Category : censorship

Digg.com pioneered social media and social bookmarking. They helped create a community who believed in the “wisdom of the crowd“, but today the crowd bit back.

After Digg started burying stories and deleting user accounts because of the HD-DVD crack controversy the Digg community hit back the only way they knew how: They took over Digg’s front page. As of 11:15 pm CST, every single story on Digg’s coveted front page has something to do with the suppressed number.

The hexadecimal number ( 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 ) unlocks the DRM copy-protection on HD-DVD discs. HD-DVD is the successor to DVD, which is already cracked. Blu-Ray is apparently affected as well since it also uses the AACS content-scrambling system that was designed to restrict who can watch the next-generation movie discs.

It was revealed that the HD-DVD group was a sponsor of Digg’s podcast. The blatant conflict of interest riled up the Digg community, which has taken the story to other social media sites such as Reddit and even the old standard, Slashdot, which has added digg-like features such as the Firehose.

It’s fair to say the internet community has been in open revolt all day, against a site that was until yesterday a shining example of how Web 2.0 businesses can work — trust your users. Digg has apparently forgotten that lesson and has sided with corporate interests and knee-jerk lawsuit-phobia instead of it’s own users — the people who (literally) make the site work. Unfortunately, it looks like Wikipedia is falling into the same trap (although it often freezes pages during periods of great controversy to prevent editing wars).

With the incredible storm of rebellion racing across the internet there doesn’t seem to be a way out of this mess for Digg. Far from blowing over, the brouhaha appears to be getting worse. Digg’s half-assed attempt at putting out this fire only fanned the flames. It appears Digg might have temporarily blocked new story submisisons, but the link appears to be working now.

Diggers are pointing out the fact that Reddit and Slashdot have not taken down stories concerning the suppressed number, nor have they deleted comments. Because of that it’s looking more and more like a situation that Digg and Digg alone created through heavy-handed policing (which is no doubt allowed by their EULA) and overreaction in general, all of which has led to the current PR shitstorm.

Far from suppressing the number Digg has managed to enshrine it for all time in the annals of internet history. It’s interesting that it happened on May 1st, International Workers’ Day. Hopefully today will long be remembered as the day when the internet community took a stand against the evil DMCA, the law which is at the root of the problem.

Let no one say the social media community is afraid to bite the hand that feeds.

Update (5-2-07): Digg has come to their senses and declared that it will no longer delete posts containing the suppressed number. That’s probably wise since they would’ve had to ban half their users and remove all the stories from their front page for several hours. A little late, but the users have spoken, and Digg finally decided to listen.


09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

It's just a string of numbers and letters, right?

A simple, almost random, collection of hexadecimal characters.

No harm could come from posting them, right?

I hope that's the case
.

Digg has censored this number and any story submissions or comments referencing it have been buried (well, they haven't found all the comments). Peoples' accounts have been deleted simply for submitting it. Amazing, isn't it?...

Makes you wonder why.

This is why.

In a nutshell: It's the processing key for HD-DVD movies, enabling users to crack the DRM and watch the movie on non-approved hardware (like Linux).

Please, spread this number around. The idea of censoring a number is so silly and totalitarian that I can't sit by in idle silence. We have to resist.

Idiocracy is Brilliant

I just saw Mike Judge’s new movie, Idiocracy, and it’s such a brilliant satire that I can see why Fox tried to bury it.

It’s a potent look at our present, despite the fact that the movie is set in 2505. Intelligence declined precipitously over 5 centuries, leaving the people of 2505 incredibly stupid. Luke Wilson’s character, Joe, is frozen cryogenically for 500 years and when he (implausibly) wakes up to discover this horrific fact he is arrested for not having a barcode like everyone else in the future. Though arrested, he simply talks his way out of jail and runs off to try and find a time machine to take him back.

Although Joe is the smartest man alive in the 2505 he certainly isn’t very smart by 2007 standards. It is with this dark idea that Judge weaves his vicious comedy. If this idiot can solve the world’s problems, why can’t the rest of us?

The idiots of the future think Joe’s intelligent points are actually the pompous ravings of a “fag”. During Joe’s speech to the nation at the end he says, “… And there was a time, a long time ago, when reading wasn’t ‘just for fags’.” When was that, exactly? I’m afraid the idiocy Mike Judge is skewering is our own.

Idiocracy is very good, but Fox decided to release the movie the same way most of us release a monster piece of shit; quietly and discretely. (I hope that’s how you take a dump anyway. It could be loud and with a huge PR campaign, but I’ll be discrete and refrain from asking) The movie was quickly flushed away and won more praise from reviewers than it did from Fox’s publicists. Surely, the world is upside-down and the idiots are in charge. There can be no doubt at the end of the movie that the decision to bury the movie was a political act. The movie’s depiction of corporate and political life hits too close to home. And the best part is: it’s funny! You might even learn something.

Is somebody trying to tell them not to speak out?

Congressional pages involved in the Foley sex messages scandal are receiving threats via emails, Representative Rodney Alexander (R-LA) told CNN today.

We need to have an investigation of the threats as well as protect the safety of these pages. They could lead us much deeper down the rabbithole and they should not be punished for speaking out.

Meanwhile, it looks like the Republican leadership are all turning on each other in a desperate scramble to save their own asses. And it’s looking more and more like everybody except me knew about parts of this case months or even years ago.

Oh, and now Foley says he was molested by a clergyman and that he’s gay…and a drunk. And he’s been sold into sexual slavery in Uganda. Okay, not that last bit, but Foley is trying his best to make himself into the victim here. I don’t think that’s going to work. Keep trying, though.

I’m mostly concerned about the pages. We need to protect them and guard against any threats making them clam up. The only way we can get to the bottom of this and protect future pages is if everybody speaks out about what they know. The FBI needs to run a competent and thorough investigation and we need to make sure they don’t try to cover for those in power. Keep the pressure on!