Tag Archives: Blogs

It’s the end of the blog as we know it?

No it's not Hannibal, it's a blogger of the future!

It seems like 2010 may perhaps go down in history as a year of astoundingly screwy things happening to the internet. Is this going to be the end of the blog as we know it?

Bloggers seem to be the bane of many who are in power in one way or another. Obama doesn’t seem to like us much, nor do the “warmers” who are really ticked off about the numerous bloggers who don’t believe in global warming. I’m sure many of us give fits to many we oppose.

As of late we seem to be having some “coincidences” going on with blogs that concerns me. It seems the thumb-screws are getting tightened, perhaps to the point where we will not be able to type about much anymore unless it has someone’s seal of approval.

First, we had iPBFree disappear into what seems like a black hole, no explanation, thus far just rumors that they might have been taken down for software violations, RIAA violations, tender of service violations, child pornography, terrorists activity and I’ve even seen one rumor that they went bankrupt.

Then, Blogetery disappeared on July 9, 2010, and thus far hasn’t been seen back in business. There were many rumors afoot, but the accepted explanation is that the FBI sent Burst.net a letter regarding terrorist activity on the Blogetery server that they ran. Then depending upon what explanation you want to believe someone at Burst.net either misunderstood the letter to mean they had to shut the Blogetery server down, or they terminated it because Blogetery wasn’t being responsible in policing their site. Supposedly Burst.net may let Blogetery have their stuff back and make 70,000+ bloggers happy as it appears many never backed their sites up. I  just clicked on http://www.blogetery.com and got the below message.

“After being BurstNet customer for 7 months our server was terminated without any notification or explanation.

You can find more information on CNN, BBC, Fox News, Cnet, geek.com, etc.

We have managed to get our data back. We will be back online in few days!”

We also now have the EU taking aim at bloggers who are skeptical about global warming.  They actually seem to have the intent of passing a law that makes being a global warming skeptic a criminal act. This could make China sound down-right internet friendly if it does pass. It will also set a precedent. If they get away with it then what will be censored or made criminal next? Your guess is as good as mine, but if it pisses off someone in the government or someone with a lot of financial clout, you can bet there will be more instances.

So what next? Well it seems we now get a lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada who’s decided he can get filthy-rich filing copyright lawsuits against bloggers who copy from any of the newspapers he represents. I use the word “filthy” because it’s going to be dirty money he’s getting as far as I’m concerned. So who are we dealing with?

His name is Steve Gibson, he started a firm called Righthaven and they’re going surfing for dollars from bloggers. Find poor little bloggers who dare to cut and paste some stuff from any of the newspapers he purports to represent and he’ll huff and he’ll puff and he’ll sue your ass off. I think he’d rather you agree to a modest settlement, like a few grand and he’s the new owner of your website. Money in his bank and not much expense involved other than some scare tactics. I would imagine that the target group will be small bloggers who don’t have the wherewithal to hire a lawyer but who’ll cough up some cash to avoid spending their retirement fund on legal fees.

According to this article from Wired Magazine, he’s already suing people. You can read all the ins and outs of what his plan of attack is there. I’m not talking about the details, I’m talking about the chilling effect this could have on blogging.

Is this guy really doing this of his own volition? Is he doing this at the behest of the news media? Is he doing this at the behest of someone in the government or other powerful people or an organization who’s using him as a front man? You look at his photo at Wired Magazine and tell me. Does he look smart enough to have come up with such a grand scheme to you? I’ll leave you to decide.

If you think about his plan, it’s certainly a terrific way to silence bloggers. He’s already gotten some settlements and has other lawsuits in the works, with more planned. With all the bloggers about I hope he has a very large staff of attorneys at his beck and call, otherwise he may find himself in over his head. Why? Well, Technorati’s 2008 report on the blogosphere counts  more than 112.8 million blogs out there, and that’s probably not all of them plus it is now 2010.

Were I someone in power in government or someone with a lot of cash to spread around (you can pick your own “Dr. Evil” from a long list of New World Order and other types), it would sound like a beautiful plan to me.  You remain invisible, hire a shill, and hide behind the law, who will force what could be thousands that you don’t like to shut down. Talk about getting rid of the competition, not to mention with 112.8+ million blogs out there you have lifetime job security.

I would call it “legal blackmail.” The “shill” will get to go after people you want to STFU, and make some big dollars as a side benefit. I call it “legal blackmail” because if you sent a threatening letter to someone whose blog you didn’t like you’d be tossed in jail for blackmail. Hire an attorney to do it for you? No problem. You get to pass go, say hi to the Judge and collect a big wad of cash. You don’t even need that old get out of jail free card if you’re a lawyer you can rest easy, the legal system has your back. As long as an attorney is doing the blackmail it’s perfectly OK in many instances.

Right now, from what I read, Gibson’s “client” is Stephens Media, LLC in Arkansas. They own the following media. If you’re a blogger you might want to consider never quoting from any of their papers or their “shill,” “attorney,” or whatever term you like, may be sending you a message you don’t want to get.

Arkansas

  • Booneville Democrat – Booneville, AR
  • Cabot Star-Herald – Cabot, AR
    • Cabot Weekly
  • Carlisle Independent – Carlisle, AR
  • Charleston Express – Charleston, AR
  • Fayetteville Free Weekly – Fayetteville, AR
  • Greenwood Democrat – Greenwood, AR
  • Hot Springs Village Voice – Hot Springs Village, AR
  • Jacksonville Patriot – Jacksonville, AR
  • Lonoke Democrat – Lonoke, AR
  • Morning News of Northwest Arkansas – Springdale, AR
  • Paris Express – Paris, AR
  • Pine Bluff Commercial – Pine Bluff, AR
    • The Market Place
    • The White Hall Progress
  • Press Argus Courier – Van Buren, AR
    • Alma Journal
  • Sherwood Voice – Sherwood, AR
  • Southwest Times Record – Fort Smith, AR
  • The Maumelle Monitor – Maumelle, AR
  • The Times – North Little Rock, AR
  • Van Buren County Democrat – Clinton AR
  • Washington County Newspapers
    • The Lincoln Leader
    • The Prairie Grove Enterprise
    • The Farmington Post

Hawaii

  • 808 Classifieds – Hilo, HI
  • Big Island Weekly – Hilo, HI
  • Hawaii Tribune-Herald – Hilo, HI
  • North Hawaii News – Waimea, HI
  • West Hawaii Today – Kailua-Kona, HI
    • North Hawaii News
    • Big Island, HI
    • Westside Weekly

Missouri

  • McDonald County Newspapers
    • The Anderson Graphic The Goodman News-Dispatch
    • The McDonald County News-Gazette
    • The McDonald County Press
    • The Southwest City Republic
    • El Tiempo

Nevada

  • Ely Times – Ely, NV
  • Eureka Sentinel – Eureka, NV
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal – Las Vegas, NV
    • View Neighborhood Newspapers
    • El Tiempo
    • Las Vegas CityLife
    • Las Vegas Business Press
    • Rebel Nation
    • New Homes Guide
    • Luxury Las Vegas
    • Southern Nevada Home And Garden Magazine
    • Nifty Nickel
    • Neighborhood Shopper
    • Jobs Today Weekly
  • Pahrump Valley Times – Pahrump, NV
  • Tonopah Times-Bonanza – Tonopah, NV

North Carolina

  • Courier-Tribune – Asheboro, NC

Oklahoma

  • Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise – Bartlesville, OK
  • Pawhuska Journal-Capital – Pawhuska, OK

Tennessee

  • The Daily Herald – Columbia, TN
    • The Advertiser News Of Spring Hill And Thompson’s Station
    • Franklin Life
    • Brentwood Life

Texas

  • Anna-Melissa Tribune – Anna, TX
  • Herald Democrat – Sherman, TX
    • Grayson County Shopper
  • Lake Texoma Life – Van Alstyne, TX
  • Prosper Press – Prosper, TX
  • Van Alstyne Leader – Van Alstyne, TX

Washington

  • The Daily World – Aberdeen, WA
    • The North Coast News
    • The South Beach Bulletin
    • East County News
  • The Montesano Vidette – Montesano, WA

It’s too early to tell if we have coincidences or a conspiracy, a creative attorney or a “shill.”  I do think the compass needle is pointing in the conspiracy direction. Time will tell. If we start having more “coincidences” I’m really going to start wondering what is happening to the first amendment.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Copyright, Crime, Government, Internet, Lawsuits, Punishment

Do recent blog shutdowns portend problems for free speech and cloud computing?

Per this item at CO2 Insanity we have two blogs that were alleged to have been shut down recently by some secret government action that no one can talk about under penalty of prosecution, or perhaps just being thrown in jail.  Who really knows what the government can get away with the Patriot Act in place?

There are various suspicions floating around the internet that this might be an act of suppression under the guise of a false flag. Having over 70,000 blogs shut down in an instant makes me wonder. We also have other people wondering if it’s due to child pornography, RIAA violations (people sharing illegal music and movies), copyright violations, software violations, the mafia, men from Mars, you name it.

iPBFree was also shut down just before Blogetery, possibly for any of the aforementioned reasons.  There’s even one rumor I found that claims they merely went bankrupt.  Who knows? Like Blogetery, no one’s talking about it, which again raises suspicions.

Regardless, people have lost entire websites if they didn’t back up regularly, or some of their website(s) if they backed up prior to this event, but had some of their data on the server that had not been backed up yet. Losing a blog isn’t going to kill anybody, but it’s still someone’s labor of love and why should they lose it because of something someone else did? That’s not the United States I was born in.  That could be likened to arresting me and locking me up because the neighbor down the street shot his wife.

In any event I would think that whoever shut them down could let people know why in very basic terms without jeopardizing any investigations or prosecutions, but we seem to only get silence.  The more silence the more suspicious I become that it’s perhaps some way to abort dissension.

To get to cloud computing, I’m no computer geek, but I liken hosting a website or blog on a host server somewhere out in cyberspace, to be very similar to what’s going on with cloud computing. All your data is floating around on someone’s server that’s someplace else, and beyond your physical control. There some big companies spending huge money on cloud computing, being touted as the wave of the future.  What’s going to happen to could computing if the government can shut down servers at will with no questions asked and no answers offered? Think anyone is going to get very excited about using it? I don’t.

Many are already cloud computing, even if they don’t realize it.  If you have a web-based e-mail account on Yahoo, Google, Hotmail, etc., you already are on the cloud.  It’s your personal e-mail, but it’s on a server that is not your property and you have no control over what happens to it.  Like the people who used Blogetery or iPBFree, you could awaken one morning and find your e-mail is inaccessible because the government didn’t like what was in someone else’s e-mail account and confiscated the whole server and since your e-mail account was on that server, it’s now gone and you will never see it again.

Another example is that if you have documents at Google Documents, for example, you’re really cloud computing.  What if you kept all of your business documents there and the government found an Al Qaeda website on that server and confiscated the entire server from Google and your business documents were all on their “cloud.” You would be in real hot water, that’s what. I’d assume Google would have backups, but what if those servers were taken along with the main one because it had the same stuff on it?  Then what are you going to do? Call Ghost Busters?

Same with Photobucket, Picassa and other websites that host photographs.  Want all your treasured family photos to disappear in an instant because the government pulled the plug because someone else’s account had child porn on it? I think not, but based on what’s going on I have to question if this could indeed happen some day.

This is something new, interesting and very scary to me, as it should be to you.  Realistically, you can’t keep your blog, documents or family photos on someone else’s server because that’s now in danger.  The precedent has been set, at least one time, and perhaps two times.  The Chinese aren’t shy about doing things like this either. When they decide they’ve had enough noise from the dissident community, they start pulling plugs. Something I’d expect there, but I don’t expect would happen here in the United States of America.

There’s also, per the article on CO2 Insanity, a move afoot in the European Union to make one a criminal if one dares to be skeptical about global warming.  I guess they never heard of free speech over there, and I’m wondering if free speech in the US is going to be a dead horse in the near future? Or, perhaps it already is and we don’t realize it?  Imagine a law being passed that it was a felony to talk bad about the president and if you did you’d be arrested and your computer data confiscated? Probably won’t happen, but it’s one possibility, based upon the one thing leads to another theory.  Think of your blog as the proverbial frog in a frying pan that, when the heat is turned up slowly, doesn’t realize he’s being cooked until it’s too late.  They take away a freedom here and a freedom there, and pretty soon you wake up and some Hugo Chavez wannabe is your president and all you get on radio, TV and the internet 24 x 7 is government approved news and propaganda.  Can’t happen?  Ask people in China, Myanmar, Venezuela and Cuba.

You can also look at the mainstream media (MSM) and see trends there, too.  Seems that the liberal left-wing newspapers, magazines and websites can publish all the left-leaning, pro-global warming articles they like and no one complains. They also seem to completely ignore a lot of things because the don’t go with the liberal agenda.

Places like MSNBC and CNN seem to have a penchant for all things left and blast or ignore anything more than a few degrees right of center.  As an example I often wonder if Chris Matthews is in love with Obama? You can also listen to the “wonderful” rants of Keith Olbermann or Rachael Maddow and see what I mean.  Don’t take my word for it, if you haven’t watched either of them you’re missing what I consider to be excellent comedy.  I do think Keith would be better if he foamed at the mouth once in a while, it would be a nice touch.

If you’re like Fox TV, and have a contrary view of things with some right-leaning commentators, then the left will regularly slam you. You can say the same thing about talk radio, which is also becoming a favorite whipping-boy of the left. They complain constantly about radio personalities who aren’t left-leaning.  Frankly I think they’d be extremely happy if they could silence them.  It works for Hugo Chavez, why not them?  I think they’re envious of old Hugo’s special powers as El Presidente’.

Another example is Sarah Palin.  Like her or not she often gets attacked by the left, who I’m sure would love to block her Twitter account. Let her put a couple of notes on her palm during a speech and the left comes unglued, while it matters to them not that Obama doesn’t appear to be able to say anything without a teleprompter in front of him.  I sometimes wonder if he has one in front of him at the dinner table.  However, one gaff from George W. Bush and the left media would rant about it for days on end. Don’t even get me started on Joe “What foot am I putting in my mouth today?” Biden.

These are all examples of how if you’re on the left you’re always right, but if you’re on the right you’re always wrong, or ignored. Is this going to have some chilling effects in the future? Will all right leaning blogs get terminated and all left-wing blogs get free hosting from the government? I don’t know. I’m hoping the recent server shutdowns are legitimate, time will tell.

I’m now watching WordPress. If they pull the plug on that, then I’m going to feel about 99% certain that there is something going on here that’s very clear.

I hope we don’t have some Insane Minds running around pulling plugs on servers just because they don’t like the general content.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cloud Com;puting, Crime, Insane Minds, Internet, Punishment