B&N Removes Magazine From Nook Store Due To Feature Article On 'Hacking'

from the hacking-not-allowed dept

We've talked a lot about the difference between gatekeepers and enablers, and how the latter are becoming more important than the former. Both are types of middlemen, of course. And there have been some reasonable discussions about how enablers can become gatekeepers at times. Indeed, this is something to be aware of, and we should worry about it and speak out when we see evidence of it happening. For example, ebook platforms have become great enablers, allowing lots of new written works to be published, promoted, distributed and sold. In 2002, 250,000 books were published. In 2010 the number was over 3 million -- with much of that being thanks to the easy publishing of ebooks, and the platforms that made it possible to publish a book without a gatekeeper.

But... sometimes those enablers turn into gatekeepers. Witness the news, via Slashdot, that Barnes & Noble removed Linux Format magazine from the Nook store because the magazine dared to publish an article entitled Learn to Hack. It is true that they were using "hack" in the (increasingly less common) definition having to do with breaking into other computers and networks, but the framing of it was mostly around understanding these things to keep yourself secure. Still, do we really want platforms like Barnes & Noble acting as gatekeepers concerning what people can and cannot read?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 7:30am

    Just an encore for a wise man, now dead.

    "When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you may not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything--you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him."
    [Robert Heinlein]


    I know it's been here before, but for those who do not yet have this burned into their conscious mind, please read it again.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    Re: Just an encore for a wise man, now dead.

    That can be applied to David Cameron's meeting with ISPs today over his desire to have pornography as an opt-in service. We are seeing this sort of behaviour all over the place, not just with e-books.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    John Doe, May 4th, 2012 @ 7:40am

    ebooks are ripe for disruption

    I forsee a day in the not to distant future, where an the publishers will finally give up on DRM and a new ebook store will setup shop selling any and all books for 10% of the sale rather than 30%. That book store will rule them all and B&N and Amazon will be in serious trouble.

    Hmmm, I better get to work on that book store.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    John Doe, May 4th, 2012 @ 7:43am

    Re: Just an encore for a wise man, now dead.

    the most you can do is kill him.

    Don't give the mafiAA any ideas.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    I knew I read this yesterday on /.

    I'll repeat my 2 comments:

    1) I miss Borders (and the fact that they brought a level of competition and an alternative to shop at if/when B&N pulled crap like this)

    2) I'm shocked, SHOCKED to hear there's gambling going on in this establishment.
    (in other words, B&N is a virtual monopoly for brick and mortar book stores, and they feel no pressure to not pull crap like this, since many people have nowhere else to go)

     

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  6.  
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    Jim, May 4th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    This is really depressing to read. I bought a Nook over an Kindle because I really like B&N. I like their store atmosphere. I like that they won't heckle you if you sit down w/ one of their books in the store and read a chapter or 2 to figure out if the book strikes your fancy. I like being able to skim their technical books(being a geek coder) to see if is worthwhile for me to buy it because it contains something new that I can use.

    I just sent an e-mail to their customer support indicating my disappointment with them. I hope others do the same.

     

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  7.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Dear B&N,
    Please be even in your overreaction to things.
    Please pull every book where there is a description of torture.
    Please pull every book where there is a murder.
    etc..

    In other words, just pull yourself out of the market.

    If you do not do this immediately one will have to assume you are censoring books, which seems like a stupid thing for a book seller to do.

     

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  8.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re:

    Post the email address please!

     

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  9.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    That article is pretty good. Looks like I have my project for the weekend!

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    This is the only place where I found 2600 in a bookstore shelf...

    Slashdot has pointed this out: Do they still stock 2600: The Hacker Quarterly?

     

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  11.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    It's not just because there was a hacking article.

    B&N sell 2600 so it can't be just because there was an article on hacking. Someone applied pressure or they're pulling this with an eye towards renegotiating their cut of distribution.

     

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  12.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:42am

    Re: This is the only place where I found 2600 in a bookstore shelf...

    Yes.

     

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  13.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Re: This is the only place where I found 2600 in a bookstore shelf...

     

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  14.  
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    FormerAC (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    Re: Hypocrites!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Jim, May 4th, 2012 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re:

    I just went to their site and clicked on the Customer Service/Contact Us link at the very bottom. It's a form you fill out where they will get back to you.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Fuck them - they're gonna die anyway.

    Someone actually buys magazines?

    25 years (more than a generation) ago, I bought them by the truckload. I bought several new magazines a week. I was a voracious reader.

    I haven't bought ONE since 1995. I am still a voracious reader. Only these days, I have a far greater tendency to read what I want to read, not what some "retailer" or monopoly or fascist thinks I should.

    I got my fist personal internet account in 1996. Co-incidence?

    To put it slightly differently: who the fuck cares? B&N is one of the last dinos standing - like UMG (or whatever the fuck they call themselves this week) they survive on the limited carcasses of other now-extinct dino species. That food supply is disappearing and they'll starved to death in less than 10 years.

    I have them in the mental "fuck 'em" bin with the mafiaa and covered wagon sellers.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    As spoken by John Cleese in some old training video:

    You are the third customer I have told today that there is no demand for that colour.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, May 4th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    This leaves unanswered a number of questions. B&N claims that they did this in response to a "complaint": okay, who complained? What did they say? What was so significant about a SINGLE complaint that it triggered this action? Who (at B&N) made this decision? Has that person been fired?

     

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  19.  
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    ChrisB (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 9:05am

    Re: Fuck them - they're gonna die anyway.

    > Someone actually buys magazines?

    An ebook reader in the bathroom is gross.

     

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  20.  
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    FormerAC (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    BN Customer Service Response

    11:55:39 AM : Customer: Issue 154 of Linux Format, with the cover article "Learn to Hack" seems to have disappeared

    11:56:29 AM : AgentRouie: Thank you for that clarification. Please give me a couple of minutes so I may check the item's availability. Please stay online. Thank you.

    11:59:04 AM : AgentRouie: I'm still checking on the item. Will it be okay if you'll wait for 3 minutes more?

    11:59:57 AM : Customer: sure

    12:01:35 PM : AgentRouie: Thank you for patiently waiting. Based on our records, Issue 154 was pulled out so you can't access it online.

    12:02:07 PM : Customer: Why was it pulled?

    12:04:56 PM : AgentRouie: I apologize as I can't provide the exact reason regarding the pull out. I'm still verifying it. It appears that it has something to do with the cover article which has a censorship issue I guess.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    wallow-T, May 4th, 2012 @ 9:38am

    As the sale of all printed materials beyond the hottest sellers collapses into a duopoly (Amazon and B&N) expect to see a lot more of this.

     

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  22.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Baldaur Regis (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 10:42am

    Re:

    Memo To: all B&N department heads
    RE: Technology

    EFFECTIVE immediately, you are to select the youngest person in your department, and, upon receipt of any correspondence relating in any fashion to technology, in particular The Information Superhighway, allow your young person to examine said correspondence and LISTEN TO HIS/HER ADVICE.

    If you do not have a young person, contact HR and one will be issued to you.

     

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  24.  
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    Overcast (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    They should also remove articles and books on:

    Terrorism
    Physics
    Biology
    Mechanical Engineering
    The Occult
    Human Anatomy
    Chemistry
    Crime

    ...

    I mean - after all; they might give people ideas!! lol

    Any of those books *could* be used for nefarious purposes, depending on the contents.

    You could get conceptual ideas for 'terrorism' even in a Biology textbook!

    Or know how to more efficiently kill a person using a book on Human Anatomy!!

    OMG NO!!

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Nick McFarlane, May 4th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Gatekeepers or Enablers

    Or simply censors.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Streisand effect anyone?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Jim, May 4th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks! I made a note to myself to come back and provide the same link but got caught up in work stuff and didn't get a chance until now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    f0nZi3 (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    Re: BN Customer Service Response

    WOW! Just... wow! This should bother every human on the planet to see this kind of response.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    aikiwolfie, May 4th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    B&N are now just an extension of Microsoft. It's not surprising they've started this bull.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    No Tellin, May 4th, 2012 @ 3:36pm

    Four Ways to Abuse a Hammer

    When I was in High School {class of 1975}, we had a very interesting shop instructor. He used to say: "If you don't know how to misuse a hammer in at least 4 different ways, then you didn't know how to use a hammer."

    When it came to using a table saw {or any power tool}, he would put his philosophy in action and physically demonstrate all the ways to _not_ use said table saw {tool}. i.e. Remove blade guard. Don't use a push stick. Don't use a hold down when it was possible to use one. Don't use a rip fence {push wood through 'free hand'}.

    We saw chunks and splinters of wood fly the entire length of the shop floor {easily 40'plus}. He even demonstrated a dummy's arm sleeve getting caught.

    Watching all the bad things that could happen taught me two things.

    1) Always pay attention to what you're doing.

    2) The best way to learn about anything worthwhile is to learn how to abuse it every way you can. That makes a much more lasting impression than someone droning about safety practices.

    From 1974 through 2004, I never injured myself with any power tool. In 2004, I managed to slice off 1/8" of one finger nail tip on a table saw. I pay even closer attention now.

    I see no difference between learning how to abuse any hand tool at least four different ways and learning how to hack my servers.

    You can't learn the safest way to handle anything if you don't know how to abuse it. If you're a network or server admin of any kind, this is exactly the kind of practical, hand's on article you need to see and do and learn to best protect your network.

    Shame on B&N to take it upon themselves to censor Linux Format Magazine for the magazine's excellent article on penetration testing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Re: Fuck them - they're gonna die anyway.

    Just doesn't have quite the same feel to it, does it? And for the panickers in the human race like those who detect dangerous radiation from smart meters while sitting happily next to their wi-fi router all day. Certainly they'll start to scream over the danger of getting deadly electrical shock from Nooks left in the bathroom while showering or, worse yet, reading your Nook while lazing in the bath :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Follow up memo:

    Ignore any complaints from anyone referring to the Internet and hacking or the Internet and porn as something to do with some Information Superhighway.

    Send a reply email from such persons that says nothing but has, attached, our complementary copy of "The Technopeasant Survival Manual".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Four Ways to Abuse a Hammer

    Given what's usually published in Linux Format I'm glad they don't actually read it. Articles like that are its stock in trade.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2012 @ 7:46am

    yes, it is their system, they can do what they want with it, don't like it?? publish your own article about it, they don't "have" to publish things they don't want to, is that really hard for you to understand??? it would seem so

    go ahead, publish it, you decry them, but you are not doing anything but whining about it

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2012 @ 12:28am

    Response to: That Anonymous Coward on May 4th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Cry some more

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    hsurtugsbcjfcs, Oct 24th, 2012 @ 12:38am

    Re: Just an encore for a wise man, now dead.

    B&n is a corporate company that have no total control of people. Anything they touch don't fucking explodes, so people can still sttan happiness on this planet. If you were talking about something public, then go 1984 on all of our ass, but it isn't, so deal with it and declie your business with them, you fucking knee jerk internet nut job. Do you get a boner when ever something meaningless tries to control humanity you sick fuck? No wonder you are so fucking alone and friend less. Shitwad.

    Burn in my mind? Fuck you, I have freedom you fuck, stop acting like a reverend, you fucking asshole.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2012 @ 12:41am

    Re: Fuck them - they're gonna die anyway.

    You'll have to thankem later they made them who you are, you elitist faggot. Stop flexing your shitcovered internet muscle and keep it to your self, shove it up your ass. Fuck off, inbred

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2012 @ 12:45am

    Response to: Overcast on May 4th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    FUCK OFF YOU CRACKER INBRED FUCK SPEWING LOL EVERWHERE

    YOU KNOW WHAT ISNT CENDORSHIP? ME TEARING YOUR FUCKING ASSHOLE APART

    YOU WJINING ONTERNET BITCHES MAKE CENSORSHIP SOUND LESS ASS SUCKIAGE

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2012 @ 12:46am

    Response to: Overcast on May 4th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    FUCK OFF YOU CRACKER INBRED FUCK SPEWING LOL EVERWHERE

    YOU KNOW WHAT ISNT CENDORSHIP? ME TEARING YOUR FUCKING ASSHOLE . SINCE IT ISNT CENSORSHIP, YOU SHOULD NE FUCKING FINE WITH THAT

    YOU WJINING ONTERNET BITCHES MAKE CENSORSHIP SOUND LESS ASS SUCKIAGE

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2012 @ 12:46am

    Response to: Overcast on May 4th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    FUCK OFF YOU CRACKER INBRED FUCK SPEWING LOL EVERWHERE

    YOU KNOW WHAT ISNT CENDORSHIP? ME TEARING YOUR FUCKING ASSHOLE . SINCE IT ISNT CENSORSHIP, YOU SHOULD NE FUCKING FINE WITH THAT

    YOU WJINING ONTERNET BITCHES MAKE CENSORSHIP SOUND LESS ASS SUCKIAGE

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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