you have AT&T, do *not* sign up for UVerse. This explains. In short a UVerse "phone line" is not regulated like a phone line but an "information service", and related nasty stuff.

You can let people know about the Ferengi plan ("We are rate limiting the FCC to dialup modem speeds until they pay us for bandwidth"), in case they want to implement that or similar on their own sites - you don't even have to be in the US for that one. ;)

For those with too much time on their hands, there's a three hour video and a 100-page filing by Comcast/Time Warner regarding the proposed Time-Warner Cable / Comcast merger. If you want to comment on that, it's proceeding # 14-57 "Applications of Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable Inc. for Consent to Assign or Transfer Control of Licenses and Applications".

Phase Two: After the May 15th Meeting - The Net Neutrality Hysteria
"This comment alone should disqualify you from any discussions about net neutrality. Thanks and remember your silence will make the internet a better place."

Alrighty! Time for some more Net Neutrality stuff!

There's this article "The Net Neutrality Hysteria."

Ok! In response to that:
The fuss over so-called net neutrality is quite odd and has turned into the kind of mass hysteria I've not witnessed in the tech world, ever.
People care! :D

It stems from a belief that without some sort of law or government edict, the evil ISPs—mainly Comcast—will go out of their way to screw customers by practicing all sorts of devilment. That includes network favoritism for its own products (such as NBC programming) and traffic priority for anyone else who will cough up enough extra cash to get preferred treatment on its backbone network.
Sounds about right.

The analogies about this possibility stem from the Al Gore days of the so-called "Information Superhighway." We'll have speed bumps and fast lanes and toll roads and who know what else. And why would Comcast do this in the first place? Well, it's an evil corporation. Because it can.
Exactly! (See What is Net Neutrality In 60 seconds, the spoof ad The First Honest Cable Company, and the South Park episode Informative Murder Porn.)

Here's a couple articles: Massive survey finds Comcast and TWC are the two most hated companies in America – period and Gov. Cuomo orders review of Comcast, Time Warner merger. Also, Comcast is employing 40 lobbying firms to try to get the merger approved: Comcast goes for shock and awe.

So ... why hasn't it done this already?
They haven't? (See The worst net neutrality violations in history)

Nobody can really answer that, except to say some unenforceable FCC principles, suggested years ago, are being used to stem any corrupt practices.
By "nobody can" he means Verizon did answer in court. See Verizon's Outrageous Plot to Crack Up the Internet. By "unenforceable," he would be referring to the January court ruling. This article, Why the FCC Can't Actually Save Net Neutrality explains. Also, for why the only thing which the FCC can do that will work is to reclassify as Title II: Net Neutrality’s Legal Binary: an Either/Or With No “Third Way” For those just tuning in, Why the FCC Can't (or Won't) Just Enforce Net Neutrality gives a good overview for those new to the subject.

What happened exactly to trigger the recent madness was Netflix paying to get a better peering arrangement with Comcast to speed its movies along to the demanding consumer. It seems that Netflix would rather use the private high-speed backbones owned by Comcast and Verizon rather than use the public Internet that flows through the exchange points such as Mae-East or Mae-West.
If it was such a good deal, then why was Netflix complaining about it? See Internet Tolls And The Case For Strong Net Neutrality and The Case Against ISP Tolls. But, for a post critical of Netflix, see: Netflix & Level 3 Only Telling Half The Story, Won’t Detail What Changes They Want To Net Neutrality

Netflix and apparently the public think that this special routing, which chews up bandwidth like crazy, especially with a company like Netflix, should be freely given just because it is there.
What he fails to ask is, would the network have been upgraded if Netflix didn't pay Comcast? If the interconnection wasn't sufficient to provide the agreed upon speeds, then why wasn't it upgraded? Who's to blame? If Netflix is paying for adequate bandwidth from its bandwidth providers, and Comcast's customers are paying for adequate bandwidth from Comcast, then this special routing should not be necessary in the first place.

The basic idea is that this bit hog, Netflix, should rake in the dough and Comcast (and others) have to suck it up and turn over their private networks on demand. Why? Because this is what the "open" Internet is all about. Equal access for all comers. All packets are equal. And because we think that the ISPs are going to for sure violate these principles if given a chance, the government has to get involved and regulate the Internet to protect the public.
Er, no. People want more competition amongst ISPs so that they can vote with their wallet. While the Comcast/Netflix situation brought up a lot of debate (See It’s not a “fast lane” but Comcast built a CDN to charge for video delivery and Comcast is the one who should pay for network connections, Cogent claims), we're not asking the government to get involved with who Comcast or any ISP peers with or who pays who.

What we *are* saying is, "Don't sell me services that you can't deliver."

After years of fear that the government will take control of the Internet, now everyone is begging them to do it.
Not exactly. I think there's some misunderstanding as to what people are asking for. We want to prevent the ISPs and/or governments from censoring the internet. We want to prevent ISPs and/or governments from altering or controlling our communications. We want, when we buy internet service, to get what we paid for. We want "CONSUMER PROTECTION." You know, like them looking into things like this: (2010) US gov proves ISPs lie about bandwidth.

When I buy "internet" I want "internet", just like when I buy beef I want beef and not horse. If something is labeled "ice cream" it must follow a set of specific technical guidelines. No matter how much competition there is, some things should be enforced across the board.

The two liberal commissioners on the FCC pretty much said that problems are coming and rules need to be put in place. This pre-crime thinking will result in regulation that will encroach on everything.
Which two? Do I have to go look that up? Is he talking about the rules we want or the ones we don't want?

For background information on the subject: Here's the Communications Act of 1934. The site explains the act a bit. ISPs are currently regulated under Title I of that act, as an information service. Title II would reclassify them as a telecommunications service. Here's an FCC Filing by Tejas Narechania and Tim Wu, which details the history of ISP regulation. Here's a letter to the FCC from, signed by a bunch of ISP CEOs. Here's an article on the ISPs' position, AT&T claims common carrier rules would ruin the whole Internet. Here's a letter (2010) by Steve Wozniak to the FCC: Keep the Internet Free.

A glossary of terms is here: Net neutrality jargon explained, which leads to the follow-up post Title II is the key to net neutrality—so what is it?

Here's an article, FCC votes to move forward with controversial net neutrality plan and Only you can save the Internet: Here’s how to fight the FCC’s controversial net neutrality plan and The FCC Thinks We're All Idiots, which points out some specific problems with the proposed rules.

Here's the documents from the May 15th FCC meeting. The FCC's proposed rules are under NPRM. The NPRM are also here, titled Filing by Wireline Competition Bureau in 14-28 on 2014-05-15 - NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING. Here's the May 15th, 2014 C-Span video of the meeting, Open Internet Rules. For a two minute clip from that meeting, see Net neutrality protesters foricbly removed from FCC vote for speaking out to save the Internet.

This article was from before the May 15th meeting: Prepare to Take Action to Defend Net Neutrality. Here's How the FCC Makes Its Rules.

After that, there's this post, What Do You Want Your Representatives to Ask Chairman Wheeler About Net Neutrality? in regards to the Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission meeting that came soon after. Here is a direct link to the video of that hearing.

[continued in next post...]

One of the three principles listed in the hearing proposals adopted by the FCC are the words "legal content." This jumped out at me when I saw it. Who is going to decide what is legal and what is not? These things are always resolved by administrative courts. Someone just decides.
Yup. That jumped out to me, too. We do not want the FCC or ISPs to act as law enforcement. It is not in the Federal Communications Commission's nor the internet service providers' jurisdiction to determine whether the information a customer is sending or requesting is legal, just as it is not the phone company's jurisdiction to listen in when I make a phone call to determine whether I'm wishing someone a happy birthday or trying to scam someone. That's a police matter, and they would need a warrant. Nor do we want the FCC to control content on the internet, treating it like a television station or censoring things. We had the internet blackout of January 18, 2012 in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Here's my favorite YouTube playlist, "Why the Internet Matters" as a response to that (links to download the videos are in the description).

I can guarantee the public would have never heard of Edward Snowden if FCC rules were in place.
Edward who? ??? Just kidding. This guy here: interview part one and interview part two. Hey, it's a UK newspaper! XD

The stolen files would be deemed illegal. Senators would ask why this material is even on the Internet, protected by net neutrality rules or not. The files would be censored for national security reasons. Same with Wikileaks; it would be deemed illegal and not allowed.
That would be bad. But, um there's other countries where one can host stuff. And people use VPNs and proxies and things.

For info regarding the US government's surveillance program, see Introducing the ACLU's NSA Documents Database. Also, regarding exposé type material, I'd say cryptome is worth a mention.

That's how this all ends.You'll get your Netflix and get your binge watching. But you won't get anything that criticizes the government. This is not being paranoid, it is being logical after witnessing the reaction to the Snowden revelations. There were no apologies to the American public over what is essentially warrantless wire-tapping and monitoring of the citizens. None. In fact officials proudly carried on. The only problem, as far as they were concerned, was Snowden and leaks themselves. How can that be prevented in the future?

Regulate the net, that's how.
Oh, like that's the only reason the government wants to control the internet. *Rolls eyes*

USA - It's come up a number of times that the government wants an "internet kill switch", but I'm not sure where we are on that. Schneier on Security (2010) Internet Kill Switch details why a kill switch would be a bad idea. (2010) Obama internet 'kill switch' proposed by Senator Joe Lieberman. (2011) Internet 'kill switch' bill gets a makeover. (2013) Homeland Security must disclose ‘Internet Kill Switch,’ court rules.

Egypt (2011) - The Egyptian government shut down the internet to stop protests. See How Egypt shut down the internet and Mubarak Shut Down The Internet, And The Internet Paid Him In Kind But shutting it down didn't work and President Hosni Mubarak was ousted anyway. See Egyptian president steps down amidst groundbreaking digital revolution.

Turkey (2014) - The Turkish government went after sites disseminating embarrassing information. See As Turkey bans Twitter, Tor usage skyrockets, Google Refuses Turkey's Requests to Yank YouTube Videos, Turkey lifts Twitter ban after court ruling, Turkey Blocks Google DNS, YouTube Could Be Next, and Turkey moves to block YouTube access after 'audio leak'. Also, the self post Leaked recording of Turkish officials discussing military operations inside Syria which links to the audio: part one and part two.

This also explains why Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft, among others, are all in on this idea. They lost business because of the Snowden leaks. This is no good. What can be done to prevent it? Government regulation, licensing, censoring, and protecting the public.
Does he mean this letter? Oh no, 4Chan signed onto it, too! =O So did reddit, they even made a blog post, Only YOU Can Protect Net Neutrality on which they posted the letter. IT'S A CONSPIRACY! And it's one we're all being asked to join in on! Quite publicly, too. *Shock*

Wait, what?

Where does this video (6min 22sec) Net Neutrality [RAP NEWS 25] by thejuicemedia fit into all of this?

The idea that all packets are equal will go by the wayside once the FCC takes over. It's a red herring anyway. All packets have never been equal, nor should they be. Voice and video packets have to be prioritized over text packets for obvious quality-of-service reasons. Does anyone believe that a remote-control surgical operation controlled over the net when someone's life is at stake should have the same priority as a cat video? Who thinks that way?
Not that it seems wise to trust a matter of life and death to maintaining a stable internet connection anyway, but... In Defense of All that is Good: We are underselling Net Neutrality.

So... is he saying that "Net Neutrality" and "Title II" aren't specific enough? That we need to write out the explicit technical guidelines ourselves because the government can't be trusted to figure out what we're asking for, or know how to implement it? That kinda sounds pretty much like how the internet works.

Is anybody up for that?

Let's start with spelling out what "internet" is: "The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link several billion devices worldwide."

Stanford has a paper (2012) Network Neutrality and Quality of Service: What a Non-Discrimination Rule Should Look Like. Would anyone care to give that a read?

Would it be bad if the medical company employing this technology paid extra for near-real-time connectivity? Or should we all cry foul?
I don't cry foul when I'm paying for 768Kb/sec and my neighbor pays for 1.5Mb/sec and his connection is faster than mine. Is he talking about dedicated bandwidth like T1 lines? See Slashdot discussion (2007) Why Are T1 Lines Still Expensive? Or does he mean things like (2011) New Transatlantic Cable Built to Shave 5 Milliseconds off Stock Trades?

The net neutrality, open Internet, all-packets-equal debate can rage all it wants. I personally do not care how it is resolved.
Well, I do care. Cat blogs are critical infrastructure.

I do not see the ISPs as evil creeps.
Does he see them more like Guy In A Guy Fawkes Mask would?

Why do business with them if they are?
Lack of alternatives and the internet being an essential service like water, electricity, roads, postal service, and phone lines. See NPR podcast Episode 529: The Last Mile. Also see Why Starting A Competitor To Comcast Is Basically Impossible discussing costs of laying cable, companies getting bigger by buying each other, franchise agreements, the proposed Comcast / Time Warner Cable merger, and municipal braodband.

But yes, let's look at some alternatives. For example, Discussion on trying to start Municipal Fiber in your town, particularly this comment. Also, "If you're in Massachusetts, they have a huge section of statewide franchise agreements right on their site." Here's a list. A different comment suggests that towns make "a teeny tiny change to their building codes" requiring installing empty conduits for internet wires like "developers already have to do power, water, gas and every other utility."

The government, on the other hand, has a much bigger hand in my pocket than Comcast. Based on the Snowden revelations, it is not to be trusted. They have done nothing to earn trust with never-ending tactics to scare the public with terrorism scenarios as an excuse to abuse power.
And Comcast has a hand in the government's pocket: These are the members of the House of Representatives who have received donations from, or own stock in, Comcast.

Does he mean use scare tactics to push things like the Transportation Security Administration, do not fly lists, "enhanced" pat downs, and backscatter scanners? See The case for abolishing the TSA. It seems like The FCC is about to turn the internet into airport security. Or -mandatory- kill switches on cell phones? Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill Resurrected In Calif. Will that end up like when BART San Francisco cut cell services to avert protest? Or here's one, Cops can now search your car without a warrant in Pa. And how about this? Congress reaffirms indefinite detention of Americans under NDAA.

On the other end, how about this post, encouraging people to run for office: Dear United States of America, RE: Net Neutrality, I don't think you have what it takes to be a free and democratic society anymore. Anyone interested in running for office might want to take a look at some of the legislation: will be redirecting to , so if you want to link people to any bills, use the site!

Now we want to give the FCC more jurisdiction than it already has. One nipple appears on a Super Bowl halftime show and they go ballistic. You do not want these people anywhere near the Internet.
Fair warning, Family Guy's "The Freaking FCC" song is a bit risqué. >_> It starts, "Oh, I know all about the FCC..."

No, we don't want the FCC to have jurisdiction over content on the internet. At all. We don't want ISPs to have that jurisdiction, either. See: (2011) Major ISPs agree to "six strikes" copyright enforcement plan and (2012) "Six strikes" Internet warning system will come to US this year, and (2013) The Copyright Propaganda Machine Gets a New Agent: Your ISP.

The public can find a lot of ways to punish a corporation that abuses its privileges. This situation should not be escalated to the point that the FCC has anything to do with it.
Uh, the FCC has had something to do with it this whole time. They auction off spectrum to determine who can use the airwaves, because there's only so many frequencies. They impose rules on phone service providers and television stations. Unless the FCC's ability to regulate broadband is removed entirely, they are involved in it. The question is, are they working for the common good, or for the select few?

But sure, what are some other options? We could get some ideas from this article, The Netherlands Passes Net Neutrality Legislation, which points out a bit about how the Dutch decided to do things. There's also How Google found the best route for the Netflix era which argues in favor of competition.

You'll see.
Indeed we will.

As an aside: Dungeons and Dragons - Net Neutrality explained in non-technical terms.
To help explain Net Neutrality in non-technical terms, I think that describing it in relation to the alignment system used by Dungeons and Dragons would be helpful.

After careful analysis of the situation, I have come to the conclusion that, in terms of Dungeons and Dragons and related fantasy games, that Net Neutrality would be classed as "True Neutral." For a video analyzing True Neutral in the Dungeons and Dragons sense, please refer to the video D&D Alignments: True Neutral (14min 29sec).

It was of course clear to me that Net Neutrality is neither good nor evil, but neutral. Net Neutrality protects the writings of the damned as much as those of the devine. It does not impede one for the sake of the other. A neutral internet run by evil will foster evil, and a neutral internet run by good will foster good. Where good and evil share the same network, it does not give an advantage to either side. If they are given no choice but an internet which is Net Neutral, then the forces of good, darkness, and those who are neither (or neutral) must create their advantages and win their battles via other means.

The question then lied in whether Net Neutrality was chaotic neutral, neutral neutral (aka true neutral), or lawful neutral. It was easy to eliminate chaotic neutral, as net neutrality is conerned with following certain rules, and certainly doesn't reject rules on the basis that they are rules or fight to seek its own way outside of all of them. The rule of equality is valued by Net Neutrality, as are rules which foster it. But the extent to which it follows laws or rules I had yet to determine.

In dissecting that article, and in other readings, I came across situations where strict enforcement of equality for the sake of equality in the name of neutrality might be considered detrimental. In these cases, Net Neutrality would bend to accommodate the situation that makes the most sense rather than following a particular path - a "lawful" path or dedication to a particular creed - regardless of the outcome. Net Neutrality finds laws and rules to be useful and to have their place, but it does not sacrifice itself in blind obedience to them. Hence my conclusion that, in my personal opinion, Net Neutrality is not lawful neutral, but true neutral.

For discussions on each D&D alignment, see:
D&D Alignments: Chaotic Evil
D&D Alignments: Neutral Evil
D&D Alignments: Lawful Evil
D&D Alignments: Chaotic Neutral
D&D Alignments: True Neutral
D&D Alignments: Lawful Neutral
Dungeons & Dragons Alignments: Chaotic Good
D&D Alignments: Neutral Good
Dungeons & Dragons Alignments: Lawful Good

As an aside: A Brief Interlude - A Few Minutes of Entertainment.

PSY - GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일) M/V | by officialpsy | uploaded to YouTube on July 15, 2012 | 1,996,487,674 views as of May 26, 2014 | Wikipedia article

Phase Three: June - Unleashing the Trolls
"Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating." - Simone Weil


An Ode, a Song, to a Neutral, Open Internet

Let's start it out blunt: You are fucking cunts

To those of you who think the internet is something to toy with
You've never seen the internet's obsession with cat pics
Every month we pay to connect to the world wide web
To do things which leave Captain Money Bags shaking his head

If you've got the itch, join up on Pokémon, play it on Twitch
What's been created, if you look should give your eyebrow a lift
We're thousands of people all controlling one character
When we're not playing Trogdor and burninating the villagers

On the topic of Net Neutrality
John Oliver is a hero to me
Listen to his words
The nerds know he's right
So turn on caps lock and join the fight

Do you want to be the US of Evil
Or will you for once hear the people?
The geeks and the nerds built the internet
Why haven't you listened yet?

Mr. Bags, Mr. wants to control the conversation
Do you realize that it's not just one nation
Who speaks for the sake of our globabl connection
With which we don't want the cable companies messin'

I'll tell you, Canada has had it's problems, too
Telus blocked access to a site the Telecommunications Workers Union used
When they were planning strikes in 2005
So this makes me wonder when I can't get the FCC on the line

In 2007 Comcast was targeting and blocking protocol-specific traffic
From peer-to-peer file sharing applications such as BitTorrent
It's 2014 and it's quite curious to me
Why we don't have rules in place to prevent cable company fuckery

On the topic of Net Neutrality
John Oliver is a hero to me
Listen to his words
The nerds know he's right
So turn on caps lock and join the fight

Do you want to be the US of Evil
Or will you for once hear the people?
The geeks and the nerds built the internet
Why haven't you listened yet?

I want to ask congress what they have to say
So let's hear from Senator Al Franken today
In May 2014 he stood on the line
And said "Net Neutrality is the free speech issue of our time"

Two thumbs up, that's good to know
What about our other congressmen, though?
Are they willing to attest that they are for or against
FCC regulations needed to protect
A usable, functioning, not broken internet?

What of Congressman Bob Latta, what does he have to say?
“At a time when the Internet economy is thriving and driving
Robust productivity and economic growth, it is reckless to suggest,
Let alone adopt, policies that threaten its success."
But what he really means is, "Fuck the internet"

So congressmen, I'm asking you
Have any of you read Title II
Of the Communications Act of 1934?
I'd like you to prove it before putting bills on the floor

Have you read over each section?
Personally I'd like a dissection
Of every single page with comments and a for or against
Which parts the FCC should consider for forbearance

Give me a link, give me a line
I'd like to know whether you read the bills this time
You see, I'm finding it quite hard to swallow
When you pass or trash laws you don't read which we all have to follow

On the topic of Net Neutrality
John Oliver is a hero to me
Listen to his words
The nerds know he's right
So turn on caps lock and join the fight

Do you want to be the US of Evil
Or will you for once hear the people?
The geeks and the nerds built the internet
Why haven't you listened yet?

We're a creative bunch, us internet users
We'll come up with something to fight the losers
So along with our incohenernet rants and vents
We'll lobby for technical excellence and common sense

The bastards who feed off a population's ignorance might gain
When we're kept in the dark, but if it's all the same
To you, we benefit when people know what traffic shaping means
So barring a few things like how my own server's protected
When it comes to knowledge, I like to spread it

Have you heard words more boring than "Net Neutrality"?
It might leave you amazed at just how fiercely
The population is fighting to protect it
And yet it is what made the internet so "cool" and "epic"

On the topic of Net Neutrality
John Oliver is a hero to me
Listen to his words
The nerds know he's right
So turn on caps lock and join the fight

Do you want to be the US of Evil
Or will you for once hear the people?
The geeks and the nerds built the internet
Why haven't you listened yet?

1. - In Harm's Way: The Dangers of a World Without Net Neutrality
2. - Net Neutrality: Sen. Al Franken Calls For #NoSlowLane
3. - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): Net Neutrality
4. - Net Neutrality [RAP NEWS 25]
5. - Lawrence Lessig: End of Net Neutrality Spells 'Disaster' - Full video from WIRED Business Conference available at:
6. - RSA Conference 2012 - New Threats to the Internet Infrastructure - Bruce Schneier
7. - "Six Strikes" Copyright Alert System Can't Be The Future of Copyright Enforcement Without More Transparency and Accountability
8. - It’s hard to ignore millions of voices calling for net neutrality — but the FCC was doing a pretty good job of it until we showed up on their doorstep with tents.
9. - House Republican's bill would kill FCC authority to enforce net neutrality and - Latta Introduces Legislation to Keep Internet Open and Accessible
10. - The FCC Comments Site Might Be Broken, But You Can Still E-Mail and - FCC Website Crashes Under Load of Neutrality Commenters
11. - "We’ve been experiencing technical difficulties with our comment system due to heavy traffic. We’re working to resolve these issues quickly." and - "We’re still experiencing technical difficulties with our comment system. Thanks for your patience as we work to resolve the issues."
12. and
13. - Homestar Runner, Trogdor the Burninator, and the Birth of the Internet
14. - The Context Behind Nancy Pelosi’s Famous ‘We Have to Pass the Bill’ Quote
15. - GOP Leader Boehner Floor Speech Opposing Democrats' Trillion-Dollar Spending Bill and Boehner Floor Speech on Democrats' Trillion-Dollar Spending Bill (full)
16. - F-bombs and death threats: Americans rip the FCC on net neutrality

Other (fun/useful):

17. - Hitler Finds Out About Kokesh Dance Party
18. - Magic mushrooms & Reindeer - Weird Nature - BBC animals
19. - Маша и Медведь - Большая стирка (Masha and the Bear - Laundry Day)
20. - Parrot massages cat's head
21. - Rymdreglage - 8-bit trip
22. - The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon by Richard Gale
23. - YouTube Is My Life

24. - Euglena Single-Cell Organism Food Supplement #DigInfo
25. - This Rural Community Is Building Its Own Gigabit Internet Network
26. - German villagers build own broadband network
27. - This computer programmer solved gerrymandering in his spare time
28. - Cyber security break-ins a 'daily hazard while firms skimp on protection'
29. - USA legislation, etc.
Phase the Next: November - A Turning Point
"We must take the time to get the job done correctly, once and for all, in order to successfully protect consumers and innovators online." - Tom Wheeler


The following was a message to invite people to a November 20th, 2014 event, intended to be sent via email:

Email subject title: Do you know anyone in San Francisco?
Please forward this message to everyone you know.

If the person works with computers for a living, they will know why it's important.

If they do not work with computers for a living, they can simply pass it on and it will get to the people who need to know about it.

"Net Neutrality" is an ambiguous nonsense computer nerd term that geeks use when discussing the underlying functionality of the internet. Like many such technical terms, it is a form of shorthand that encompasses a topic of considerable depth, thereby enabling anyone to easily look it up on the internet what it means if they come across a discussion using it which they don't understand, while allowing anyone who does understand it to not have to write out whole paragraphs of text any time they want to say something about it.

This is similar to someone referencing the movie "Star Wars" under the presumption the other person you are talking to has already seen the movie and doesn't need a rundown of the entire plot when you make a two-sentence joke about Princess Leia.

The following is a message from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: "November 20 Rally and Forum on Net Neutrality at San Francisco City Hall":

EFF Joins Local and National Groups in Call to Protect the Internet

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is joining a broad coalition of local and national public interest groups for a rally and forum in support of strong net neutrality rules at San Francisco City Hall on Thursday, November 20, at 5:30 pm.

"Bay Area Speaks: A People's Hearing on the Future of the Internet" comes at a key moment in the debate over net neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a proposal that does not provide full protections for the Internet and could vote to enact the plan early as December. Meanwhile, President Obama has issued a statement urging the FCC to change course and reclassify the Internet as a telecommunications service. This reclassification would be the best way to achieve strong rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization online, and echoes the demands of millions of Americans who have submitted their own comments to the FCC over the last few months.

Former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps will be one of the speakers at Thursday's rally, along with EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry and many others. The event is free and open to the public, and there will be time for community comment. The public testimony will be submitted to the FCC.

"Bay Area Speaks: A People's Hearing on the Future of the Internet"

Thursday, November 20

Rally – 5:30 pm
Forum – 7 pm

San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

For more information and to RSVP:


Rebecca Jeschke
Media Relations Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Follow up on the event:

EFF blog post on November 24, 2014 Rain or Shine: Bay Area Internet Users Take the Net Neutrality Fight to City Hall

Video of the November 20th event: Bay Area Speaks: A Public Forum on the Future of the Internet (2hr 1min 24sec)
Phase a New Twist: December - War on... Sony?
"Wait... so they still haven't figured out this is one big scheme to send Spiderman back home to Marvel?"

For an excellent run down of the Sony hack story, please see: A Breakdown and Analysis of the December, 2014 Sony Hack by Risk Based Security.
From Wikipedia (December 2014):
Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社 Sonī Kabushiki Gaisha, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Its diversified business is primarily focused on the electronics (TV, Gaming Consoles, Refrigerators), game, entertainment and financial services sectors. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets. Sony is ranked 105th on the 2014 list of Fortune Global 500.

You may ask, "How is the 2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment hack related to Net Neturality?" and the answer is, it relates to a lot of things, actually. These at least include:

It relates to information security and should be a reminder that that topic needs to be taken seriously in general. This wasn't the first time Sony has been hacked, one noteworthy incident being the PlayStation Network outage in 2011, so it also should be a reminder that Sony needs to take its own data security seriously. As a multinational corporation, one would expect that it would have the resources to do so.

It relates to malware (for example: viruses, trojans, worms, etc.) Sony is the corporation which in 2005-2007 thought it would be a good idea to include rootkits on CDs sold to customers in the name of preventing piracy. Also, the use of malware is part of how Sony got hacked.

It relates to global politics. The United States government accused the North Korean government as being responsible for the hack. The North Korean government denied it was involved and offered to conduct a joint investigation with the United States. The United States government asked the Chinese government to weigh in. The Russian government weighed in. (But wait, there's more!) All this over a movie studio hack.

Speaking of Russia, U.S. sanctions against the country isn't making the United States very popular over there: Russians Rage Against America | Enduring Sanctions, Anger Turns to Hate: Racist Names for Obama and Putin Disses Coca-Cola. Russia wants to look into the United States' bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan towards the end of World War II: State Duma chief suggests trying US for WWII nuke attacks. In regards to Ukraine/Crimea and US/Russia, there's this: Париж, Севастопольский бульвар | В час украинской трагедии потомки белой эмиграции обращаются к лидерам Европы.

Coincidentally, after 50 years of embargoing Cuba suddenly the US has changed its mind as to how to relate to the nation - There's this article, Sudden U.S. Thaw Worries Cuban Dissidents and this one, CNN's Candy Crowley interviews President Barack Obama (Dec. 21, 2014):
So Cuba offers us an example of an opportunity to try something different. For 50 years, we've tried to see if we can overthrow the regime through isolation. It hasn't worked. If we engage, we have the opportunity to influence the course of events at a time when there's going to be some generational change in that country. And I think we should seize it and I intend to do so.
I guess he might as well just come out and bluntly say that "normalizing relations" is a plot to overthrow the Cuban government, eh?

And this is all occuring in the wake of the United States torture report. See: CIA experimented on humans in black sites: Report and The Senate Just Released the CIA Torture Report. Read the Full Document. and the .pdf file itself (525 pages).

Relatedly, there's the article CIA Admits to Hacking Senate Computers (July 31, 2014).

The CIA, which ran the torture program, messing with a congressman/her staffs' computers, which the congressional panel was using to read about and review said program? What could possibly go wrong?

It relates to personal privacy and media gossip. Weird Al Yankovic has a good parody on the general topic of media gossip: "Weird Al" Yankovic - TMZ (Parody of "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift) (3min 41sec). Sony employees' personal emails were dumped along with whatever else got dumped, which generally is something one wouldn't want to happen with their correspondance, and having it re-published for wider dissemination would of course make it worse. See: I Will Not Post This | The Coming Age of Self Censorship

Coincidentally, the NSA gave everyone a holiday gift this Christmas eve (presumably as a result of an ACLU and MFIA FOIA lawsuit). See: NSA waited until Christmas Eve to reveal its embarrassing self-audit and On Christmas Eve, NSA quietly releases 12 years worth of internal reports. The report itself is posted to the NSA website.

It relates to taking things out of context to mean something different than what was originally intended. I'm sure it was deliberate on the part of Guardians of Peace, knowing that most journalists would simply repeat any scary-sounding phrases, with few printing the whole message so that people could draw their own conclusions as to what it means, but if you read what was actually written... Source for the full text (at the bottom of the article): Sony Hackers Threaten 9/11 Attack on Movie Theaters That Screen ‘The Interview’

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.

More to come…

Unless there was more to go on than that (I'm sure I've missed some things), by my interpretation the only thing these hackers (if that really did come from the hackers) were threatening theater-goers with is a warning that the movie sucks.

Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.


I think they were saying that the world will denounce Sony because the movie sucks. People will be scared of just how bad it is, watching it is such a disaster that it'll feel like September 11th, 2001 all over again. You don't even want to be -near- the theaters, it's that bad.

I laughed so hard when I read that.

- Also, probably they only brought up 9/11 because people called hacking Sony to be on the same level as 9/11.

To quote from: Seth Rogen, Howard Stern liken Sony hack to terrorism: ‘This attack is no different than a 9/11-type attack’
This attack is no different than a 9/11-type attack," Stern said. "They stole this material. It probably was North Korea. They want to f--k with Sony. They’re really pissed off. It’s outrageous. The president should have announced immediately we’re under attack.

It relates to 9/11 and what followed after that. Hey, someone else brought up 9/11, so why not roll with it, eh?

In short, with regards to the events of September 11th, 2001, along with other aspects of it, there's been a fair amount of discussion regarding what actually happened that day and who's to blame. South Park made their case that it wasn't an inside job and that the government just messed up/wasn't able to stop it from happening.

A while back someone asked, "Who still thinks 9/11 was an inside job?" to which I replied, "Susan Lindauer, apparently." Here's her Wikipedia page, and here's a video of her discussing what she knows. (1hr 36min 12sec)

Here's another video, '9/11 was an inside job': Full speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at UN (33min 49sec).

"Whodunit: 9/11" isn't really what I look into, but those links should be enough to get one started if one is interested in the topic.

Regardless of whodunit and why... how it relates is, as is the case with the Sony hack of today, 9/11 was a big event that a lot of people were at least aware of it having happened. It has the potential to be a catalyst for major changes in the world and society. There are calls for a response to this, going as far up as the President. If you think about it, there was definitely a conspiracy involved in pulling it off, so it's a question of how deep does it go, what do we know, what was the motivation, and other sorts of questions, not "if" it was one or not. And so forth.

But what's different this time is...

It was a computer hack. Data got leaked, data was deleted, but nobody blew up.

We may not have thousands or millions of engineers burning thermite and steel beams at home for fun (too expensive, maybe? Maybe dangerous? Well, at least guy was experimenting: 9/11 Experiments: The Great Thermate Debate) just to see how it works as a normal part of their daily lives who can relay to the average Joe how likely a given scenario is when it comes to how a building might have collapsed, but programmers, sysadmins, and so on? In regards to a computer hack?... I hypothesize that either whoever did (and/or whoever ordered/encouraged/suggested) the Sony conspiracy was very perceptive, knowing to a large extent what the reaction would be, or was an idiot, too unfamiliar with information technology and nerd culture to have any clue as to what would happen in response, and their scheme, whatever it was, backfired. (Or maybe a half dozen of one and six of the other?) Or maybe... they saw The Dark Knight (particularly this scene) and took it a little too seriously?

There are just so many possibilities to consider! Bruce Schneier considers a few in the article Lessons from the Sony Hack. (Dec. 29 Update: IT Secuirty firm Norse has their own theory, with evidence they're presenting to the FBI: Ex-Employee, Five Others Fingered in Sony Hack.)

As far as response to the hack: Here's a link to the YouTube video with United States President Obama talking about the Sony hack (8min 43sec). Here is the full press conference (50min 35sec). Here's a link to both North Korea and Sony's response: North Korea proposes joint Sony hack inquiry with US. (There's a video at the top of the article, "Sony Pictures CEO: "We have not given in"" where Michael Lynton speaks about it.)

This is funny: Bring It On, Sony Hackers! - Late Night with Seth Meyers" (2min 30sec).

I have two things to say:

No, Barack Obama, no John McCain, we don't need your "cyber security" legislation, which by my estimation would be no more about securing our data and cyber infrastructure than the "PATRIOT Act" was about resisting tyranny, upholding the United States Constitution, and baking apple pies. To quote Obama:
We have to treat it like we would treat, you know, the incidence of crime, you know, in our countries. When other countries are sponsoring it, we take it very seriously. But, you know, I think this is something that we can manage.

Yes, I take this seriously. And yes, IT can manage. If computer nerds had to rely on government to figure out what to do, the state of the internet would never have progressed this far. See: The coming digital anarchy.
Bitcoin is giving banks a run for their money. Now the same technology threatens to eradicate social networks, stock markets, even national governments. Are we heading towards an anarchic future where centralised power of any kind will dissolve?

(Of course, there is more to concern ourselves with than whether our computers and internet connections and software function as intended. See: Beyond Whistleblowing.)
System administrators like Edward Snowden do indeed wield disproportionate influence over the fate of our species, but sysadmins cannot create a solution by themselves. Centralizing a few computer experts as the subject of social struggle only obscures all the other demographics whose participation is essential in any movement for liberation.
What would it mean for the rest of us to defect from the power structures that we participate in? To identify what is intolerable in our own mundane complicities, and break them off once and for all? This is a step each of us can take, wherever we are situated in the architecture of power.

Unless the "cybersecurity" law you're thinking of says something like, "the government will publically publish a guideline every year of what it feels are best practices that companies and individuals can implement to secure their own or their users/employees/customers data," or otherwise does something useful, I'm not sure what you think a law will accomplish? You can't legislate people to write error-free code any more than you can legislate sculptors to produce works like the Statue of David or painters to create something akin to the Mona Lisa. Creativity and technical skill is something one develops over time and exercises for their own pleasure. It is something which can be taught, it is something which one can learn on their own, but it is not something which someone far away writing on a piece of paper saying that people need to be good at it, can change. When you've got the sort of people who are demanding to be allowed do their jobs... (See: Leaked Sony IT Evaluations: "There Is No Overall Strategy")
SPE IT employees have ZERO power to make any changes. We have to fight with our own management to convince them there is a problem.

Where does congress come in again?

As far as something that's been proposed before (which seems to have become a yearly event): The first time I heard about CISPA (1min 16sec), the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, was in 2012. I read about it from the EFF and the ACLU and read the bill, and from what I gathered the point was to make it legal for companies to pass data to certain other companies and the government without regard for existing privacy laws.

How is deliberately handing over the contents of my database to a third party supposed to secure my data? It does the exact opposite of that. I don't need or want laws that tell me I have the right to deliberately fuck over the people who are entrusting me with their information.

Seriously, back down on that crap.

Honestly, I think people reading articles like this: After Sony, Every Startup Should Prepare For War and passing it on to others to read will do more good than anything congress has in mind. I would be amazed if they could prove me wrong.


"To whom it may concern: Never forget (6|18). If you don't know what (?|?) means, I suggest you find out."

(For those reading this who already did know what that means - Meh. I find it relevant in its own way, but it would spoil the fun if I explained it. Don't read too much into it.)

As for how the hack relates to Net Neutrality (and Google and copyright):

(First, I think it's best to just put this under the category of "fuckery/preventing fuckery" and think about how it fits in with everything else than worry about whether this fits the definition of a particular term.)

The short version: I like copyright, I like the internet. Even if unenforceable, I would still want copyright, a basic aknowledgment that what's mine is mine and what I make matters. I could go into more detail about that, but I won't here.

But, if forced to make the choice between the internet and copyright: I choose the internet. Sony, apparently, chose copyright.

There's this - The full story of Project Goliath and Hollywood's quest to control the web. To quote the opening to the set of articles comprising the story:
When a digital attack revealed the private emails of Sony Pictures employees, it also revealed a number of troubling anti-piracy projects that would cut against the basic engineering principles of the web. MPAA documents revealed that Hollywood hasn't given up on SOPA, the controversial anti-piracy that was struck down in Congress in 2011, and is looking into ways it could justify the same proposals under existing law. The industry's biggest adversary in that fight is Google, referred to over and over again under the codename "Goliath."

Other sources for info: Hollywood v. Goliath: Inside the aggressive studio effort to bring Google to heel and this one - MPAA’s plan to break DNS in the name of fighting piracy – exposed by the Sony hack

Basically the intent of Sony/the MPAA being to revive SOPA/PIPA through non-legislative means, and SOPA/PIPA being something the internet already got pissed off at a few years ago to the point of having an "internet blackout" to demonstrate what censorship of the web would be like with those bills, is unlikely to have forgotten about. I certainly haven't.

Oh, to throw some irony in there: Sony About to Get Sued For Pirating Music in The Interview. Maybe they're not such staunch defenders of copyright after all?

But hey, let's not put Sony through the grinder too much. Let's end this section on a positive note. ;) Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video (22sec). (That, too, I find relevant in its own way. That one I'd welcome you to read too much into it. =D )

As an aside: A Work in Progress - When Fiction and Reality Collide
"They seem not to give a damn, or even half a damn, that the CIA and the Pentagon have used them, and co-opted the film for an agenda far bigger than the stupid movie itself." - Larry Chin

The "don't know, don't care" version | Back to the home page