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Open Letter By Eric S. Raymond To Chris Dodd

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the listen-up dept.

Censorship 410

An anonymous reader writes "ESR, one of the finest engineers behind the open source movement and much of the software we use everyday, writes an open letter to U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd. ESR points out the concerns of 'the actual engineers who built the Internet and keep it running, who write the software you rely on every day of your life in the 21st century' about politicians attempts to lock down our Internet or our tools. A portion of the letter reads: 'I can best introduce you to our concerns by quoting another of our philosopher/elders, John Gilmore. He said: “The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” To understand that, you have to grasp that “the Internet” isn’t just a network of wires and switches, it’s also a sort of reactive social organism composed of the people who keep those wires humming and those switches clicking. John Gilmore is one of them. I’m another. And there are some things we will not stand having done to our network.'"

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uhhh. (-1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171791)

FORMER Senator Chris Dodd.

Re:uhhh. (5, Informative)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171861)

I'm sure Mr. Raymond is quite aware that Senator Dodd no longer holds public office. It is still appropriate to refer to public officials by the title of the last office they held; this is common among those who have served in the Senate, as state governors, etc.

Furthermore, Senator Dodd is now the CEO of the MPAA [wikipedia.org] , an organization whose positions on electronic rights is quite well known, and cause for substantial concern.

Lastly, I think it's a good idea to continue to refer to Mr. Dodd as Senator Dodd, since he took an oath to represent the people and the constitution of this nation, and should be reminded of that at every opportunity.

Re:uhhh. (5, Informative)

CaptainJeff (731782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171879)

100% correct. Senators, in the United States, retain that title even after they leave office.

Re:uhhh. (3, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172333)

Wasn't James Madison against this, and insisted that senators and presidents should be entitled "Mister", like everybody else, not to create a new nobility that would be against the constitution?

Re:uhhh. (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172075)

In that case, it should be "Douchebag Dodd."

Re:uhhh. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172229)

We may often disagree, but I have to agree with you here.

Re:uhhh. (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172105)

However, for purposes of clarity, the summary should point out both that he is a former Senator and that he is now CEO of the MPAA.

Re:uhhh. (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172147)

Writing the head of the MPAA to try and sway him about the internet (to misquote former MPAA head Jack Valenti speaking of VCRs in the eighties) -- "The internet is to movies what Jack the Ripper was to women."

ESR ir right, but I think he sent his letter to the wrong Senator. It should have gone to the 100 corrupt Senators who actually legislate, rather than former corrupt Senators.

Re:uhhh. (3, Insightful)

Stele (9443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172215)

ESR ir right, but I think he sent his letter to the wrong Senator. It should have gone to the 100 corrupt Senators who actually legislate, rather than former corrupt Senators.

Don't you you mean corrupt format Senators?

Re:uhhh. (4, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172249)

I can see where you're coming from, but who do you think pushes those 100 corrupt senators to adopt restrictive internet laws? Hint: lobbies like the MPAA, where Dodd is now chief. Convince the MPAA, RIAA, UFIA, etc to back off and those 100 corrupt senators won't even pay attention to the issue, because the corruption comes from them taking bribes and kickbacks from said special interests to vote for the laws in question.

but what if this is the one that's buying? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172263)

You know, those 100 corrupt senators have to get paid somehow. Corruption can usually be solved by the "follow the money" principle. What if that's what ESR is doing?

Politicians are only experts at getting re-elected (5, Funny)

talexb (223672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171805)

Politicians are always attempting to be experts at everything. This failure is magnified when they start talking about the Internet, because on the Internet, everyone's an expert.

Right?

Re:Politicians are only experts at getting re-elec (5, Funny)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171889)

I thought the beauty of the Internet was that once you're online, nobody knows you're a dog.

Re:Politicians are only experts at getting re-elec (4, Funny)

sqldr (838964) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172083)

nobody knows you're a dog

Speak for yourself! I'm a marmoset

Re:Politicians are only experts at getting re-elec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172397)

Nobody knows bro!

Re:Politicians are only experts at getting re-elec (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172125)

That is kind of their job as they make laws that impact a wide variety of things. Or at least that is the convention on the public facing side of what they do, speaking to journalists as if they are experts and have first hand knowledge.

In reality, what they know outside of their particular field (mostly lawyering) comes mostly from subject matter experts and those come from whatever lobbying group musters them. So while politicians may be informed before they put forward a law, their information is often cherry picked or outright biased.

ESR is no different in this case as he has his own agenda he is trying to push. It would be hard to find subject matter experts without one. And this isn't confined to just the Interent or fast moving geek tech. "The shoulder thing that goes up" is one of the many famous examples where a politician was trying to have something outright banned from production despite having no clue what it was.

Excellent tactical move. (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171817)

Give your enemy a primer on all your motivations and explain how you are organized. What are we, gorillas pounding our chests?

Re:Excellent tactical move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171877)

Give your enemy a primer on all your motivations and explain how you are organized. What are we, gorillas pounding our chests?

Yes.

It's actually a pretty good move. The politicians doesn't have a good understanding of internet and do not understand how to control it, thus they seek to take it away.
Giving the politicians an idea of how to actually close down internet pretty much ensures that they will. Since they don't understand internet they also don't realize that internet is the bread and circuses of this age. Taking away the circuses has the side effect that it makes people rise up and hang the politicians they don't like.

Re:Excellent tactical move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172101)

The politicians doesn't have a good understanding of internet and do not understand how to control it, thus they seek to take it away.

Word.

This [ietf.org] is what the Internet is and how it works. If you want to change the Internet, you need to be publishing there. Anything less, is soapboxing for a completely different set of motivations (which I personally believe to be simply "fear").

Re:Excellent tactical move. (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172017)

This is an open letter, and its main point is not to convince the opposition but to rally its own supporters. For which purpose chest pounding works very well.

To Which the Reaction Will Be (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171821)

How dare these self-righteous, misanthropic geeks dare tell us it's their network? Who bought and paid for this network? Why does this network exist in the first place? Because WE built it with our holy dollars. Someone get a muzzle on this dissident! A prime example of why we need control of our network!

Re:To Which the Reaction Will Be (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171841)

Exactly right. Someone needs to teach these people the meaning of the word 'authority', and understand where the power lies. They think they are needed and necessary; they are not. If they will not follow direction, we will find someone else who will. Engineers are fungible and someone else can get up-to-speed in a matter of days to weeks.

Re:To Which the Reaction Will Be (0)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172009)

Yes and we geeks can take our network back anytime we want to. You don't want to use the internet on OUR terms, then you will be denied access to it!

Re:To Which the Reaction Will Be (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172089)

And how do you suppose you're going to do so? You don't own the backbone, you don't own any of the fiber connecting you to your ISP, you don't own any of the switches and routers, you don't own any of the software (since most of what runs the internet is BSD and is easily forked). So exactly how are you going to "take it back" when all the infrastructure is owned by others?

Re:To Which the Reaction Will Be (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172139)

Go on strike, watch it crumble, I presume.

Re:To Which the Reaction Will Be (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172195)

Yeah, good luck with that.

Not only is the IT world full of contrarians, who likely won't strike just because other people are, but people like being paid and will continue to accept money to ruin the internet.

No fascist regime is ever short of henchmen, and no government lockdown will ever be short of people to perform it, especially if others have just walked out and they are now seen as valuable and dependable by those with power/money.

Re:To Which the Reaction Will Be (3, Interesting)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172473)

It really only takes a double hand-full of networking engineers to deny access to the entire Internet. We're not where we were some moons ago when Saint Postel moved the DNS root servers to his home computers for a while, but we're not too terribly far.

If some engineers got together and decided to take down DNS, well, for most people that would be the end of internet access.

A far more disastrous scenario would have some of the larger nodes advertise bad BGP around 2am on a Friday night, and the engineers responsible being "too ill" to come in to fix it.

You are correct about the contrarian factor though. I've known IT people who will take the opposite stance simply because an certain number of people are already on the other side. I've known IT people who will enjoy a movie until it gets popular, then suddenly it is the worst movie ever. I've known IT people who believe in certain things politically, but consistently vote the opposite to 'piss off "those" people.'

Re:To Which the Reaction Will Be (4, Informative)

windcask (1795642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172221)

Go on strike, watch it crumble, I presume.

I'm having WICKED Atlas Shrugged/Fight Club tangential thoughts right now. You take the people who keep this world running for granted, watch what happens when they disappear or fight back....

Re:To Which the Reaction Will Be (2)

pacinpm (631330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172445)

Bah, it's simple. "Occupy your router" movement!

Joking aside, I predict raising of darknet and freenet.

Re:To Which the Reaction Will Be (1)

_8553454222834292266 (2576047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172305)

And then you will be in jail, congratulations.

Obviously (5, Funny)

Alranor (472986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171827)

” To understand that, you have to grasp that “the Internet” isn’t just a network of wires and switches"

Well of course not, as every (ex-) politician knows, it's a series of tubes.

Re:Obviously (4, Funny)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171971)

” To understand that, you have to grasp that “the Internet” isn’t just a network of wires and switches"

Well of course not, as every (ex-) politician knows, it's a series of tubes, full of cats.

TFTFY

Oppression, not "lockdown" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172097)

I'm getting sick of hearing the propaganda terms "lockdown" and "crackdown" used in place of the correct term, oppression. Are we too afraid to say it? Not politically correct enough? Can't admit our own reality to ourselves? Fuck that.

Let's call a spade a spade here. The terms "crackdown" and "lockdown" imply that the victim was doing something wrong or immoral in the first place. THAT is exactly why government and the media use these terms. They are "self-justified". They are deliberately false depictions of reality. It's pure propaganda, but the amazing part is that some victims will actually repeat the terms themselves.

The correct term, oppression, implies that the victim is innocent, not guilty -- and that the oppressors are guilty, not merely "getting around to that crackdown". For christ's sake, use the correct term.

Funny? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172187)

Well of course not, as every (ex-) politician knows, it's a series of tubes.

Yuk, yuk, yuk.

This is a stale joke that really isn't that funny. Ted Stevens wasn't as ludicrously incorrect with that statement as the condescending hipsters would like you to believe. Network engineers and architects frequently/typically refer to network links as pipes and the internet is a collection of those links. Regardless of whether or not Ted knew what the internet was, "a series of tubes" is a perfectly valid metaphor!

ESR, is that you? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171853)

An anonymous reader writes "ESR, one of the finest engineers behind the open source movement...

ESR, is that you? /runs for cover (literally, he's a gun nut don't you know)

Re:ESR, is that you? (1, Redundant)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171985)

I'm making popcorn here, waiting for bperens to come waltzing in and we'll get to see another OSI vs FSF mudwresting match where people jump into the fray to fly their colors

Net result: I get entertained, the world still moves, and vi is still more used than emacs.

Re:ESR, is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172019)

Windows notepad is more used than vi. So, what point are you trying to make here?

Re:ESR, is that you? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172241)

"Windows notepad is more used than vi"

Not by a long shot.

Re:ESR, is that you? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172419)

netcraft confirms it

Re:ESR, is that you? (2)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172035)

OSI vs FSF mudwresting match

Evoking images of sweaty, scantily clad nerds grappling with each other in the mud is a terrible thing to do to a man. Please pass the mental bleach.

Re:ESR, is that you? (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172273)

Net result: I get entertained, the world still moves, and vi is still ages ahead of emacs in just about any area.

TFTFY

RUN, YOU FOOL!

Re:ESR, is that you? (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172027)

An anonymous reader writes "ESR, one of the finest engineers behind the open source movement...

ESR, is that you? /runs for cover (literally, he's a gun nut don't you know)

And also, according to his letter, 'a well-known philosopher/elder of the tribe'. I always wondered who the Elders of the Internet were:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7vf8c_it-crowd-the-internet_fun [dailymotion.com]

Finest engineer? (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171857)

What open source projects does ESR actively contribute to?

Re:Finest engineer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171907)

... fetchmail, I guess? Does he still do that?

Re:Finest engineer? (3, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172155)

Nope, he wrote his paper and declared it feature complete and bug free. Which means he ignores any bug reports and others have taken over and tried to fix his mistakes. Why not just use fetch mail? [pyropus.ca]

Re:Finest engineer? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171919)

What have you contributed?

Re:Finest engineer? (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172001)

Nobody claims that poster is "one of the finest engineers behind the open source movement" or anything else.

Re:Finest engineer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172181)

Nobody claims that poster is "one of the finest engineers behind the open source movement" or anything else.

That's a bit harsh. Maybe his mother does.

Re:Finest engineer? (4, Informative)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171933)

There are some things listed on his projects [catb.org] page, notably, contributions to ncurses, GNU Emacs, and the termcap/terminfo database. It's not listed, but I seem to remember that he did some work on fetchmail at one point too.

Re:Finest engineer? (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172023)

To quote the fetchmail man page:

Most of the code is from Eric S. Raymond .

Re:Finest engineer? (3, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172115)

Why would anyone actually take credit for having written fetchmail? It's a steaming pile...

Re:Finest engineer? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172359)

Why would anyone actually take credit for having written fetchmail? It's a steaming pile...

Eppur si muove

Re:Finest engineer? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171945)

http://www.catb.org/~esr/software.html

The one that appear that he is most involved in with is gpsd a service daemon that allows Linux to connect to GPS devices.

Recently he created reposurgeon that allows deep level and safe editing of the data in source control packages like git and mercurial.

Re:Finest engineer? (0)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171965)

Have you bothered to have a look at the list of things he's written [catb.org] ? Now, please tell us all about the amazing stuff you've contributed to the community.

Re:Finest engineer? (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172151)

So a bunch of toys that no one uses and none of which is vital to running the Internet. Also, fetchmail is a steaming pile of fail and is routinely mocked as being a shitty program.

Re:Finest engineer? (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172165)

Have you bothered to have a look at the list of things he's written?
I'm sure those are all useful, but if they're considered fantastic feats of open source engineering then the open source community is really in trouble.

Now, please tell us all about the amazing stuff you've contributed to the community.

I don't think one needs to have any specific qualification to question the accuracy of "one of the finest engineers behind the open source movement", any more than someone needs to be tall to question a statement that a moderately tall man is one of the tallest in the world.

Re:Finest engineer? (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172279)

One should do a little research before making posts that question such things. Had the OP taken the time to do that and put forth reasoned arguments based on said research, it would have been an entirely different story.

Hatta knows exactly who ESR is. In truth, I replied to a troll with a lengthy history of such antics, which was foolish of me.

Re:Finest engineer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172127)

Nethack.

Re:Finest engineer? -- "software you use everyday" (4, Informative)

kale77in (703316) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172245)

His claim to have written "software you use everyday" is giflib; he stopped maintaining it in 1994, but it's in lots of browsers and browsing devices.

Re:Finest engineer? (3)

alexborges (313924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172299)

Besides having contributed to many project, you are talking about a guy that branded "open source", went out and sold it succesfully.

Now what the fuck have you done lately?

Or (3, Funny)

Tiger Smile (78220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171863)

Hi. You're going to call off your rigorous investigation. You're going to publicly state that there is no underground group. Or... these guys are going to take your balls. They're going to send one to the New York Times, one to the LA Times press-release style. Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not... fuck with us.

ESR - overhyped... (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171871)

That guy hypes himself way too much.

Re:ESR - overhyped... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171929)

Agreed.. mod up.

Re:ESR - overhyped... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172235)

Also an internet tough guy. A doughy, neckbeard type, into guns, libertarianism, martial arts, and swords. Ugh.
I am very disappoint.

Re:ESR - overhyped... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172391)

Not saying that whenever ESR sees a parade, he runs out in front and starts waving a big stick over his head, but... that's the picture I have in my head. There's often a guy like that.

"Cathedral and the bazaar" was a great essay though, it actually had an impact on Netscape (OK, they were dying at the time and knew it) and others. Props to him for that.

Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171893)

ESR is about to learn a likely painful lesson about how senators don't like to be talked down to. Senators are like judges on meth.

Re:Dumb (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172077)

ESR is about to learn a likely painful lesson about how senators don't like to be talked down to. Senators are like judges on meth.

Get with the times. Cris Dodd isn't a senator anymore, he's been the chairman and CEO of the MPAA for almost a year now.

Re:Dumb (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172255)

Ah, but as he has publicly stated, he owns senators.

Its theirs as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171899)

While I agree with the whole semantics there is a very important detail to keep in mind here. "Our" Internet also means that its partly 'theirs' as well. Quite frankly I'm not too sure if this was a good idea. Because in that same letter he's also giving clear reasons why the politicians could easily ignore the whole thing alltogether. After all: "The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.".

Would I be a politician I'd pick this up as "Great news, so even if we totally screw up it will just repair itself!".

Re:Its theirs as well... (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172199)

The difference is, like typical psychopathic corporate entities, they think it's all theirs. Nothing about the way 'our' was used in that letter excludes the MPAA/RIAA members from participating as citizen users, equals among equals. The "them" in the implied us/them distinction are those who would legislate DRM and censorship on software, media, devices and the infrastructure of the net.

"An anonymous reader writes"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171931)

... Don't you mean, "Eric S. Raymond writes:"?

ESR is a boob (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171937)

"one of the finest engineers behind the open source movement", my posterior.

Nobody elected this self-serving jerk a spokesman. I'm guessing he wrote this up himself. So somebody who doesn't matter is writing to someone who doesn't care what he has to say anyway, and Slashdot prints this as news. Surely something more interesting has to be going on today?

Ghost in the Shell - The prequel 1 (1)

advid.net (595837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171949)

One day, such ideas and souls will infuse into this network of wires and switches, and lead to the emergence of a living entity.

Re:Ghost in the Shell - The prequel 1 (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171993)

That would require emergent behavior. The internet is specifically designed to prevent that from happening. Emergent behaviors are fun academically, but in a global communications network would be a diagnostics nightmare.

Well said. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39171961)

The ruling class may think they are in control - but you are wrong.

As we no longer have a representative Govt., at least at the Federal level, we the people will ignore your tyranny and proceed as we choose. You cannot control the internet - we control it. If you think differently - you are simply wrong.

Dear Congress... (5, Funny)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#39171989)

Dear Congress,

You are damage. We will route around you.

-- the Internet

The Janitor has the keys to every office (1)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172011)

The mason and the carpenter know which walls hold up the building because they built them.
And the IT guy has all the passwords and keys to every router closet.

And management doesn't give a shit what the workerbees think.

This might help him understand what's going on, but he'd never read it either. [theregister.co.uk]

My Open Letter to Chris Todd (3, Funny)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172015)

Dear Senator Todd, You're a tool. Sincerely, Me

Re:My Open Letter to Chris Todd (0)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172253)

Todd, lol. Go Rod Paul!

Well written (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172021)

My first reaction was "wow, ESR writes better than most engineers I've come across." Very well penned, sir.

Also,

Don’t screw with the Internet. Because it will screw you right back.

is destined to become a battlecry...

Re:Well written (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172309)

Yeah, shame about "being silently disappeared". Makes him sound like an idiot.

Re:Well written (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172335)

You mean he writes some of the finest letters of the OSS movement? :0

hahahaha good one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172053)

ESR, one of the finest engineers behind the open source movement

Hahahahaha, what? This is a joke, right? Either this submitter is esr or they've never actually looked at his work. Fetchmail. for example, is a hideous pile of shit. It is a far cry from the output of "one of the finest engineers" of the OSS movement. It's, on the other hand, a prime example of a "debugged into existence" piece of software and after all this time still a piece of junk.

Re:hahahaha good one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172137)

A piece of junk that I, and millions of others use daily. I've relied on fetchmail for a decade now, and it hasn't let me down yet.

Can't say the same about p.o.s. like busybox.

The internet doesn't "route around it" (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172061)

The fact is that there is a serious choke point for the vast majority of users (in the U.S. at least). A handful of big name companies control almost all the broadband ISP's and trunk lines in the U.S. You can't very easily "route around it" if the few providers in your area are censored. In my area, you can choose from 1 cable ISP, 1 DSL ISP, and 3 major cell providers. All five of these are major companies who would bow to the government in an instant if asked. If they were all effectively censored, there would be nowhere to turn save a satellite provider.

There are always ways around censorship for the hardcore techies, of course. But it really wouldn't be that hard to censor the internet for 99% of the population if the government really wanted to.

Re:The internet doesn't "route around it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172161)

What's that you say? There are in fact physical lines and switches, and these can be owned and controlled? Well, I never! I thought it was just a social organism! /Dude quoted in the articles is beyond retarded. Protecting copyright isn't censorship, for starters, and if the internet would just simply route around it then this guy has nothing to worry about.

Re:The internet doesn't "route around it" (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172209)

Types of traffic, yes. But I can imagine heavy encryption becoming far more used by user-to-user type applications as the way to route around most damage/censorship. When ALL packets are heavily encrypted, ports not obvious, and the task to mass decrypt takes (x) amount of time longer than the cost of a dvd, well, the next thing will be banning encryption, so the NEXT thing will be heavy stenography, that slows the net down.
Those cat videos will have embedded warez!

Re:The internet doesn't "route around it" (3, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172243)

There are always ways around censorship for the hardcore techies, of course. But it really wouldn't be that hard to censor the internet for 99% of the population if the government really wanted to.

Don't forget that the hardcore techies export their tech, eventually packaged so the 99% can use it. I remember a short lifetime ago how this argument was used against SSL - no end user would ever use it, because it was too complicated for them. Then a few years later about encrypted hard drives. And now we have a non-tech lady who refuses to decrypt her truecrypt drive.
Yes, the engineers will route around the damage. Yes, it will take time to get it propagated to the masses. But it's inevitable, because the masses don't like being restricted more than their peers, and the engineers have the means to help them.

Re:The internet doesn't "route around it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172265)

There are always ways around censorship for the hardcore techies, of course.

With your ISP limitations? What?!? Do you think "hard-core techies" could make a 100 stage Estes rocket and launch their own satellite?

Re:The internet doesn't "route around it" (1)

lytithwyn (1357791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172319)

In my area, you can choose from 1 cable ISP, 1 DSL ISP, and 3 major cell providers. All five of these are major companies who would bow to the government in an instant if asked. If they were all effectively censored, there would be nowhere to turn save a satellite provider.

Is that you over there across the street from me?

I have the same problem in the area in which I live. We do have a local radio based ISP here (they are calling with wireless DSL, though I don't know anything about the underlying tech or protocols). They're just a couple of guys who run the company out of a local office so I'd say they would be a good censorship circumvention point but I happen to know that their upstream providers are the cable and DSL companies that I have direct access to.

Re:The internet doesn't "route around it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172453)

Screw em, be the ISP. This [ubnt.com] has a range of 31 miles and a throughput of 300Mbit/sec. Buy 2 kits and you can surely make it to a datacenter that has wholesale broadband. A real-world implementation [wirelesscowboys.com] of this equipment achieves 12/3 internet to the user.

Routing around the censorship (4, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172197)

Sometimes when I read

“The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

which appears as a nice and cutesy rainbows and unicorns saying, I get the impression that it actually means

"Fuck off. You don't belong here and we'll subvert anything you try to do that impacts what we want to do"

In an angry, anti-establishment, "we know better than you" superior way.
 
Note that I do believe in a free Internet.

Re:Routing around the censorship (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172289)

Don't lambaste the eloquent genius who gave us the " Anti-Idiotarian manifesto" http://catb.org/~esr/aim/ [catb.org]

Re:Routing around the censorship (1)

fibonacci8 (260615) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172487)

Some people just don't like it when hipsters do the right thing.

Tyler Durden says: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39172315)

Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on: we read your email, we lol your cats, we wifi your broadband, we run your tubes, we guard you while you sleep. We are Legion. Do not fuck with us.

Knock, knock (1)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172317)

Eric: Who is it? Strangers: The people who make you disappear. Eric: Why? Strangers: You stood in the way of them. Eric: Oh.

Epic Quote is Epic (5, Insightful)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172383)

"...there are some things we will not stand having done to our network." (emphasis mine)

That is exactly how I feel. As a Network Engineer myself I share their frustration with old, grumpy, white men who sit on capital hill raining down laws that would effect my job and customers without understanding the technology itself, nor the gravity their actions would have on the Internet community at large. I've watched the hours long C-SPAN videos of the hearings with the SINGLE Google representative they invited as an "expert" only to see her get cut-off and publicly flogged and discredited, while old men who had to read basic networking terms such as "internet", "Internet" (they are not interchangeable), "IP Address" and "DNS" off a prepared piece of paper, listed the "merits" of SOPA/PIPA/ACTA. Especially from a security standpoint, the amount of negative repercussions to censoring the internet along the same lines as China could be catastrophic, and that is before even considering its' effect on free speech.

Unity is a sad pun (4, Interesting)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172461)

This one I remember: ESR's goodbye note [lwn.net]

This one I felt certain I would find: Ubuntu and GNOME jump the shark [ibiblio.org]

The worst, though, is that .config/dconf/user file. One can haggle back and forth about esthetics, and argue that my judgment about what end-users want may be faulty. But burying my configuration inside an opaque binary blob â" that is unforgivably stupid and bad engineering. How did forty years of Unix heritage comes to this? Itâ(TM)s worse than the Windows registry, and perpetrated by people who have absolutely no excuse for not knowing better.

(Failure to properly support Unicode in 2012? You're soaking in it.) ESR longs for the era when when the Unix ethos bound us together. It ends in another bail-out, this time with a less dramatic letter.

Me? Iâ(TM)ve bailed out to KDE. And I may be bailing out of Ubuntu. I want control of my desktop back. I want an applet panel or dock I can edit, I want my focus-follows-mouse-with autoraise back, I want to be able to set my own wallpaper slideshow. Most of all what I want is a window manager that will add to my control of my desktop with each future release rather than subtracting from it.

Maybe the Unix brotherhood has finally jumped the shark. I'm not sure I believe in the political force ESR claims to represent. It feels more like he's writing the letter to convince himself.

Jamie Zawinski was feeling the irritation back in 2003: Cascade of Attention-Deficit Teenagers [jwz.org] . Personally I blame SMS [wikipedia.org] .

Well, I have a leather jacket and a USB fob with Mint 12 to get on with the exorcism before the April EOL on 10.10. I didn't know the open source movement would degenerate into a lifetime occupation of oasis hopping. That was not my original dream.

"finest"? (1, Insightful)

HnT (306652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172471)

ESR, one of the finest engineers behind the open source movement and much of the software we use everyday

Really, this guy is the "finest" we have to offer in terms of open source engineers? The guy who wrote pretty much nothing but "fetchmail" that was of a little significance? The guy who likes to present himself as if he was Linus' real hacker brother despite never having contributed to the kernel? I had really hoped he had FINALLY disappeared...

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