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Whose blogs will be next?

President Obama has made clear how he feels about the internet and blogs. He does not like them much because they have become a source of much criticism. In fact, back in May at a commencement speech at Hampton University in Virginia, he lashed out against the internet, blogs, iPods, iPads, and other platforms:

While knowledge is power, the information age could be too much of a good thing. That's the message some heard in President Obama's weekend commencement speech in which he bemoaned

Speaking at Hampton University in Virginia, the president raised alarms when he said "information becomes a distraction, a diversion" that is putting "pressure on our country and on our democracy."

The president suggested less is more when it comes to absorbing news content and urged graduates to take a skeptical eye toward news from blogs, cable television and radio as well as modern gadgets like iPods and PlayStations.

The class of 2010 is "coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter," the president said, earning an honorary doctorate of laws degree during the ceremony.

"And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- (laughter) -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy," he said.

President Obama didn't have a problem with the Internet, Xboxes, and Playstations back during the 2008 Presidential campaign when he advertised on them in an effort to lure young voters to support his campaign. Now that they are a source of criticism, he says they are dangerous for our democracy.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Barack Obama. But it's not his hypocrisy that's at issue. It's his actions.

Noisyroom.net informs us that the Feds have shut down a free Wordpress platform called Blogetry and its 73,000 blogs. The reason is allegedly copyright/IP infringement. Noisyroom links to TorrentFreak, who writes this:

Blogetery.com has been with host BurstNet for 7 months but on Friday July 9th the site disappeared. The following Monday the owner received an email from BurstNet:
Due to the history of abuse and on going abuse on this 'bn.***********' server.

We have opted to terminate this server, effective immediately. This termination applies to: bn.affiliateplex.com

Abuse Department
BurstNET Technologies, Inc

Due to the fact that the authorities aren't sharing information and BurstNet are sworn to secrecy, it is proving almost impossible to confirm the exact reason why Blogetery has been completely taken down. The owner does, however, admit to handling many copyright-related cease and desists in the past, albeit in a timely manner as the DMCA requires.

Gadgetsteria responds to the copyright/IP infringement accusations:

Blogetery was a collection of WordPress sites, covering some 73,000+ separate entities. Apparently, something ran against the law as BurstNet is citing "law enforcement requests" as the reason the Blogetery was taken down. If that isn't a knee jerk reaction, I don't know what is. I don't care how bad a website is or the content they cater to, instantly shutting down 73,000+ sites because of a few bad ones (the word is that it's copyright/IP infringement related) is a gross over reaction.

I know if I were a legitimate Blogetery customer, having my site knocked out with no explanation as to why or a time frame on when it would be back up would end my relationship with them immediately. Adding insult to injury, BurstNet is claiming they're sworn to secrecy and that the data from the downed sites cannot be retrieved. One vital piece of information that's lost -- the Blogetery owner's contact information, which I'm sure some 73,000 site owners are probably looking for right now.

There really is no excuse to go to such great lengths over IP/copyright infringement claims. If the content is really so bad, why not blacklist/shutdown/delete the infringing sites' accounts? Why take down 73,000+? If this is what we can expect from the U.S. government's new tougher stance on IP infringement and digital laws in general, the future does not look bright. It appears due process is utterly useless now. If this does turn out to be IP/copyright related, we can all assume that since the "fight against piracy" is utter bullshit, the government is simply resorting to shutting down the entire internet small bits at a time.

Finally, Noisyroom.net offers this advice:

Back up your blogs and have alternate forums set up folks. We are being driven underground and a lot faster than I even thought we would be. Have your own server and forge bonds with other bloggers. You can use the wp-db-backup plugin as well.

This is very good advice. I intend to research the feasibility of using my own servers so I can maintain control of my own site.

What makes this even more disturbing is that the Democrats are working to give President Obama the ability to shut down the internet in the name of cybersecurity.


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Comments (48)

The word is copyrig... (Below threshold)
James H:

The word is copyright.

Got it, thanks. Typing too ... (Below threshold)

Got it, thanks. Typing too fast.

Pet peeve of mine, too. I f... (Below threshold)

Pet peeve of mine, too. I fixed one of them, Kim; you must have caught another.

Maybe now people will discuss the actual CONTENT of your article...

J.

From what I can tell I used... (Below threshold)

From what I can tell I used the word twice and fixed both instances.

Be afraid be very afraid! S... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Be afraid be very afraid! So is Obama going to shutter all the blogs on the net or just the conservative ones? Who really believes that Obama is going to shut down the internet? You can't honestly believe this can you? That ranks right up there with the birther conspiracy theorists. I had a good laugh though.....thanks.

How nice, a post rewarding ... (Below threshold)
Deke:

How nice, a post rewarding the moronic right's penchant for paranoia.

Democrats have prevailed in the national elections held since 2005. Clearly we know how to use the internet to stamp out the lies from the right, and we'll do it again in 2010 and 2012 and beyond.

Now somebody erase this comment pronto. The truth isn't allowed on Whizbang.


Lee Ward

Wasn't this guy banned?

Well, Ms Priestap, I thank ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Well, Ms Priestap, I thank you for bringing to my attention a matter I hadn't known much about before. I'll certainly look into it, perhaps starting with the sites you suggest.

But I want to point out that, despite your assertion that, "Now that they are a source of criticism, he says they [blogs, etc.] are dangerous to our democracy," NOWHERE in the excerpt, the FOX News article, or in the speech itself, does Obama use the word "dangerous," or any synonym thereof.

Did you think no one would check to see if maybe, just maybe, you were exaggerating a little?

Bruce, I understand Obama d... (Below threshold)

Bruce, I understand Obama didn't use the word dangerous, which is why I didn't put it in quotation marks. It was my interpretation of this sentence: "[I]t's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy."

They keep it up, they'll ev... (Below threshold)
wtfo:

They keep it up, they'll eventually find out that the alternative to the comment box is the cartridge box.

"...putting new pr... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:
"...putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy."

Indonesia's a democracy?

"They keep it up, they'll e... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

"They keep it up, they'll eventually find out that the alternative to the comment box is the cartridge box."

Now there is an intelligent well thought out comment. If they don't do what you want....shoot them.

Lee Ward was banned, and is... (Below threshold)

Lee Ward was banned, and is now coming back to comment in direct violation of that banning. I figured, since he got so bent out of shape out of others evading his bans, he'd at least respect this one.

Guess I'll have to add another IP to the ban pile...

J.

I see the well-trained Obam... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I see the well-trained Obamabots Lee and Henry immediately jump to the defense of their Obamassiah.

That pesky 1st Amendment keeps getting in the way of Barry's programs. FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court, Barry figures he'll just buy off the papers under the guise of 'stimulus funds'. Aren't newspapers 'too big to fail'?

"Now there is an intelligen... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Now there is an intelligent well thought out comment. If they don't do what you want....shoot them."

Go back and read your US history. Especially the Federalist Papers. You'll get insight into just how much respect the founders had for government. AND I THINK THEY HAD BARRY'S STYLE OF GOVERNMENT IN MIND.

You counting the number of 'unexamined' CZARS Barry has running different things, Jeff? You and you're buddies were upset with the number Bush had. Barry's doubled that. Upset yet? Or still numb above the shoulders?

Lee Ward was banned, and is... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Lee Ward was banned, and is now coming back to comment in direct violation of that banning. I figured, since he got so bent out of shape out of others evading his bans, he'd at least respect this one.

Guess I'll have to add another IP to the ban pile...

J.

So on a post about possible government taking down blogs, restricting free speech, possible censorship.......now it is time to remove posts and ban comments here. Talk about hypocrisy.

Jeff, unless you know the h... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Jeff, unless you know the history of Lee Ward (and have decided to ignore it) - this is a topic you might want to stay away from.

As for Lee. He like Obama will decide what rules apply to then and what don't.

Go back and read your US hi... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Go back and read your US history. Especially the Federalist Papers. You'll get insight into just how much respect the founders had for government. AND I THINK THEY HAD BARRY'S STYLE OF GOVERNMENT IN MIND.

You counting the number of 'unexamined' CZARS Barry has running different things, Jeff? You and you're buddies were upset with the number Bush had. Barry's doubled that. Upset yet? Or still numb above the shoulders?

Thanks for the insight on things I was or am upset about. The onycontin is wearing off....the feelings are starting to come back.

Jeff, Lee's comment was NOT... (Below threshold)

Jeff, Lee's comment was NOT deleted. It's still there.

And he was banned about a week ago, after MONTHS of violating our Terms Of Service. And several years ago, he was banned for pulling the same shit.

That his banning was confirmed on this thread was his choice.

J.

Yes, Jay Tea, I am a gramma... (Below threshold)
James H:

Yes, Jay Tea, I am a grammar/spelling asshole. Certain things leap out at me. That one leapt out at me and tried to implant its eggs in me.

What I want to know and can... (Below threshold)
jim m:

What I want to know and cannot find an answer to is exactly who was shut down by this action? None of the places I frequent were effected by this. Not that that makes a difference.

BUt I agree that this is deeply concerning that the government is deciding to shut down not individual blogs but a service provider. When the government finds it convenient to shut down more ring of center blogs all they will ave to do is dredge up some BS copyright violation by some anonymous fool who uses the same service. It would be easy to do and unsurprising if it were to happen in October.

Has TechCrunch or CNet pick... (Below threshold)
James H:

Has TechCrunch or CNet picked this up? I'd like to see some commentary from the tech journalists before I go off half-cocked.

James H are you suggesting ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

James H are you suggesting that this story is fabricated?

Here's a link for you James... (Below threshold)
jim m:
I think this part of the st... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I think this part of the story is the most disturbing:

Due to the fact that the authorities aren't sharing information and BurstNet are sworn to secrecy, it is proving almost impossible to confirm the exact reason why Blogetery has been completely taken down. The owner does, however, admit to handling many copyright-related cease and desists in the past, albeit in a timely manner as the DMCA requires.

So the federal government shut down a server due to reasons they are unwilling to disclose. It seems unlikely that all 73,000 blogs were in violation of DMCA rules. Given the AP's penchant for going after people who include even a link to an AP story it would be quite possible for the feds to shut down virtually any political or news blog in the same manner.

If this is really a justifiable action the feds should have no reason not to share exactly why they did this. But there is no legal action announced. This amounts to an illegal seizure with the victims having no recourse to recover what was taken and no allegations of a crime having been committed.

No, Jim, I do not suggest t... (Below threshold)
James H:

No, Jim, I do not suggest the story is fabricated. Since my post, I did pick up reports about it on CNet and TechDirt, both of which relied on TorrenFreak as a source.

That said, however, before I go off into hysterics, I want to know more details about the story. And I expect that when some tech journalists focus in the story this upcoming week (as they are likely to do), we may find out more information about the whats and the whyfores behind this move.

That's why I asked the ques... (Below threshold)
jim m:

That's why I asked the question I did above about what were the blogs effected? From the story it seems that they were mostly gaming blogs and the like.

Again it is the manner in which this was done that is disturbing.

If you've got 70k+ blogs on... (Below threshold)
James H:

If you've got 70k+ blogs on your server, that's going to be a buttload of stuff.

Well, there could potential... (Below threshold)
epador:

Well, there could potentially be something sinister going on that was infecting or involving a fair amount of the blogs/server space and the intelligent thing would be to shut it down before what ever hacking or malware got down to further business, or bad folks were using the server for communications.

Or maybe it was a real stupid thing to do.

If its the former they'll likely keep it under wraps until the WAPO gets its hands on it, and if its the latter, well, you'll never hear a straight story.

No one is mentioning IPBFre... (Below threshold)
opinionator:

No one is mentioning IPBFree. The surprise shutdown of IPBFree's free forums may have affected more people than Blogetery. The timing and circumstances are the same. IPBFree is also under a gag order, and the language they use to describe the situation sounds very FBI/Homeland security.

Many innocent bystanders lost their creative work and the record of opinions they had placed online. They lost communities that may have been developing for years. Even if servers had to be taken offline quickly, I don't see why the authorities couldn't just remove anything dicey from the hard drives and return them later. For the innocent bystanders this was an abrogation of civil rights and possibly property theft.

There's also a fairly noisy... (Below threshold)
Arfin Greebly:

There's also a fairly noisy discussion of this over on SlashDot.

Because of the way the Patriot Act was engineered, the .gov can use "terrorism" (or "national security") as a blanket muzzling mechanism, to include a cute deal where they can send you a letter or notification commanding your compliance, and you're not even allowed to reveal that you received such a letter. Consequently, if that card was dealt in this matter, getting at the truth is going to involve a lot of peripheral digging. A little bit like using the absence of light to detect black holes and similar dark bodies.

I've seen plenty of "they must have deserved it" traffic out there. "Deserved" it? Really? REALLY? Some 73,000 guys out there, none of whom know one another, who write everything from their personal navel gazing to their latest conspiracy theory, from recipes to their family dog pictures, from how-my-day-was introspection to tips on how to be broke like they are . . . all of these guys . . . all 73,000 of them are in some way eeevil and daaaanngerous and breaking some obscure (and secret) law, so they're all criminals, and they all deserved to be silenced.

Really?

You know, my wife supported the Patriot Act when it was first released, and I pointed out that it was a really, really bad idea: "look, babe, what does the next administration do with that much power?"


So for all of you who may feel that "whatever the government did, they must have had a good reason," may I suggest that you contemplate how that kind of government power will work in the future, should this go unchallenged. Imagine that kind of blunt instrument in the hands of the opposition party.

If this kind of political club can ever successfully be wielded -- even once -- you may trust that it will eventually be turned against you, personally, or against some entity or cause you support.

I really don't give a rip why the .gov imagines this kind of thuggery is okay. Anyone who values his freedom of speech needs to help smack this down while it's still in the "trial balloon" stage.

~~ A.G.

Ironically, the dems protes... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Ironically, the dems protested loudly about what an infringement on civil rights the Patriot Act was and it turns out that they are the ones most responsible for using the act on citizens to muzzle free speech.

Kim, you're now clinically ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Kim, you're now clinically paranoid.

Im sure wizbang is high on ... (Below threshold)
914:

Im sure wizbang is high on Barry's shutdown list and we will be silenced before November.

Free speech and dissent are not allowed in Barry's world.

Lee, you forgot to put 'RAC... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Lee, you forgot to put 'RACIST BASTARDS' in there.

You're slipping.

Democrats have pre... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
Democrats have prevailed in the national elections held since 2005. Clearly we know how to use the internet to stamp out the lies from the right, and we'll do it again in 2010 and 2012 and beyond.

Is this comment a joke?

By the way, Lee, you forgot... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

By the way, Lee, you forgot to include how you ran Wizbang Blue into the ground, to the point where the administrators of this site had to boot you. You allowed NO dissent from your point of view, banning people left, right and sideways for the sin of disagreeing with you.

Of course, we were all just lying liars who lied, and therefore should have been banned, right?

You took what would have been a viable blog and drove a stake through its heart. Be proud, buddy, 'cause you did YOUR part for free speech!

So now, why don't you go over to Blogspot and do your own blog? I'll even give you a link on my blog (small as it's viewership is) as Jay Tea promised to do here.

Lee is a great example of t... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Lee is a great example of the fascist mindset currently prevalent on the left. No dissent allowed. Stifle freedom of speech. Just look at Pelosi and Reid and how dissent when Bush was in office became instantly sedition when Barry was inaugurated.

Sigh. Lee was furious when ... (Below threshold)

Sigh. Lee was furious when people he banned kept coming back, as he viewed it as some huge moral offense. So, naturally, he considers himself justified in doing precisely what he considered so reprehensible.

Unlike him, I don't intend to get on a high horse and feign some moral outrage. (It's the "moral" part he's feigning; the outrage is real. It's his natural state.) Instead, I'll just keep adding more and more IPs to the banned list.

J.

iwog, Lee's comment is not ... (Below threshold)

iwog, Lee's comment is not a joke, but it is a lie. There has been exactly one "national election" since 2005, and yes, the Democrats won it. The lie is in the plural.

Every other election has been a state election, and of late the trend has been Republican.

J.

lee weird - "A few ha... (Below threshold)
Marc:

lee weird - "A few have bragged about being banned 4 times or more, each time returning using a different alias."

And damn proud of it to!

Especially proud each time I was banned by this jerk it was for no reason other thn expressing a differing opinion OR use of invective AFTER being called os sorts of childish names by le the nitwit.

As per JLawson's suggestion ward get a blog of his own... the bastard isn't honest enough to do so, it was and is much easier to act the leech as he did by writting Blue under the kind auspicies of Kevin.

"Jay Tea was banned from... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Jay Tea was banned from Wizbang Blue and he came back using sock puppets (8 total times). So did dozens of Wizbang commenters. A few have bragged about being banned 4 times or more, each time returning using a different alias."

Well then, why didn't you say so in the first place, Lee?

All I have to do is make a claim that someone else did a bad thing and VOILA! it's okay for me to do it, as long as I use a name that identifies me.

You're so incredibly & intellectually dishonest, Lee.

(It's the "moral" part h... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

(It's the "moral" part he's feigning; the outrage is real. It's his natural state.)

Spring loaded to the "Pissed Off" position, eh? That'd explain a lot...

As per JLawson's suggest... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

As per JLawson's suggestion ward get a blog of his own... the bastard isn't honest enough to do so, it was and is much easier to act the leech as he did by writting Blue under the kind auspicies of Kevin.

Unfortunately, as a parasite he killed his host. Bad adaptation there - you want to keep the host reasonably healthy so you can breed more little parasites to keep the species going.

But Lee's ideology doesn't seem to be breeding so well...

You forgot to capitalize th... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

You forgot to capitalize the 'T' in 'truth', Lee.

Dear lord, are they teaching kids NOTHING these days? When you're monologing you're supposed to put emphasis on the proper words.

His hypocrisy will not get in the way of the truth.

Versus

His hypocrisy will not get in the way of the Truth.

Now seriously, which one is going to sound more over-the-top? If you're going to infest this blog in the 'I'm unstoppable because I bear the TRUTH' manner, then you need to do it PROPERLY.

Or risk being laughed at.

(Well, laughed at even more... you're already pretty ridiculous.)

Wee Lard's absence was so n... (Below threshold)

Wee Lard's absence was so nice while it lasted.

2006? What national electi... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

2006? What national election was that? Recall voting in NJ, with people in NJ, for people from NJ... don't recall voting with people in other states... until 2008.

FYI - it seems that this wa... (Below threshold)

FYI - it seems that this was due to a server containing terrorist information including bomb-making, at least due to the latest information.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/07/19/2052202/Blogetery-Shutdown-Due-To-al-Qaeda-Info

The FBI requested further info on the people involved, and the company apparently chose to shut down everyone on the server instead.

Mind, I'm not saying this makes things any better. I think using terrorism as a bogeyman has reduced too many of our essential freedoms as it is.

Taking out the whole thing ... (Below threshold)
Don:

Taking out the whole thing instead of the individual blogs is like taking out a whole neighborhood because its infested with criminals and terrorists. This smells funny, kinda like a test run to see what reactions would develop. Who will complain, how loudly, any lawsuits, establish precedent, get the people use the government shutting down whole blogging networks for the common good, etc. First they came for Blogetry...




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