One thing that's been somewhat universal in the US is pretty much everyone's opposition to the whole ITU WCIT charade going on in Dubai right now. It doesn't matter what political party they belong to or what general views on technology or the internet they hold, pretty much everyone recognizes, even if there are faults with the system today, giving the ITU more control will inevitably make things worse. So it should come as little surprise that Congress has passed another resolution (they did an earlier one in August that more or less said the same thing) unanimously (397-0) telling the ITU to not even think about trying to take over any aspect of internet governance. This resolution first was approved in the Senate and this is just the House concurring.
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, should continue working to implement the position of the United States on Internet governance that clearly articulates the consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today.
Of course, such a resolution is technically meaningless. It's mostly just a bit of warning, that if the ITU does actually lead to significant changes in internet governance, the US is unlikely to go along with them. In an age where it's rare to see bipartisan support of anything, it's nice to see pretty much everyone recognize the ITU process is dangerous and undesirable.
Back in October, we pointed out how the US delegation to the ITU WCIT (World Conference on International Telecommunications) was pushing for much more openness and transparency for the notoriously closed and secretive process that could impact internet governance. That was certainly refreshing to see. But it also stood in stark contrast to the same US government's massively secretive and opaque process to the Trans-Pacific Parntership agreement -- which could have just as much, if not more, of an impact on internet governance issues.
On the eve of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), we believe that it is the right time to reaffirm the U.S. Government's commitment to the multistakeholder model as the appropriate process for addressing Internet policy and governance issues. The multistakeholder model has enabled the Internet to flourish. It has promoted freedom of expression, both online and off. It has ensured the Internet is a robust, open platform for innovation, investment, economic growth and the creation of wealth throughout the world, including in developing countries.
[....] The Internet's decentralized, multistakeholder processes enable us all to benefit from the engagement of all interested parties. By encouraging the participation of industry, civil society, technical and academic experts, and governments from around the globe, multistakeholder processes result in broader and more creative problem solving. This is essential when dealing with the Internet, which thrives through the cooperation of many different parties.
The global community has many serious topics to discuss with respect to the Internet. Collectively, we need to ensure that these matters are taken up in suitable multistakeholder venues so that these discussions are well informed by the voices of all interested parties.
Our commitment to the multistakeholder model is based on the fact that transparency, inclusion and participation are the 21st century standards governing discussions related to modern communications.
Yet, over in New Zealand, US officials, as well as negotiatiors from others countries, are taking the opposite view. They're doubling down on secrecy, not transparency. They are not using a "multistakeholder" model at all, but rather locking out civil society and public interest groups. They've ignored or limited the ability of the innovation industry to have any say in the proceedings at all, and (most ridiculously) they're enforcing a secrecy policy many times worse than what we see at the ITU with WCIT. Many of the documents from WCIT have leaked out, while precautions mainly driven by the US government have, to date, limited the leaks from TPP negotiations.
It's really quite incredible that the same government can make those claims about openness, transparency and the importance of a multistakeholder process on the one hand, while going in the opposite direction on basically the same exact issue at the very same time for an event held elsewhere. The whole thing stinks of hypocrisy, which could easily be solved by opening up the TPP process, revealing the negotiating documents for public comment, and allowing the public into the process. After all, in the words of the US government:
We have and will continue to advocate for an Internet that is not dominated by any one player or group of players, and one that is free from bureaucratic layers that cannot keep up with the pace of change. We will work with everyone to ensure that we have a global Internet that allows all voices to be heard.
If only the US government would listen to that important message.
We've noted that among the proposals being pushed this week at the ITU's World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) are a few that are solely designed to divert money from innovative internet companies to stodgy old telcos who haven't adapted. The ITU has defended such proposals as being about sharing revenue more fairly, which tends to be a warning sign for most folks that failed organizations are about to take money from successful ones. Indeed, a number of proposals have suggested a form of "sending party pays" infrastructure for peering, claiming that such a system was successful (via the ITU) for telco buildout, and so they could do the same thing for the internet. Of course, this leaves aside the vast differences in how the networks work and where they came from -- and how a "sending party pays" internet system would almost certainly lead to a balkanized and fragmented internet.
The possible extension of the telephone system’s “sender-pays” rule to the Internet is a contentious international political issue under consideration at the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT). This paper examines whether higher international telephone rates support or impede telecom sector growth in the receiving country. It uses data on international telephone rates from the US from 1992-2010 to explain growth in foreign telecom sectors during the same period. I find that higher international calling rates are correlated with slower growth in the telecom sector, which suggests that countries are not primarily using higher charges to finance additional expansion. These findings cast doubt on proposals that would extend sender-pays to the Internet sector.
In other words, the key argument the ITU likes to make for this diversion of funds... isn't actually supported by the facts. Instead, it's what we expected: about helping big telcos (often either state-owned, or formerly stated owned with still close connections) get a bunch of money for nothing... which they then won't invest in expanding the network (why should they?). And, oh yes, the implementation of such a system might just also make it easier to limit internet access and/or spy on nearly everything people do (how else do you charge if you're not monitoring activity?).
Techdirt has run a number of articles about the ITU's World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) currently taking place in Dubai. One of the concerns is that decisions taken there may make the Internet less a medium that can be used to enhance personal freedom than a tool for state surveillance and oppression.
The telecommunications standards arm of the U.N. has quietly endorsed the standardization of technologies that could give governments and companies the ability to sift through all of an Internet user's traffic -- including emails, banking transactions, and voice calls -- without adequate privacy safeguards. The move suggests that some governments hope for a world where even encrypted communications may not be safe from prying eyes.
The new Y.2770 standard is entitled "Requirements for deep packet inspection in Next Generation Networks", and seeks to define an international standard for deep packet inspection (DPI). As the Center for Democracy & Technology points out, it is thoroughgoing in its desire to specify technologies that can be used to spy on people:
The ITU-T DPI standard holds very little in reserve when it comes to privacy invasion. For example, the document optionally requires DPI systems to support inspection of encrypted traffic "in case of a local availability of the used encryption key(s)." It's not entirely clear under what circumstances ISPs might have access to such keys, but in any event the very notion of decrypting the users' traffic (quite possibly against their will) is antithetical to most norms, policies, and laws concerning privacy of communications.
One of the big issues surrounding WCIT and the ITU has been the lack of transparency -- or even understanding what real transparency might be. So it will comes as no surprise that the new DPI standard was negotiated behind closed doors, with no drafts being made available.
But probably most worrying is the following aspect:
Several global standards bodies, including the IETF and W3C, have launched initiatives to incorporate privacy considerations into their work. In fact, the IETF has long had a policy of not considering technical requirements for wiretapping in its work, taking the seemingly opposite approach to the ITU-T DPI document, as Germany pointed out [doc] in voicing its opposition to the ITU-T standard earlier this year. The ITU-T standard barely acknowledges that DPI has privacy implications, let alone does it provide a thorough analysis of how the potential privacy threats associated with the technology might be mitigated.
This apparent indifference to the wider implications of its work is yet another reason why the ITU is unfit to determine any aspect of something with as much power to affect people's lives as the Internet.
As the WCIT (World Conference on International Telecommunications) gets under way in Dubai, the ITU is making its play to regulate the internet, potentially to aid authoritarian governments in censoring or limiting the internet, or to divert money from innovative internet companies to stagnant state telcos out of a claim of "fairness." There's obviously been a lot of talk about it, and the ITU keeps claiming that it's just a neutral body to facilitate discussions, even as increasing evidence suggests it's urging many of the crazier proposals forward itself.
And now it's come out that ITU officials recently held a "secret" meeting to figure out how they were going to avoid getting SOPA'd, having the world rise up in protest as it tries to implement its internet regulatory regime. Following some bizarre and paranoid fantasy about how the anti-ITU, anti-WCIT efforts are really just because an unnamed "lobbying group" didn't like one proposal (the one mentioned above about diverting money from internet companies to telcos), the meeting got down to business: how could they use social media to prevent SOPA- or ACTA-like uprisings from the public:
In response to the anti-WCIT “campaign,” according to the September retreat’s preparatory materials, the ITU reluctantly launched a “counter-campaign,” which the agency believes “has been fairly successful outside the US and somewhat successful even in the US,” where “some of the statements made to denigrate ITU and WCIT are so extreme that they were easy to challenge and rebut.”
Going forward, the ITU focused at its meeting on the possibility of an “intensive anti-ratification campaign in OECD countries, based on the so-called lack of openness of the WCIT process, resulting in a significant number of countries refusing to ratify the new ITRs.” The ITU calls this possibility “the so-called ACTA scenario,” referring to sometimes violent protests against the secret ACTA treaty that took place this year.
To develop the next phase of its “counter-campaign,” the ITU hosted speakers from leading PR and advertising agencies to advise them on the use of social media. For example, Matthias Lufkens, Head of Digital Strategy for global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, gave a presentation on how his agency helped the World Economic Forum leverage tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr to fend off “occupy”-style protests that occurred both physically in Davos and on the Internet.
“There is a risk that [the ACTA scenario] will happen, but our communication campaign can mitigate this,” the internal document says.
Of course, the campaign doesn't really appear to be going that well -- especially since so much of it revolves around "deflect[ing] media questions from secrecy, taxes and censorship" to the blandly empty (and absolutely silly) statement that "the revised ITRs have the exciting potential to pave the way for a broadband revolution in the 21st century." I'm sure that sounds catchy on a tweet. The problem, of course, is that folks on the internet don't tend to believe that kind of bureaucrat-speak when they know it's not true. As Downes notes:
Here’s the unvarnished truth, which no PR agency can help the agency talk, tweet, or prevaricate their way around: The commercial Internet emerged and matured entirely since the treaty was last reviewed. It developed in spite of the ITRs, not because of them.
There is a familiar pattern here of ambitious regulators who have no expertise and little experience with the Internet proclaiming themselves its benevolent dictators, only to find the peasants revolting before the coup has even started.
The ITU is no different than the sponsors of ACTA, SOPA, PIPA, and other attempts at regulating the Internet, its content, or its users by governments large and small. Like the media lobbyists who continue to see the successful fight to kill SOPA and PIPA as a proxy war waged solely by Google and other Internet companies, the ITU simply can’t accept the reality that Internet users have become their own best advocates.
Once again, these bureaucrats really have no clue what they're doing.
We've been talking about the ITU's upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) for a while now, and it's no longer "upcoming." Earlier today, the week and a half session kicked off in Dubai with plenty of expected controversy. The US, the EU and now Australia have all come out strongly against the ITU's efforts to undermine the existing internet setup to favor authoritarian countries or state-controlled (or formerly state-controlled) telcos who want money for internet things they had nothing to do with. The BBC article above has a pretty good rundown of some of the scarier proposals being pitched behind closed doors at WCIT. Having the US, EU and Australia against these things is good, but the ITU works on a one-vote-per-country system, and plenty of other countries see this as a way to exert more control over the internet, in part to divert funds from elsewhere into their own coffers.
Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the ITU, keeps trying to claim that this is all about increasing internet access, but that's difficult to square with reality:
"The brutal truth is that the internet remains largely [the] rich world's privilege, " said Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the UN's International Telecommunications Union, ahead of the meeting.
"ITU wants to change that."
Of course, internet access has already been spreading to the far corners of the planet without any "help" from the ITU. Over two billion people are already online, representing about a third of the planet. And, yes, spreading that access further is a good goal, but the ITU is not the player to do it. The reason that the internet has been so successful and has already spread as far as it has, as fast as it has, is that it hasn't been controlled by a bureaucratic government body in which only other governments could vote. Instead, it was built as an open interoperable system that anyone could help build out. It was built in a bottom up manner, mainly by engineers, not bureaucrats. Changing that now makes very little sense.
Besides, does anyone really think that a process that requires the companies who successfully innovated to funnel money to corrupt governments and/or corrupt state-controlled telcos is going to magically lead to greater investment in internet growth? If so, I've got a prince in Nigeria with 53 $ Million US waiting in a bank all for you.
Neelie Kroes, the VP of the EU Commission and in charge of the EU's Digital Agenda tweeted simply:
The internet works, it doesn't need to be regulated by ITR treaty. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
And that's the thing. The internet works just fine. The only reason to "fix" it, is to "break" it in exactly the way the ITU wants, which is to favor a few players who have done nothing innovative to actually deserve it.
The EU Parliament recently joined the US government in speaking out against the ITU's upcoming WCIT event, which we've been discussing. This is where the ITU -- an ancient organization designed to deal with telegraphs, and whose relevance today has been widely questioned -- is seeking to take over certain aspects of internet governance, well outside its mandate. Certain countries -- Russia and China in particular -- and certain large telcos (including many EU ones) are looking at this as a way to advance very specific interests, either for increased control and censorship over the internet, or in forcing successful internet companies to fork over money to telcos who have failed to innovate. Thankfully, the EU Parliament has now spoken up about its concerns, noting a number of key points (these are just the first half, but they give you an idea):
1. Calls on the Council and the Commission to ensure that any changes to the International
Telecommunication Regulations are compatible with the EU acquis and further the Union’s
objective of, and interest in, advancing the internet as a truly public place, where human
rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly freedom of expression and assembly, are
respected and the observance of free market principles, net neutrality and entrepreneurship
2. Regrets the lack of transparency and inclusiveness surrounding the negotiations for
WCIT-12, given that the outcomes of this meeting could substantially affect the public
3. Believes that the ITU, or any other single, centralised international institution, is not the
appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over either internet governance or internet
4. Stresses that some of the ITR reform proposals would negatively impact the internet, its
architecture, operations, content and security, business relations and governance, as well as
the free flow of information online;
5. Believes that, as a consequence of some of the proposals presented, the ITU itself could
become the ruling power over aspects of the internet, which could end the present bottom-up,
multi-stakeholder model; expresses concern that, if adopted, these proposals may seriously
affect the development of, and access to, online services for end users, as well as the digital
economy as a whole; believes that internet governance and related regulatory issues should
continue to be defined at a comprehensive and multi-stakeholder level;
6. Is concerned that the ITU reform proposals include the establishment of new profit
mechanisms that could seriously threaten the open and competitive nature of the internet,
driving up prices, hampering innovation and limiting access; recalls that the internet should
remain free and open;
The ITU has taken to its blog to hit back, claiming that it is deeply disappointed in the resolution. No surprise there. It tries to hit back on some of the points, but fails wildly. Take, for example, its response to the transparency issue:
However, it is important to point out that WCIT is inclusive of 193 national delegations which are participating in WCIT-12. Private sector companies and civil society organizations have also registered to attend WCIT-12 in large numbers.
Everyone attending WCIT-12 is free to lobby for their specific positions.
Added to this, in the run-up to the conference, the ITU Secretariat created a platform to allow any individual, civil society player or company to make its views known.
The very thorough and inclusive preparatory process leading up to the WCIT-12 has been completely transparent. Every European parliamentarian could have obtained all the documents from their own government, or from the European Commission.
At ITU, transparency is achieved at the national level, through national consultations in national languages. Surely this process is far more inclusive than just posting an English language text on a web page?
Note the key false equivalency here: that transparency means that you can have your voice heard (if, that is, you're willing to sign up to fly to Dubai and take part as a delegate). First of all, being heard is not transparency. Transparency is about sharing information in the other direction. It's about making the discussions and details public so everyone knows what's going on. Hearing what people are saying is listening and it's important -- but it's not transparency.
Second, the fact that parliamentarians could obtain the documents is not transparency either. It does not involve the public.
It's this kind of misleading rhetoric that makes people so concerned about the ITU. The fact that it pretends transparency is something other than it is seems like a real problem.
While there's been plenty of talk about the upcoming ITU process, the ITU keeps attempting to downplay what it's trying to do -- and insisting that Russia, China and other regimes aren't looking to use the process to clamp down on the internet. Of course, proposal leaks from Russia suggest otherwise. As for China, Dave Farber points us to an editorial in the People's Daily newspaper in China from back in August that argues that the ITU process is necessary to wrest control of the internet away from the US.
This indicated the U.S. decision to retain ultimate control over the global Internet, which enabled it to unilaterally close the Internet of another country. A suddenly paralyzed Internet would definitely cause huge social and economic losses to the country.
More and more countries are beginning to question the U.S. control over the world’s Internet as the international resource should be managed and supervised by all countries together. However, the United States has conducted a pre-emptive strike, and refused to give up control over the Internet in the name of protecting the resource. The refusal reflects its hegemonic mentality and double standards.
The United States controls and owns all cyberspaces in the world, and other countries can only lease Internet addresses and domain names from the United States, leading to the U.S. hegemonic monopoly over the world’s Internet.
This is an exaggeration of reality. While ICANN has serious problems -- which we frequently discuss here -- that doesn't mean that dumping it entirely in favor of a ridiculously secretive and bureaucratic process like the ITU makes sense. The article goes on to cite the US apparently turning off the .iq domain for Iraq during the invasion in 2003. Of course, that's an interesting rewriting of history. The issue with the .iq domain wasn't quite as cut and dried as the editorial implies. First of all, .iq wasn't a widely used domain no matter what. But, more importantly, it was entirely managed and controlled by a guy in Texas who was accused of funding terrorists and eventually sentenced to 84 months in jail. It wasn't so much a case of the US government running to ICANN and saying shut down the domain, as it was a criminal investigation into separate issues that happened to scoop up the one guy who controlled the TLD. And, it should be noted that ICANN gave .iq back to the Iraqi government years ago.
This kind of stuff indicates the lengths to which the Chinese government seems willing to go to prop up the ITU process for taking over aspects of internet governance: they'll just lie and make up stories when the truth isn't particularly convenient.
We've been covering how the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has been moving forward with its plans next month to consider a number of proposals to takeover aspects of internet regulation and governance. There are, of course, a number of different proposals being submitted by different countries. The problem, of course, is that the setup of the ITU is not open to the public, and there are some special interests involved -- mainly by countries with oppressive governments looking to use this as a way to gain control over the internet for the sake of censorship, as well as local (often state-run or state-associated) telcos using the process to see if they can divert money from successful internet companies to their own bank accounts. While the ITU likes to present itself as merely a neutral meeting place for all of these proposals, what's been clear for a while is that the ITU leadership has taken an active role in encouraging, cultivating and supporting some of the more egregious proposals.
Some of this is due to the way in which the ITU leadership views the internet. Some of it is due to an organization that realizes its own mandate is obsolete and it really serves little purpose anymore, so it's coping by pretending its mandate is much broader, but doing so in a way that shows it has little understanding of the internet other than "something we want a mandate over."
This seems to be one situation where, in the US, pretty much everyone is aligned against this effort. Politicians and companies -- including telcos, tech companies, service providers and more -- are all quite worried what an ITU-governed internet would lead to (mostly funds being diverted from innovative companies to stagnant players and a much less open internet). But the US has only one vote in the upcoming WCIT event where many of these proposals will be reviewed. ITU boss Hamadoun Toure pretends that the public has a voice in this process, but ridiculously shut down the public commenting tool on the ITU's website before telling everyone about it (nice trick, that).
However, if the ITU won't let the public comment, there's nothing preventing the public from speaking out elsewhere. That is, after all, one of the amazing wonders of the internet, which the ITU refuses to understand: it's a tool of communication and expression. Along those lines, Google has revamped its "Take Action" page to urge people to speak out about the whole ITU/WCIT process which will be kicking off on December 3rd.
Also, if you want a simple video that explains what's happening, the one at WhatIsTheITU.org is really fantastic. It explains how the internet grew based on an open, bottom up process of technological experts, rather than a closed, top down setup by a large bureaucracy. And we should be concerned when anyone tries to flip that process.
Quite a week for random governmental retractions. Back in February, when we first warned about the upcoming "World Conference on International Telecommunications" (WCIT) meeting of the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU), we noted that the thing to be most afraid of was countries like Russia and China using the process to take over control of aspects of the internet, in part to allow greater control for the sake of censorship, but also to set up questionable "tariffs" on internet traffic, designed to basically divert money to state owned or "closely associated" telcos. While much of the focus over the past few months was on the EU telcos proposal, you had to know that even worse was coming.
Last week, the Russians released their proposal, first in Russian and a few days later with an English translation to the ITU -- and both versions quickly leaked. You can download it from the Internet Archive or view the embed below. It is a pretty blatantly bad document. Larry Downes, over at News.com, has a pretty thorough analysis of the document and why it's troubling. Here's a snippet:
The leaked proposal would strongly endorse national control over those parts of the Internet that reside within a country's borders, including ISPs, traffic, and engineering. One suggested change to the treaty, for example, declares that "Member States shall have the sovereign right to manage the Internet within their national territory, as well as to manage national Internet domain names."
Russia is also calling for a major revision to the multi-stakeholder governance process that has long-presided over domain names and Internet addressing, which it calls a "critical transnational resource." Under a proposed revision, the treaty would be amended to make clear that "Member States shall have equal rights in the international allocation of Internet addressing and identification resources."
Today, oversight of domain names and IP addresses is delegated to ICANN, a nongovernmental organization, which manages key Internet resources through a complex mechanism. According to ICANN, its model is "bottom up" and includes "registries, registrars, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), intellectual property advocates, commercial and business interests, noncommercial and nonprofit interests, representation from more than 100 governments, and a global array of individual Internet users."
The ITU, by contrast, allows only its member nations to vote. Private organizations can participate in its proceedings by paying a large annual fee but cannot propose amendments or vote.
This isn't a surprise... but it is a clear problem:
Curbing the Internet is a priority for these countries that goes well beyond the WCIT process. China, for example, recently hosted its first annual "Internet Roundtable for Emerging Countries," attended by Russia, Brazil, India, and South Africa. According to observers of the meeting, the participants agreed that "The Internet must be managed by governments, with a particular focus on the influence of social networks on society."
The Russian proposal, however, is the most audacious power grab to date. And it comes as little surprise to observers of the ITU, which has deepened ties to Russia in a bid to demonstrate its relevance in cybersecurity. Last year, during a meeting between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure, Putin bluntly told Toure that Russia was keen on the idea of "establishing international control over the Internet using the monitoring and supervisory capability of the International Telecommunications Union."
Of course, a funny thing happened over the weekend... In talking to people familiar with the matter, we found out that days after the Russian proposal went live, they pulled it and submitted a "revised" version. Right now it's Russian only, so people are waiting for the ITU's translators to dig in, but we're hearing from people who understand Russian that the new version is slightly better than the original, but still has significant problems.
Meanwhile, Downes piece also has two ridiculous tidbits about just how out of touch and clueless the ITU is. Earlier this month, we wrote about an editorial in Wired by ITU boss Hamadoun Toure in which he explained why the UN should regulate the internet. Downes points out that the title of that article was changed from "UN Must Regulate the Internet" to "UN: We Seek to Bring Internet to All." Quite different, though it's unclear who came up with the headline. The bigger issue, however, is that part of Toure's insistence that the ITU process is an "open" one relies on the existence of the WCIT Public Views and Opinions page, where people could submit their opinions -- and he encouraged people to do so. Only problem? At the time Toure's piece was published, the ITU had already turned off the ability to add new comments.
But perhaps that's because the ITU required commenters to first register, provide extensive identifying information, and agree to a lengthy terms of service agreement before they could "express their views" on the contents of a single, and highly redacted, early draft of the proposals the ITU decided to release. (The complete document, as well as many more recent versions, are available on WCITLeaks.)
Or perhaps that's because, as one of Wired's reader's pointed out, the "Public Views and Opinions" page had actually been shut down before Toure's editorial was even published.
Weeks ahead of the conference, and just as some of the worst proposals are leaking out of the ITU's information fortress, the public comment page now reads solemnly: "We inform you that the WCIT-12 Open Consultation process is now closed."
That statement captures, in a nutshell, everything that's wrong with the WCIT, and the ITU's pathetic effort to spin it.
Why is it even a discussion for the ITU to try to take more control over the internet when they clearly have no clue?
Rikuo: to be more accurate, he was named in the comments, not the video itself dennis deems: Jay, thanks for that reminder Christopher Best: Andrew Stack was not a member of the Tea Party movement. He was a disturbed individual, and a disgruntled software developer. There's explicit tax law that treats software developers very unfairly if they try to work as independent contractors... yaga: that's very true CB Alana: AJ Seriously just compared arguments against copyright infringment to rape. ... Yeah, nobody should take him seriously at this point. err, against copyright* silverscarcat: seriously? Jay: Glenn Beck asking for a 9/12 movement isn't the least bit suspicious? Along with all of the other issues with the IRS right now? Ninja: I am honestly amused that the community is marking the comments of that "horse" guy as funny silverscarcat: Who takes Glenn Beck seriously? Jeff: did the 'new' comment color bars go away? dennis deems: ya I hadn't noticed until you said that. I don't recall seeing them the last couple days. Mike Masnick: new color bars ran into some big technical problems. :) we took them down while we fix them. fix is currently going through testing and should be back (and better than before) soon. dennis deems: yay! the color bars rule! Jeff: whew! Thought I was going... wait for it... "Color Blind" thanks! I'll be here all day... :-) Jay: @ssc I'm talking more in 2011 at the peak of TP hysteria TheResidentSkeptic: @mike - mod for your business model - CwF+RtB+DoP..too many miss the "Deliver On Promises"