it’s like every couple of months
Congress tries to break the Internet
it’s not broke, but
because of the inherent newness and untamed
nature of this borderless digital network
you’ve heard the Internet is like the wild west, yes
Congress but really, corporations, can’t help themselves
they poke, prod, speculate and nod, entertain scheming big business
lobbyists in expensive shoes and fat wallets
who want even bigger pockets
Think of the profits!!! undiscovered gold mines
except the gold mined
is fines and fees imposed on the masses
so yes, every time Congress tries to break the Internet,
large corporations have nudged them to it
this time, all the buzzing around Net Neutrality is no different
what is at stake is that noble principle
of all data as equal
the headlines are not hyperbole
the Internet that has existed since its creation can be destroyed
the way we live online now is aggressively under attack
let me tell you
but first, acknowledge how horrible the phrase Net Neutrality is
Net Neutrality is not about a neutral Net refusing to take sides
as if there is a bad Net and a good Net,
the Web is not Switzerland in World War II okay
Swiss Miss is not crossing her arms and refusing to participate
in a grand debate over morals and intentions
there is just the genderless Net,
a grid of neon spider lines whose glow encompasses the globe
URLs and IPs, servers in their farms, cables and tubes
underground and under the sea
no where and every where
the Net is a soulless ephemeral
yet also physical
object beyond Good and Evil
and if we must use the term, we are actually living in the Good Net
right now: fair and open to all
but should Net Neutrality fall
we would descend into a dark lair where
the lowest income bracket could no longer afford
the knowledge of the world
streaming packets in their small pockets
eternal class warfare
Net Neutrality prevents mega-corporations from dictating
what you see and when you see it
freedom for the thinking man
in the access to your favorite web address
Net Neutrality lets you go where you choose, and everyone goes
the same speed
there’s no win or lose
no toll to pay to Verizon and Comcast
to board the fast lane
Call your congressman today, leave a message after the beep,
and let them know the FCC’s plan to abandon Net Neutrality
does not serve the interests of the American people
proposing to restrict and gate the cyber realm
ignores the past and denies all mankind
the greatest tool since fire, the wheel and sliced bread
a version of this poem originally appeared in 2014 on NewHive for LadyBits. I’ve uploaded it here with some tweaks in honor of today’s Net Neutrality protest
This article appeared on the TouchVision website June 5th, 2015. I am reuploading it today because I am about to publish an article on Forbes where I reference this material.
The social experiment known as the Button has ended, and people still don’t know what it was really about. And maybe that is the point.
On April Fool’s Day, Reddit announced a new site feature, a button with a 60-second timer that you could only press once. Pressing the Button reset the timer, keeping everyone guessing when and if it would ever run down to zero. Pressers received a color badge to represent what time they pressed. It was all very mysterious and vague, and the Reddit community proceeded to treat it like a role-playing game, concocting elaborate stories, religions and color-based factions about what the Button was, figuratively, and what would happen when the timer ran out. Art, data visualizations and applications, thoughtful discussions and flame wars flourished.
This article appeared on the TouchVision website May 8th, 2015. I am reuploading it today because I am about to publish an article on Forbes where I reference this material. This particular post was also picked up by PBS Digital, and mentioned in their video about the subject.
What can a meaningless Button on the Internet tell us about society? A lot, actually.
Since April 1, denizens of the online community Reddit have been embroiled in a heated debate over a game involving a simple Button with a timer next to it. The one rule in this game? You can push the Button only once, and only if you created your account before April 1.
To push, when to push or not to ever push the Button is the question, and it turns out, people have very strong opinions on the matter. Over the past month, the mysterious Button has inspired distinctive factions based on colors, philosophies and religions, as well as data tools, art, poetry, comics, merchandise and even graduate school theses. One user named Psychotic Whispers said in an interview the Button is God. It’s become a long-running, role-playing exercise to many. To others, it’s a discussion on the meaning of life. Whatever it is, more than 800,000 people have pushed the Button to date.
Originally launched on April Fool’s Day as a social experiment via a brief blog post, Reddit proper hasn’t commented on its invention since. Reddit Director of Outreach Ashley Dawkins explained in an email they are not commenting on purpose so as to not interfere with the experiment.
The post originally appeared on the TouchVision website in August of 2015 until January 2016 when the company closed down. Given the recent 8chan controversy over archiving and child porn, I thought I would upload it here.
Sometime on Aug. 12, Google took a rather monumental step by delisting 8chan, an imageboard largely known as the central hive for pro-GamerGate supporters. But then a few days later, it seems Google changed its mind, as the site began appearing again in search listings, some links with a warning.
Google did not respond to a request for comment about this flip-flopping, but that’s not the real issue, here. It’s clear, now, years after its debut, that 8chan should remain delisted, aka not show up in search results, permanently. By delisting 8chan, Google would set a major precedent for how to quell harassment, especially of women, on the web, as we wait for laws and legislation to catch up with technology — after all, most of the high profile cases, especially in GamerGate, have stemmed from 8chan.
Besides being the central hub for GamerGate, that vitriolic movement of busybodies who crusade to eradicate progressive values in video gaming and related journalism (mainly by harassing women), 8chan is also known for its robust pedophilia community. Child abuse in the form of sexualized images of children is apparently why Google delisted 8chan in the first place. Or that was the reason given in (the lack of) search results, anyway. The warning now shows up in search — “suspected child abuse content” — for certain 8chan listings. Read the rest of this entry »
This article originally appeared on the TouchVision TV website before it shut down. Reuploading here because it deserves to live somewhere on the internet forever –
One night during her senior year at Rutgers University, Joanna Angel was up late with her roommate, talking about what they were going to do once they graduated. He flippantly suggested they start a porn site together, and after laughing about it for a minute, she agreed.
The site, named Burning Angel (NSFW) after Angel’s tattoo of an angel and a devil on her back, was launched less than a year later, from the duo’s post-college apartment in Brooklyn. Angel was barely 21 years old at the time, and she quickly went from being a film and English student at Rutgers waiting tables to becoming one of the most well-known names in the porn world for her work as an alternative, award-winning tattooed performer, producer and writer.
“I couldn’t have existed without the Internet,” Angel said. “I didn’t want a boring job and I didn’t want to become part of the corporate world, I wanted to start something myself.”
Angel’s story of independence and entrepreneurship as a young woman in the adult entertainment industry is common, and quickly becoming the norm. She is just one of a myriad of porn performers who started online and now run their own shows, call the shots and make the money with little intervention from middle men. But instead of hearing these stories, we get ones like the much-talked-about Hot Girls Wanted, the Rashida Jones-backed Netflix documentary following the rise of amateur porn production in Miami. It’s just the latest example of what some performers call “docu-tragedies” or “pornsploitation” that zero in on classic tropes of the naive girl from Kansas getting off the bus only to be led astray and ravaged both mentally and physically by evil men.
While one can’t deny that exploitation does still exist in the porn industry, overlooking the rise of the role women play in the production and distribution of it is extremely problematic for a number of reasons. Choosing to ignore the progress women have made in the industry marginalizes performers and further stigmatizes them (and all sex workers, really), all while hindering progress of their labor rights. The Internet has provided a very important platform for women in porn to take near-complete control over the production and distribution of their work, not to mention to their livelihood, in a way we haven’t seen before. And yet, we barely hear about any of this. Read the rest of this entry »
TMI because fuck patriarchy…
I just got off the phone with a debt collector, calling on behalf of Northwestern, and my anger is swelling in my throat and I don’t know if I will be able to swallow it in a timely manner. So hello, here is another TMI update on the health and money woes in my life. Yes yes, for people who have been following this blog for years (um, why?), I still have issues walking, sitting, eating. While that is more than enough reasons for me to angry — all the time, actually, so that my normal includes trying not to glare at the ease at which my co-workers walk around the office– this anger is quite different. Also, I cheat with my food now more often — for example, last night I ate some pizza and my raging heartburn, choking on my phlegm bullshit went away around 3am, so hey, not as bad as last year.
But wait, why would I do this? I needed some comfort, and it’s motherfucking PIZZA okay, it is even more delicious now that it is forbidden. Also, sometimes I can eat it no problem. I digress.
I currently owe roughly $600 for a 30 minute doctor’s visit with a specialist who did absolutely nothing except humiliate me. It’s been more than six months now and I can still see the look of disgust in her face — I am tearing up right now as I type this, calling forth the memory. If I had insurance at the time, perhaps the price wouldn’t sting as much. (Last year BCBS canceled my insurance because they didn’t believe I was an American citizen, this year, because they stopped offering that plan through ObamaCare. Thanks for nothing, assholes!)
But on to the horrible healthcare professional part…Earlier this summer I went to visit a specialist downtown, as recommended by my doctor. The one I was originally referred to, the receptionist on the phone told me, only dealt with upper GI so she recommended I see a different doctor who also dealt with lower GI issues, which fit with my symptoms. What a mistake. I had to wait more than a month, and when the day arrived, waited again in her office for some more time.
The visit started normal enough. I told her of my symptoms, and mentioned sometimes it really hurts during sex, and to sit, and how the pain that sometimes goes down my right leg becomes numbness and weakness, coinciding with the pain in my ass/hip/lower back. I also told her how a year ago, when I took prednisone for a week, it was one of the best weeks of my life — I still think of that week and how little pain I had. She felt around on my stomach and uh huh-ed a bunch as if she was listening. When I finished, she said I probably have some mild IBS (I wish!), advised I continue taking PPI pills, and then, “And you should probably go see a gynecologist about…. that.” Her forehead wrinkled up in disgust when she said this, her “that” all flat as if she was judging me for something I did. “Make sure everything is okay down there.”
It’s hard enough to talk about some of my symptoms because they are already embarrassing enough, but that look of hers? Totally unnecessary. I remember getting immediately ashamed but still nodded affirmative. The problem is my ass not my vagina, I screamed in my head.
So off to the gynecologist I went, to Planned Parenthood, of course, the only affordable outfit out there that won’t charge me exorbitant fees for basic services. It took me a few weeks to get an appointment. The gynecologist there was a kind old lady that chatted with me while prodding deep into my pussy like it was no big deal. She found nothing to be alarmed about up there — it was all “perfect” and working and “many women would kill to have that pH.”
My urine sample, however, revealed I could be very dehydrated, as I had a large amount of ketones and blood in my urine. (I sometimes have blood in my poop, so hey, why not in my urine too amiright?) She prescribed some antibiotics and UTI meds which relieved some of my symptoms days later, and I donated a small amount to Planned Parenthood on the way out. Everyone there was professional and kind and took my concerns seriously and didn’t make me feel like I was gross subhuman.
But $600 for that horrible experience at Northwestern? I will never forget it. Further, I will be reminded of it for months to come now that I set up a payment plan to finally pay it all off. I am also never going back to Northwestern, as long as I can help it.
Epilogue of sorts:
I am hoping the next entry in this TMI series will be a definitive diagnosis. Before my insurance was canceled my primary healthcare physician referred me to a neurologist to investigate whether I have nerve damage in my leg related to that time I was hit by a car while on my bike many years ago.
I have insurance through work, now so come January 1st I will finally go to a neurologist NOT at Northwestern, as well as demand my doctor schedule me for an MRI or EMG. I still haven’t gotten one all this time. (X-rays years ago revealed sclerosis on my hips, both sides.) I really doubt I have nerve damage in my leg + depression + serious case of GERD + asthma at this point. I’ve been taking the Wellbutrin for more than a year now and I love it, but the extent of my tiredness doesn’t fit into depression. The constantly feeling like I am in a fog bit, ok that fits, but others, no. I get out of breath way too easily, am constantly dizzy or nauseous, pass out on the couch immediately after any vaguely vigorous exercise that gets my heart rate up, have muscle spasms that are no longer just confined to my right leg, etc. I have mentally prepared myself for all sorts of possibilities like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, some bullshit cancer or tumor, and even diabetes… sometimes I get into moods where I feel like I am running out of time, but maybe, oh please maybe, this is all in my head somehow.
Despite all this, I’ve been working on my moonwalk…and it’s not half bad.
can we remember Shanley
for when she got it right?
Because sure she was the PUSSY RIOT of silicon
Valley SJWs but no tits so GTFO
no really, where are the boobs–
but then also, Model View Culture.
new voices to renew, grow and subdue
men feartrembled in the spotlight
when she pointed her finger
so many expletives JESUS
the bombs and tears, wrung hair in hand
urge to pet her head chill sweetie,
empress grace rewound like cassette tape
into a yapping chihuahua
Go home you drunk
shock and awe reverb effect
but come on let’s be real,
the performance is taxing, it would make anyone crack
what do you think dating weev would do?
NOT inspire your inner extremest?
not every woman can be
your super poised princess
on the verge of being
a great warrior Queen,
It’s been months now since I wrote part 1, and I am still blocked by Jeffrey Carr. This makes me think that he doesn’t get it… get the whole “don’t do all-male panels,” and don’t “speak so disrespectfully about (and to) women in the community” thing.
And this isn’t just about how he treated Jamie — immediately after my blog post, on Twitter Carr questioned my professionalism, implied I was crazy, told me how to do my job and how to blog. And then blocked me.
I didn’t want to write about his ineptitude at finding speakers for his controversial panel for an outlet, because, frankly, I am not a big fan of the whole shaming industry that exists online these days. I was hoping a silly, relatively low-key personal blog post pointing out how problematic his behavior was would be enough. There is something to be said about how clearly out of touch he is with the community he was looking for speakers in, but again, coverage like that is not really my style.
After I posted part 1, I had a few women — professionals — tell me in private their issues with Carr. This made me feel a little better about my blog post, but the silence that resonated from the rest of the women in the industry was really disheartening. I tried to justify their silence with thoughts like …maybe their silence was because Jaime, who is a goddamn legend in that scene, is also a known troll? And the people who came to her defense (and mine) were also trolls and satirists? But if you’re not a troll in infosec, or understand them, then you don’t understand infosec. (Troll here is not to be misconstrued with cyberbully or stalker.)
And then I thought… maybe it is because with trolls, and Anonymous, you have to take anything they say with a grain of salt. Trolls and Anonymous like to manipulate the press for their own agenda, and while I saw some of that in the initial outcry, the intentions were valid and sincere. Even YAN came to Jaime’s defense.
Maybe it is because Carr has been in the scene for what looks like decades, and has worked with the US government and is therefore too big to criticize? Or is it a combination of all three?
I tried to find reasons for this silence, and it made me question myself, until I remembered this is a pattern in this particular community. When that man accused another man of raping his wife, and purchased the domain name of the accused where he posted his plea to the community, there was very little outcry, and no press about it. When that favorite academic was accused of sexual misconduct with his student last year, the community also responded atrociously. The same men who helped organize those Anonymous anti-rape ops spread the name of the victim, and if that wasn’t bad enough, sent threats to the literally 3 women that called out their hypocritical behavior. These women got rape threats too. The most vocal one had semi-nude photos of her shared online to shame her. It was disgusting.
The “sexism in tech” discussion has been raging online for years now, with the mainstream focus on Silicon Valley and the video game community. Both those sectors have vibrant and active women trying to make those industries better for women and minorities, and have made some substantial strides (even just in terms of public perception) in just a few years. The same could be said for the science community. And the men in those industries are actively listening, and trying.
But this community? Many don’t even want to hear it.
In 2015, it is only a foolish man that organizes an all-male panel, rescinding a woman’s spot for fear of “drama.”
Yes, this is something akin to a call-out.
On Friday, it came to my attention hacker-troll-type Jaime “asshurtACKflags” Cochran had her speaking privileges at Suits and Spooks revoked. The organizer Jeffrey Carr changed his mind about her spot on the panel, now comprised entirely of males, because he feared potential “drama.” Carr then repeated this term in a comment on his own blog post, writing “I’m also not interested in gossip or drama around this panel.” The panel Cochran was to speak on included two other members of the same trolling crew she belonged to (Rustle League), along with the infamous FBI informant Sabu, now a pariah in the Anonymous community after radicalizing his teammates and then helping arrest them. Needless to say, gossip and drama has surrounded Sabu’s panel even before Cochran was to speak on it…in fact, the Anonymous community has been up in arms over the panel since it was announced last week. Members of the collective are harassing Sabu right now on Twitter as I type this.
Rescinding Cochran’s spot does nothing to alleviate the gossip and drama that surrounds the panel. Further, the choice of words he uses, “gossip and drama” are, no doubt about it, sexist. Gossip and drama are words commonly used to dismiss women, and are gendered words. Carr could have said “controversy” or “argument,” but he didn’t.
In an exchange of DMs between the two made public by Cochran, Carr appears to willfully misunderstand Cochran when she says her presence is the counterpoint to Sabu. You know, for the purpose of a balanced panel. He seems to take it as if Cochran would disrupt the panel and fight Sabu, which would cause …. oh no…..drama!!!!! Carr wants none of it, despite asking Sabu, the drama-llama on the panel, to speak. Moreover, in the DM exchange Cochran implied no such thing. But but BUT even if she were to disrupt, this is a conference of hackers. Hackers disrupt. She is a troll. Good trolls troll. That’s what they do. Trolls and hackers belong together, they are of the same tree, the same family of internet trouble-makers.
We can’t give Carr the benefit of the doubt for rescinding Cochran because she was a “troll,” someone who by nature causes controversy… because the two other trolls on the panel, of the same trolling crew as Cochran who happen to be men, are allowed to speak. The only difference between Cochran and the other trolls is…. she is not a man.
The title of the panel in question, that Cochran was supposed to be a counterpoint of, is “Anonymous Operations and Techniques revealed by Former CabinCr3w and Anonymous Members.” When Anonymous affiliates are running operations, members need to watch out for Sabu-types. How can members of Anonymous protect themselves from being arrested, from being entrapped? From having their teammates turn on them? These questions, and thinking about them, are necessary if Anonymous wants to keep carrying out operations. Social engineering, and recognizing infiltrators, are just as important as technical skills. Cochran possesses both.
If her membership in the Anonymous community was any doubt — her being part of a trolling crew that was originally formed to make fun of Anonymous– the largest Anonymous Twitter account YourAnonNews proceeded to tweet support for Cochran. The account even called her the leader of Anonymous. This is, of course, a joke — there are no leaders, in the traditional sense, of Anonymous.
Carr did not respond to further questioning on Twitter, but he said in twitter conversation that Cochran was “lying” and “dishonest.” Cochran is trans, and perhaps this was unintentional and Carr didn’t realize how dismissing her by characterizing her as dishonest or deceptive comes across a tad transphobic. Let’s stick with the “lying” and “dishonest” woman characterization for this post, which is already problematic. Or maybe he meant, because she is a troll, she is a liar and dishonest, but she’s never lied about being a troll … and then there’s the matter of the two other trolls on the panel…
There is something to be said for a troll playing a feminist, and using feminist language to get my attention (and if we were to doubt the outcry of “sexism” among the Anonymous community), but I’ve known Cochran for years now, and I’ve always thought of her as a feminist (in the most basic of ways, regarding equality). See, even in this blog post, I am trying to find ways to discredit Cochran in order to uphold Carr, a phenomenon feminists call internalized misogyny.
The infosec community has long been lambasted as a sexist industry unkind and unwelcoming to women, and Carr’s reasoning for revoking Cochran’s spot only reinforces that image. He can say it was because she was dishonest, and lying, and causing gossip and drama, but those words themselves reinforce said sexist image.
Carr doesn’t seem to be interested, or even care, about how sexist his language is, or about changing the industry to make it more inclusive. Near the end of his blog post, he wrote:
“The bottom line is that I have never and will never edit my choice of speakers for political correctness or to cater to my sponsors. I’ll shutter this event first.”
Women in the industry be damned.
Conversation with Gabriella Coleman about her latest book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous”Posted: March 5, 2015
Here is the unedited 30 minute conversation/interview with Coleman, three times the length as the one published on CSM’s Passcode.
FE: I finally finished your book last night…. at 3 in the morning…. it’s a pretty long book… while I was reading it, it hit me that this book is really about everything that has to do with the modern Internet, so in that way it makes sense why it is so long… you have to provide context for all these different and new concepts that no one has really written about.
GC: that’s something that’s been interesting to see the reviews, a lot of them have been repetitive. It is about Anonymous, but it is about so much more….
FE: Like modern activism…
GC: yeah, and what it means for hackers… they’ve really coalesced into a major political force just in the last five or six years.
FE: I’m glad you brought the political activism angle, do you think there will ever be an Anonymous political party?
GC: I don’t think so, they’re going to continue in their guerrilla war fashion, but we will see more hackers in government, for sure. Anonymous has to be independent… there’s no way that they can overtly work with government…
FE: So, onto prepared questions… what does the media still get wrong about Anonymous?
GC: I am currently writing this article for this anthropology book about relationships with journalists, and how I came to see journalism differently over time, just as the same way Anonymous is not unanimous, the same can be said for journalism. There are much more local journalists, and some are fucked up, there are structural constraints, and it is the same for Anonymous.
GC: But basically, I do think a lot of journalists get it, and initially there was three things that were really difficult. Read the rest of this entry »