Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clocks

Posts tagged "Internet"

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Joan McCarter at Daily Kos


Don’t ask for your privacy. Take it back. Today we #ResetTheNet to stop mass spying. Encrypt everything! Learn how:


John Oliver has created the most entertaining—and most informative— explanation of net neutrality ever. Watch it here:


A new law goes into effect in Russia on August 1, 2014, and if major American companies obey it, it might just kill the entire Internet.

As part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing consolidation of power and crackdown on dissent, a new Russian law will go into effect on August 1, requiring any social media company with readers in Russia to store all of its sensitive user data in Russia, on Russian servers, and make that data available to the Russian authorities, on demand, without a court order.

Oh, but it gets better. The user data the Russians are demanding be kept in Russia, and made available to the government at will, isn’t restricted to Russian social media fans. The legislation requires companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook to keep all of their user data, including yours and mine, on Russian servers, and to turn that data over to the Russian government whenever they ask for it.

Since the law’s passage the Russian government has threatened to block Twitter, Google and Facebook in Russia if they don’t abide by the new law, then turned around and said they’d never block those sites, then hinted again that they just might.

Why are the Russians doing this? So that they can find the identity of someone who writes a tweet, or a comment on Facebook, that they don’t like — and send him and his family to a gulag.

The new social media law comes at the same time as another amendment requiring bloggers to register with the government and to abide by the country’s laws governing the mass media. Again, the new law, part of a larger anti-terrorism bill, is meant to stifle dissent, by getting rid of the shield of anonymity, and subject bloggers to additional laws which give the government additional crimes with which to charge dissenters.

The blogger bill is particularly onerous as it covers anyone who receives more than 3,000 “visitors,” and that appears to include people with more than 3,000 Twitter followers, or possibly anyone who writes a tweet that’s read by more than 3,000 people.

What’s fascinating, and telling, is that while the Russian government increasingly clamps down on the Internet, and attempts to continually remove opposition political content from the Web, the Putin regime has done nothing about a nationwide network of Russian neo-Nazis who continue to use an Internet portal controlled by one of Putin’s favorite oligarchs to perpetrate and advertise the serial abduction and torture of gay, black and Jewish Russians. The neo-Nazis claim to have conducted nearly 1,500 kidnappings in the past two years alone.

As I’ve written before, the site is called VKontakte, aka, and was created and run by Russian social media entrepreneur Pavel Durov, until he was recently run out of the country, and the site was taken over by Alisher Usmanov, the richest man in Russia and a friend of Putin.  The neo-Nazi gangs, which operate under the umbrella of a group called “Occupy Pedophilia,” openly use VKontakte to post “help wanted” ads seeking assistance with the kidnappings, and then post videos of the abductions, and subsequent torture of their victims, on

To date, there are nearly 4,000 such “gay snuff” films, as I call them (though the victims don’t die, they surely wish they were dead) on VKontakte, and the company refuses to remove them, the profiles of the kidnappers, the abduction help wanted ads, or anything else connected to the criminal enterprise.  VK’s refusal to enforce even its own terms of service in this area caused the state of California’s pension fund, CalPERS, to divest from two of Usmanov’s companies, and MegaFon, just last week.

Here is a snippet of one of the 4,000 kidnapping videos from VKontakte. In the original, you can hear their kidnapper singing while the men, in tears, are forced to dance on camera after having their heads shaved and painted. VK claims that these videos, taken by kidnappers of their victims being tortured, and broadcast on the Internet, in a country that is supremely homophobic, in order to destroy the lives of the victims, is “free speech.”

vk gay kidnaping

Two presumably gay men, kidnapped, and forced to dance with each other while the neo-Nazi leader sings in the background. The men’s heads were shaved down the middle and a rainbow flag was painted on their scalp. The video was then posted on VKontakte.

VK says it simply can’t remove the videos unless the victims themselves come forward as ask for them to be removed. Some of the victims are as young as 13 years of age, and agreed to meet their captors after being told they’d be paid for sex. So if those victims came forward, they could be charged with a crime. Let alone, VKontakte is expecting a possibly-gay 13 year old to out themselves to a company tied to the exceedingly homophobic Russian government.

Yes, “free speech.”

But more interesting than’s complicity in these ongoing hate crimes is the Russian government’s refusal to do anything to stop them.  There’s been no indication that the Russian government has asked (or demanded that) VK to stop aiding and abetting the kidnappings, and the government itself refuses to arrest the kidnappers, whose identities in many cases are already known.

This goes to a larger problem with the Russian government embracing a new wave of fascism to achieve its neo-colonial goals on its boarders, and worldwide.  While claiming it intervened in Ukraine to stop “Nazis,” the Russian government is actually using neo-Nazi and far-right groups to further its policy goals, such as Occupy Pedophilia’s nationwide network in Russia.  There was a fantastic article on this in the New Republic recently, by Timothy Snyder, which I highly recommend.

More from Snyder – it’s a long piece, and well worth the read if you care about the Ukrainian issue, or the broader problem that is Russia:

People who criticize only the Ukrainian right often fail to notice two very important things. The first is that the revolution in Ukraine came from the left. It was a mass movement of the kind Europeans and Americans now know only from the history books. Its enemy was an authoritarian kleptocrat, and its central program was social justice and the rule of law. It was initiated by a journalist of Afghan background, its first two mortal casualties were an Armenian and a Belarusian, and it was supported by the Muslim Crimean Tatar community as well as many Ukrainian Jews. A Jewish Red Army veteran was among those killed in the sniper massacre. Multiple Israel Defense Forces veterans fought for freedom in Ukraine.

A pro-Nazi post from

A pro-Nazi post from

The Maidan functioned in two languages simultaneously, Ukrainian and Russian, because Kiev is a bilingual city, Ukraine is a bilingual country, and Ukrainians are bilingual people. Indeed, the motor of the revolution was the Russian-speaking middle class of Kiev. The current government, whatever its shortcomings, is un-self-consciously multiethnic and multilingual. In fact, Ukraine is now the site of the largest and most important free media in the Russian language, since important media in Ukraine appears in Russian and since freedom of speech prevails. Putin’s idea of defending Russian speakers in Ukraine is absurd on many levels, but one of them is this: People can say what they like in Russian in Ukraine, but they cannot do so in Russia itself. Separatists in the Ukrainian east, who, according to a series of opinion polls, represent a minority of the population, are protesting for the right to join a country where protest is illegal. They are working to stop elections in which the legitimate interests of Ukrainians in the east can be voiced. If these regions join Russia, their inhabitants can forget about casting meaningful votes in the future.

This is the second thing that goes unnoticed: The authoritarian right in Russia is infinitely more dangerous than the authoritarian right in Ukraine. It is in power, for one thing. It has no meaningful rivals, for another. It does not have to accommodate itself to domestic elections or international expectations, for a third. And it is now pursuing a foreign policy that is based openly upon the ethnicization of the world. It does not matter who an individual is according to law or his own preferences: The fact that he speaks Russian makes him a Volksgenosse requiring Russian protection, which is to say invasion. The Russian parliament granted Putin the authority to invade the entirety of Ukraine and to transform its social and political structure, which is an extraordinarily radical goal. The Russian parliament also sent a missive to the Polish foreign ministry proposing a partition of Ukraine. On popular Russian television, Jews are blamed for the Holocaust; in the major newspaper Izvestiia, Hitler is rehabilitated as a reasonable statesman responding to unfair Western pressure; on May Day, Russian neo-Nazis march….

russian gays occupy pedophilia

Russian neo-Nazi leader Maxim Martsinkevich painted the Star of David on this Ukrainian abducted. His head was shaved, a rainbow flag was painted on it, and he was forced to pose with a sex toy. The abductees are usually beaten as well.

Russian propaganda insists to Westerners that the problem with Ukraine is that its government is too far to the right, even as Russia builds a coalition with the European far right. Extremist, populist, and neo-Nazi party members went to Crimea and praised the electoral farce as a model for Europe. As Anton Shekhovtsov, a researcher of the European far right, has pointed out, the leader of the Bulgarian extreme right launched his party’s campaign for the European parliament in Moscow. The Italian Fronte Nazionale praises Putin for his “courageous position against the powerful gay lobby.” The neo-Nazis of the Greek Golden Dawn see Russia as Ukraine’s defender against “the ravens of international usury.” Heinz-Christian Strache of the Austrian FPÖ chimes in, surreally, that Putin is a “pure democrat.” Even Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, recently shared Putin’s propaganda on Ukraine with millions of British viewers in a televised debate, claiming absurdly that the European Union has “blood on its hands” in Ukraine.

It’s really quite fascinating that our pique with Russia over its treatment of gays, and the Kremlin’s refusal to do anything about the neo-Nazi menace at home, fits nicely into a larger context of Putin’s grand plan to recreate a mini-me version of the Soviet Union. It’s not surprising, I suppose, that the gay issue has proven itself a window into Putin’s soul, as it were, but it is fascinating. And scary.


Advocates on all sides of the net neutrality debate are gearing up for an intense battle for Internet freedom after the agency approved a controversial plan. After a 3-2 vote Thursday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the agency would move forward with a set of rules that could make pay-for-faster Internet deals between websites or mobile applications and broadband companies more common. The public has until July 15 to comment on the rules, and activists are ready to make that window count.

The party-line decision led by Democrats came after weeks of demonstrations and debate on how the FCC should best protect the Internet and ensure open and free-flowing access. The two Republican commissioners who voted against the proposal would go further, eliminating any and all net neutrality rules on the grounds that they’re unnecessary. Last week, a group of nearly 200 tech companies and investors appealed to the FCC, urging that it not go forward with its fast-track plan. An online campaign led by, a liberal advocacy group, spread across some corners of the Web where supporters posted a “Save the Internet” picture on their social media profiles. Verizon, AT&T and other broadband providers also petitioned the FCC this week, insisting Wheeler back off a proposal that could translate into stricter regulations for the companies. Protesters camped outside of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headquarters in Washington, D.C. ahead of the decision.

Net neutrality defenders and opponents ultimately walked away from Thursday’s meeting with mixed feelings. “The Internet is a place of dialogue and interdependence, and [the FCC’s proposal] threatens that,” said Yoni Galiano, a 28-year-old massage therapist from Long Island, N.Y. who camped out in front of the FCC building for a week leading up to Thursday’s vote.

People can get their message out at little to no cost on the Internet, and the FCC’s pay-to-play model jeopardizes that, Rain Burroughs, an activist from Richmond, Va., who camped out and protested in front of the agency for three days before the hearing, told ThinkProgress. “We need the people to be aware of what’s at stake, it’s a First Amendment issue…This is how people communicate, especially activists,” she said.

The activists worry that the new rules may impede customer Web access by allowing Internet providers such as Comcast to control what kinds of content customers can get, and at what speed, through charging hefty fees to websites or mobile applications such as Netflix. As a result, even companies that do pay for priority access could pass those extra costs to consumers.

Thursday’s plan differs slightly from an earlier version released last month. Fast track plans would be permitted as long as broadband providers didn’t slow down customers’ connections they pay for every month. The FCC said it would also make sure any deals with Internet providers that promised fast-track access would be heavily scrutinized before they could be approved. Wheeler’s new plan, which was penned earlier this week, also offers an alternative in which the Internet would be treated as a common carrier or utility, similarly to electricity and water.

Broadband companies took major issue with the FCC’s plan, saying the common utility proposal that would subject them to crippling regulations. “For the FCC to impose 1930s utility regulation on the Internet would lead to years of legal and regulatory uncertainty and would jeopardize investment and innovation in broadband,” Verizon said in a statement. Comcast echoed the same sentiment, saying treating the Internet as a utility “would spark massive instability” and “kill jobs in America.”

The two Republican commissioners on the FCC board who voted against the plan also say the rules are unnecessary and should be scrapped altogether. “Prioritization is not a bad word,” Commissioner Michael O’Rielly told the Wall Street Journal. “It is a necessary component of reasonable network management.”

Source: Lauren C. Williams for ThinkProgress


New FCC rules could let internet providers (think: Comcast) end net neutrality and slow down sites like Netflix and Tumblr. The vote on proposed rules is today!
Use Tumblr to take a stand. Share this image, and add this code to your Tumblr theme.


New FCC rules could let internet providers (think: Comcast) end net neutrality and slow down sites like Netflix and Tumblr. The vote on proposed rules is today!

Use Tumblr to take a stand. Share this image, and add this code to your Tumblr theme.


The plan the FCC has approved in regards to allowing paid priority for internet bandwidth has not been adopted yet. It has been approved, but they are now in the public comment phase.

This means there is still time.

Call the FCC.

  1. Dial 888-225-5322
  2. push 1, 4, 0 (Edit: These options may have changed)
  3. a person will answer.
  4. they will ask for your name and address. you can just give them a zip code if you want.
  5. Tell them, “I’m calling to ask the FCC to reclassify Internet Service Providers as Title Two Common Carriers.”
  6. They’ll ask if there is anything else you would like to add.
  7. "No, Thank you for your time."
  8. hang up.

Last I heard, there was a message asking to send them an e-mail. Don’t do that, call them and talk to them directly.

call your representatives and Senators.

  1. Go to
  2. type in your zip code
  3. Call the listed DC phone number.
  4. Follow the instructions to reach a person.
  5. Mention you are a constituent, give some details showing constituency, like an address, school district or zip code.
  6. Tell them, "I’m calling to ensure that my representatives and senators demand the FCC reclassify Internet Service Providers as Title Two Common Carriers. Net Neutrality is essential to me, my family and our community. "
  7. Thank the person talking to you for their time.

Tell the FCC chairman to stop the Internet Slow Lane Plan (Citizens of any country)

  1. Go to
  2. Fill in the form to the right
  3. Hit send.


h/t: Marguerite Reardon at CNET


TPP appears to push major restrictions on the free flow of internet content, life-saving medicine and much more. If only we could see it!


The FCC is proposing rules to end net neutrality - the Internet needs to stop this from happening:

Signal Boost, minions.



The FCC is proposing rules to end net neutrality - the Internet needs to stop this from happening:

Signal Boost, minions.


Oh boy. TC Sottek just published an editorial on the failure of the FCC. Earlier today the WSJ reported that the FCC is planning on proposing new ‘net neutrality’ laws that fly in the face of everything that net neutrality is.

The internet is fucked, and the US government is making it worse.

Political cowardice caused the FCC to lose its first battle for net neutrality regulation: the rules that keep the internet as you know it free and open. The idea of net neutrality is that all traffic is created equal — whether you’re a movie streaming from Netflix, or a WhatsApp message, or a Tweet, or a bulletin board message. But according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, instead of trying to correct the errors it made in open internet rules the first time around, the FCC will consider enacting new rules that directly destroy the principles of net neutrality. The proposal would allow profit hungry behemoths like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon to become gatekeepers that give preferential treatment to companies that pay the most for special access to customers.

I know I freaked out when Netflix decided to pay Comcast to ensure it’s customers could stream movies, but it was for good reason. With this new agreement corporations can pay to get preferential treatment. It’s basically the worst idea ever. Read TC’s editorial. 

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

h/t: Ben Armbruster at Think Progress World

h/t: Ben Armbruster at Think Progress World


Twitter is investigating reports that the service was blocked in Turkey late Thursday after Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned at a rally that he will “eradicate Twitter” and had a court order to do so.


#ALERT | #Twitter has been blocked by the government in #Turkeynow!

“In the ongoing situation, Twitter has remained indifferent to remove certain links despite court orders favoring the citizens of the Turkish Republic,” Erdogan’s office said in a statement published by the Turkish website Sabah and translated by Al Monitor. “We came to [the] conclusion that in order to relieve our citizens, there is no way left beyond blocking Twitter, which disregards court orders, does not obey the rule of law.”

At a daily press briefing on Thursday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “As we have previously stated, we remain very concerned by any suggestion that social media sites could be shut down. Democracies are strengthened by the diversity of public voices.

“An independent and unfettered media is an essential element of democratic, open societies, and crucial to ensuring official transparency and accountability”

As the news spread, Twitter offered users a way to bypass the ban by tweeting via text message.

Turkish users: you can send Tweets using SMS. Avea and Vodafone text START to 2444. Turkcell text START to 2555.

Twitter users in Turkey and abroad immediately shared information on how to bypass the ban via SMS and VPN. From inside Turkey,#TwitterIsBlockedInTurkey and #DictatorErdoganbegan to trend within hours.


#twitter blocked in #turkey tonight. folks are painting #google dns numbers onto the posters of the governing party.

In spite of ‘block’ there have been 272K tweets using#TwitterisblockedinTurkey in past 3hrs. 207K of those from Turkey itself.

Erdogan – who is currently fighting corruption allegations and waves of anti-government protests – has made repeated threats against social media users. Memes mocking the embattled Erdogan and his latest media crackdown also circulated widely.


12 milyon kullanጜısı olan #Twitter'a erişim engellendi! Dünyada sadece 2 ülkede yasak!


a list of apps on an average turkish phone. in case.


All these jokes/pics about death of Twitter in Turkey? I see them all from tweeps tweeting FROM Turkey.RT @DTJ_Online


"So?.. What’s wrong? Everyone is still tweeting…"

Source: Miriam Berger for Buzzfeed