Removing The Plug

One of the things that is becoming more obvious as time goes by is that, in spite of labels like “information superhighway”, there are more and more controls over what can be published on the internet today (call it what it is, censorship). It’s a slow progress down a slippery slope but I definitely believe that the journey in the wrong direction is well underway.

Basically, there are places in which the free flow of information is becoming constipated. Because of this, what the net really needs is something to clean it out and free up the normal flow. A virtual colonetix, if you will, to clear the blockages and unwanted junk from the system and more importantly, allow free expression to once again rule.

Freenet is the solution to this problem. It’s a system that allows the free flow of information in such a way that both protects the identity of those publishing (and downloading or reading) that information and is also very resistant to censorship.

It’s an anonymous, decentralized network that takes requests for information and routes them through other nodes at random who then do the same until the data is found. As the requested data is returned, copies of it are made along the way which make it easier to retrieve every time.

Because of this decentralized approach, the node that originated a file does not have to be online for that file to still be available. There are freesites (websites that exist entirely within freenet) that are still available YEARS after the node that originally inserted them went offline.

Freenet is perhaps one of the best emerging tools for free speech online yet. If you believe in freedom of speech, consider running a freenet node today.

[tags]free speech online, freedom of speech, free speech, internet, censorship, freenet, anonymous blogging, anonymous website, freesite, freenet website, distributed data store[/tags]

Sign the ACTA Communiqué and Tell Negotiators to Protect Your Rights

The next round of negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement will be underway in less than a week. The ATCA was originally supposed to reduce the flow of fake physical goods across borders. Unfortunately, it’s grown into something that reaches FAR beyond counterfeit physical goods. It is being used as a way to clamp down tight controls on the internet.

These controls will limit your freedom considerably. Under the ATCA, people that are merely accused of copyright violations will be disconnected without even so much as the slightest chance to defend themselves.

ISPs will be required to serve as copyright cops, monitoring people’s downloads and cutting them off for suspected or accused violations.

This is no longer about fake physical goods. The ATCA has been turned into a weapon that “big content” is using against everyone, even the innocent in their efforts to control and essentially own all creative content.

Public Knowledge has issued an action alert, inviting users to send a wake-up call to the Administration about the dangerous policies in ACTA. Visit Public Knowledge NOW and make your voice heard!

It takes less than a minute to fill out the form on that page and add your voice to the effort to get the Obama administration to wake up and realize that the ATCA must be stopped.

Isn’t your internet freedom worth one measly minute?

I sure think so. Here’s the link again, click on it and take a stand for your rights!

Or

You can ignore it and some day you will wish that you had taken that one minute to be part of stopping the ATCA.

[tags]atca, copyright, treaty, internet freedom, copyright cops, big content[/tags]

Escapist Mass Bans Users Who Mention Adblock

In a move that’s right up there with saying that a chocolate and french fry addicted teen has no reason to use vitamins for acne, The Escapist recently pulled a stunt guaranteed to put them in the front running for this month’s cover of “DUH!” magazine when they suddenly started permanently banning users en-mass because they had the unmitigated gall to suggest that a user who was having difficulties with the site because of an ad that exceeded their computer’s capabilities should get Firefox and Adblock which would solve the problem by allowing the offending ad to be blocked.

It didn’t take more than a few posts farther down that thread for users to start being banned permanently because they admitted to or advocated the use of adblockers.

Not long after that they even amended their posting guidlines to include the following gem:

Do not confess, teach, admit to, or promote ad-blocking software that will allow users to block the ads of this site.

I have to say that this has got to be one of the single dumbest moves ever. While they did eventually reverse those bans in my opinion the damage is done. By doing so they made it clear that money is more important to them than anything else and that they feel that they have the right to tell visitors to the site how they can and can not use their browsers and what plugins they can and can not use on the site.

Thing is, last I heard it was none of anybody’s business what browser or plugins I use or whether or not I choose to use and ad blocker. It’s also my business if I want to suggest to someone that they also use an ad blocker and provide links where to find a plugin such as AdBlock Plus for Firefox.

Thankfully I have never been, am not now, nor do I ever expect to be a user of that forum. Partly because it’s not my cup of tea and now mostly because, even though it was reversed, they actually pulled this crap in the first place.

I will however, recommend that anyone planning to use that site, take a moment first and make sure that you have AdBlock installed and enabled on your Firefox browser before loading the site.

In short, screw you Escapist!

[tags]escapist, adblocker, ad block, ad block plus, adblock plus, firefox, stop ads[/tags]

Network Neutrality Still An Issue

In recent months I haven’t seen nearly as much talk about network neutrality, what it means to average users, what telephone companies and large ISPs want to do with the Internet and perhaps most importantly, what Washington and our newly elected president intend to actually DO about it.

In recent months I haven’t seen nearly as much talk about network neutrality, what it means to average users, what telephone companies and large ISPs want to do with the Internet and perhaps most importantly, what Washington and our newly elected president intend to actually DO about it.

This does not change the fact that it’s still a VERY important issue, one that every person using the internet needs to be aware of. It’s something that we all need to be getting after our senators and congressional representatives to support. It’s something that we need to make absolutely certain that all ISPs, both large and small, understand that the Internet is something that is intended to be a level playing field that allows anyone to publish or receive information in whatever form.

If network neutrality is not mandated and enforced, then eventually “big content” will be the only source of most (if not all) of the content online. The ability and freedom of anyone to publish whatever will be sharply curtailed. Just as it was with radio so long ago.

This video is perhaps one of the best explanations of the network neutrality issue and what it means to the Joe Sixpacks of the internet using world. It’s something over ten minutes long but absolutely well worth the watching. I strongly recommend that everybody watch this video at least once. Once you’ve watched it, share it with your friends and family, anyone who doesn’t have a clear idea what network neutrality is and why it’s so important.

[Tags]video explanation, explain net neutrality, network neutrality, congressional representatives, net neutrality issue, telephone companies, isp, explanations, senators, freedom, radio, level playing field, tell friends, tell family, video[/tags]

Did Jon Henshaw Really Accuse Matt Cutts of Ruining ‘Link Buying’ PubCon Session?

To me that’s kind of a “Duh Moment”. Matt Cutts may be a decent enough guy (I honestly don’t know one way or the other) but let’s face it, because of his position at Google, when it comes to things like web promotion and topics like link buying being discussed among proponents.. he’s pretty much the enemy.

You could subtitle this: If Matt Cutts is going to attend, would you even bother making las vegas hotel reservations to attend PubCon?

[insert classic Bronx raspberry here]

My answer: Absolutely not!

To me that’s kind of a “Duh Moment”. Matt Cutts may be a decent enough guy (I honestly don’t know one way or the other) but let’s face it, because of his position at Google, when it comes to things like web promotion and topics like link buying being discussed among proponents.. he’s pretty much the enemy.

Even though Jon Henshaw’s post was pretty much intended as humorous, it’s still very much on point. Somebody like Matt Cutts showing up at PubCon is definitely going to be like throwing a cold soggy dishrag on the main course at a state dinner. Nobody with any sense at all is going to have anything valuable to say about the business of link buying while they know he’s in the room.

I realize that it wouldn’t exactly be difficult for Mr. Cutts to find out what was said at the event. He is, after all, in the business of staying informed about such things in his quest to nuke linking practices that he and Google have declared wrong.

[Tags]pubcon, matt cutts, jon henshaw, accusation, link buying, pubcon link buying, link buying talk[/tags]