Hella Bus Blog
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In news that's bound to excite both Net Neutrality fans and pun lovers worldwide: Mike D of the Beastie Boys managed to give AT&T shareholders a chance to vote on wireless Net Neutrality.
Mike D, through his work with an asset management collective called Trillium managed to get the recalcitrant Internet gatekeeper to do something they've been trying hard to avoid.
A shareholder vote will shine more light on AT&T's dubious claims that they need the right to deny or limit service to certain websites in order optimize their network.
The House and Senate are currently considering legislation that would enact pretty drastic copyright protection measures under the names SOPA and PIPA.
And there was a chance you hadn't heard of them at all, until prominent sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit, Twitpic, and ...icanhazcheeseburger decided to bring the topic front and center with a day of protest. Wikipedia is shuttering all English-language content today, and Google has placed a prominent link on their main page instructing users to lobby their elected officials.
Why? SOPA and PIPA attempt to go after people who offer pirated copyrighted material in order to protect the profits of movie and music producers. Unfortunately for them, the most egregious pirates operate outside of the U.S. jurisdictions.
Which do you choose?
What do Milanese youth, the Editor-at-Large for Vogue Japan, and Kanye West have in common? With a distinctively stylish aesthetic, they all happen to catch the eye of esteemed fashion photographer Scott Schuman, author of the popular style blog, The Sartorialist. The site, alongside a myriad of similar digital style hives, offers viewers a glance into the collective fashion conscious of cities across the world, forever altering the relationship between people, place, and self expression.
In decades past, culture addicts, fashion aficionados, and sartorial insiders were typically the first to interact with the designer worlds of high fashion and global trend setting- and the first to solicit their fragmented conceptual analysis (and dilution) of runway, resort, and seasonal collections. What the lay person encountered was a fringe distillation of the inspiration and brilliance of international talent, offered at the whim of a handful of venerable publications, media celebrities, and the inventory at local clothing stores. Not to mention the more rural, isolated communities of distant nations were kept distant-- unless one traveled abroad, no immediate cultural exchanges pertaining to fashion, self expression or utility were had en masse.
Today, in the same browser window, individuals can watch live streams of Fashion Week on youtube, scope out what's trending in London at Facehunter, and act as personal stylists using real models and current designer (or otherwise modern) pieces on Looklet. The proliferation of recent trends in expression, merchandising, and identity is astonishing.
Technology has removed the iron curtain of fashion. Although Schuman was initially excited by the opportunity of facilitating a "two-way dialogue about the world of fashion and its relationship to daily life," many of his contemporaries have developed concepts that range from featured street wear stemming from the pride of place, as seen through Stockholm Street Style, to the borderline-megalomanic-invite-only-international-blog Lookbook.
This instant access to global community through the simple communication venues that blogs and websites create and inspire have caused similar recent revolutionary responses in music, politics, and ideology. Chillwave, the Arab Spring, and Occupy Wall Street are excellent examples of how the collective consciousness of our digital age has also thrived by supporting movements, immediate calls for action and exchanges of information.
Self expression is no longer restricted to place, limited production lines, or the dictates of the fashion industry per se-- instead, it is guided and unleashed by you, me, and our extended global network. By taking cues from one another (and the runway, of course), we may not only inspire boldness, creativity, and open-minded dialogue, but we are also able to uncover new ways of understanding the relationship between ourselves and the world around us.
July 4th is known for a lot of things: independence, soaring eagles, crudely fashioned explosives in the hands of untrained children drunk on pyromania. Well folks, time to add another to the list: hacking.
Today’s internet is a lot of things, including a battlefield. But it's a battlefield like none we've ever seen - impossibly far-flung and populated by anonymous cells that with a little knowledge can undermine the most sophisticated security systems around. Anonymous hackers and groups dedicated to bringing down/screwing with established security systems are squaring off with whichever corporate/government interests happen to be the next target. In typical internet fashion, every individual has its own agenda (or none at all). Objectives can range from directed activism to merely chaos for its own sake (anarchy).
Some high-profile hacks on July 4th brought hacking firmly into the mainstream spotlight.
Among the victims: Fox News, Sony, Apple Computers, and the State of Arizona. One website dedicated to tech news attributes the various hackings to the “skeleton crews” many companies left behind to man security during the recent holiday weekend.
Sometime between midnight and 3AM Pacific Time 4th of July morning, the Twitter account of Fox News Politics (twitter.com/foxnewspolitics) was infiltrated. The hackers then altered the twitter account to display a series of messages proclaiming Barack Obama’s death.
#america was confused early Monday morning by "reports" of their leader's #assassination.
Almost immediately, a group calling themselves The Script Kiddies claimed responsibility for the messages. Student journalist Adam Peck conducted an interview with a representative of the group. Peck describes their take, “the selection of Fox News as a target seems to have less to do with their politics as it does with the fact that they represent corporate America.”
This anti-corporate thread ties together a growing movement known as AntiSec (short for AntiSecurity). Often referred to by less web-savvy media sources as merely ‘Anonymous’, the AntiSec movement is a loose confederation of several different groups – of which the group Anonymous is only one member. Generally, they use various computer techniques in order to disrupt or discredit organizations for any number of reasons (generally major corporate or government institutions). Due to the elusive and often illicit nature of their activities very few of these AntiSec groups have any real public face or known organization (or indeed, often seem to actually have very little identifiable organization). As a result, the actions committed under the AntiSec umbrella vary greatly. Basically, they defy most familiar structures or labels so although the titles exist, don't assume that all who identify with them engage in similar practices or have similar intentions.
There have been occasional appearances by people claiming to represent one group or another. The prominent AntiSec-linked group LulzSec recently took credit for infiltrating Sony Pictures’ user accounts leading to a massive, three month outage of the online gaming service PlayStation Network.
Other AntiSec groups, more strongly identified with the political aims of the movement, have carried out operations on government websites. Most recently, hackers affiliated with AntiSec launched an attack on the Arizona police department. They infiltrated police databases, posting conversations and other confidential information through freely accessible channels. A representative for the group explained that the hacking was in opposition to “SB1070 [the recent measure which enacted strict methods for determining illegal immigrants] and the racist Arizona police state”.
The group who hacked Fox News’ twitter, however, seems to be taking the route of politics by pranking. Even their name, “Script Kiddies”, is a tongue-in-cheek reference: in the internet world, script kiddies are those who use prewritten computer scripts and exploits for their own purposes (in that world, those who can't write their own code are like).
There’s an old cartoon that seems especially apt here:
(Via the New Yorker)
The anonymity and the open nature of the internet has given its users an unprecedented level of access to the world consciousness. The AntiSec movement is a direct result of this freedom. Though some members have been arrested in connection with it, it continues as strong as ever. As long as corporations and governments keep a large presence on the World Wide Web there will be those who break their security, either for the greater good or just for the heck of it. Everything is vulnerable, including the world's most powerful government and corporate interests, so it will be hugely important to follow how these conflicts unfold in the future.
The Internet. It’s a huge thing. Here we are, on it right now, having a little conversation (one sided as it may be—hit up the comments yo!). And we are free to jump through cyberspace and land ourselves in a whole different place, like facebook or beautiful renderings of Robocop on a unicorn, free to interact with each other within these cyber worlds, even free to make our own little corner of the Internet.
Now that’s what I call freedom.
But freedom can’t protect itself, and right now it might need some backup.
In some places on Earth, the Internet is the freest place around, the only space for oppressed people to communicate and organize. This week, the citizens of Egypt have turned to this last bastion of freedom, using twitter, facebook, email and other online tools to organize protests that have led to a freer off-line society. So, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak said, “Shut it down!” and Egyptians have had limited to no Internet access for almost a week.
I’m sure you’ve seen that the protests are still going on, even without the Internet. After all, as has been said before, Egypt’s is not the Twitter Revolution but a tweeted revolution. Nonetheless, it’s clear the internet was an important organizing tool.
If we were to use Star Wars to understand this crazy time, its clear what the two sides would be: freedom pursuing Egyptian people = Jedi; oppressive Egyptian government = Sith (Julian Assange = Jarjar?). So why have United States Senators introduced a bill that would give our President the same oppressive power as Egypt’s? Why do they want to give Obama Mubarak’s Internet Kill Switch?
The new bill, creates an organization with the power to shut down any part of the Internet at any time. (omg!!!). Here's Lieberman's argument for it. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology (ftw!!) point out that, similar to the Patriot Act, the language of the bill is so ambiguous that homeland security agents will be given free reign to shut down, spy on and infiltrate anything they choose (fml!!!).
Creating an Internet Kill Switch forces yet another wedge between American Government and Americans, and that’s not good for anyone.
For more information, check out :
If, like me, you don’t like the sound of this much, here’s a petition: