Arizona State University infuriated activists when the school decided to block access to Change.org, a popular site that allows people to create and sign petitions in an effort to produce social change.
According to Free Press — a nonpartisan media reform organization — ASU decided to lift the ban after being inundated with “thousands of complaints.”
The school is claiming that the now discarded ban had nothing to do with the content of Change.org, but rather was implemented to protect students and the university’s network from spam and viruses.
"Arizona State University blocked access to the website change.org after it was used to spam thousands of university email accounts in early December 2011," a university statement says. ”ASU strongly supports the First Amendment and an individual’s or group’s right to free speech.”
"The corruption and greed that masquerades as Arizona State government must come to this realization now. The citizens of the State Of Arizona and the students at Arizona State University demand better," the petition states.
A writer for Common Dreams who used to work for Change.org shot back at the university’s claims, saying, "Change.org is anything but spam. It’s a perfectly lawful website that has helped millions take action on a host of important issues."
The university apparently felt the battle wasn’t worth fighting and announced last week that access to Change.org had been restored.
"The university acknowledges and understands the expression of concern from some members of the community who desire access to Change.org from university computing resources," the school said in a statement obtained by Free Press. “The university has removed the restriction against site access from university computing resources.”
Courtesy of the Huffington Post
Eric Haywood, the author of the original petition censored by ASU and also, the publisher of TheDailyShit.com, responded to ASU’s ridiculous claims as follows;
"Spam is a mass mailing to different email address from one entity, undertaken for the purposes of financial gain. Change.org is the inverse. It solicits the masses to mail just one entity, and the petition is undertaken for the purpose of social change or altering a law or policy, not for for financial gain."
No spam was ever sent to any ASU student. ASU is full of crap.
As the publisher of thedailyshit.com and the author of the petition hosted by Change.org which can be found at;
It has been my experience as a student at ASU that ASU is not interested in fostering an environment that is respectful of the 1st Amendment...Nor am I of the opinion that ASU is concerned about the quality of education that it is tasked to provide. What I do believe is that ASU is far more interested in the financial exploitation of students above all other things…I believe that ASU is failing it’s students and society as a result.
In other words, ASU cares about the money it can generate from the 72,000 plus students that are currently enrolled. We are nothing more than cows to be milked. Sheep to be sheared. We are livestock.
We, as students, are there for ASU. ASU is not there for us.
When a person donates to a political figure, they expect that cash to be used towards furthering said politicians’ stated goals. Jan PAC, Arizona Governor Jan Brewers’ fund raising group, has pledged to focus on 4 goals:
Securing the border & restoring integrity to our immigration system
Creating jobs – Getting Americans back to work
Reducing the size of government
Instead, Jan Brewer has used donations to her political action committee to buy her own book (ostensibly to give to donors who contribute $100 or more but happens to have the side effect of putting PAC money directly into her pocket) and to stay at an expensive hotel.
“The governor had raised only about $22,000 for Jan PAC by the end of 2011 and spent nearly a quarter of the cash, buying books from Amazon and paying a bill at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria hotel in Orlando, Fla. The rest of the money is still in the bank.
Brewer spent $3,423 on books and shipping from the online retailer, according to the financial reports. On her fundraising website, she offers a signed copy of her book “Scorpions for Breakfast” to every donor who gives $100 or more.
In early December she also spent $624 for a night at the swank Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, which her financial disclosures repeatedly misspell as “Orlanda.” Another $513 went to airfare on Southwest Airlines.”
It’s the kind of thing Republicans would definitely take Democrats to task over, but as usual, when a Republican is guilty of misusing donations, it’s perfectly acceptable.
This report reveals quite a lot about Jan Brewer and her support team. Like the typical Right Wing nut job, she has no intention of actually using money for its intended purposes. Like the typical Right Wing nut job, she is selfish and thinks she is more important than she actually is. Like the typical Right Wing nut job, she abuses the trust of the her constituents. And like the typical Right Wing nut job, she can’t spell. As I said before, if a Democrat was doing this, Republicans would be screaming bloody murder about fraud and waste and would be calling for resignations and investigations. How can the Republican Party claim to be the defenders of what our money is spent on when they can’t even use PAC funds for the purposes they say they’re supposed to be used for?
This petition requested signatures to support the reduction in the costs of education for ASU students.
And NOW, Arizona State University is BLOCKING ALL ACCESS to Change.org for ALL of it’s over 70,000 students and over 5,000 faculty and employees.
As such, students living on ASU campus, using ASU computers or accessing the internet through ASU’s school WIFI are not able to access Change.org.
As a result, Not only can’t ASU students sign the above petition but they are unable to sign ANY PETITION on the Change.org website.
Not only is this outrageous, but it is a violation of the 1st Amendment rights of both ASU students as well the rights of Change.org and those with petitions hosted by Change.org to freely express themselves.
So….Now I’ve started a new petition requesting Arizona State University to STOP CENSORING Change.org;
Arizona State University might need to change its name to Censorship U after deciding to block students’ access to popular petition site Change.org.
Change.org happens to be hosting a petition created by ASU student Eric Haywood that protests rising tuition costs at the school.
This blocking could be violating the First Amendment rights of ASU students to speak freely and petition government.
When challenged about the website blocking, ASU officials claimed that Change.org is a spam site, writing that the blocking was conducted “to protect the use of our limited and valuable network resources for legitimate academic, research and administrative uses.”
But Change.org is anything but spam. It’s a perfectly lawful website that has helped millions take action on a host of important issues (disclaimer: I worked there as managing editor from 2008-2009).
The fact is, disabling access to any lawful site violates the spirit and principles of Net Neutrality, chills academic freedom and possibly rises to the level of a First Amendment violation. It’s astonishing that ASU President Michael M. Crow would allow this to happen — and that’s why Free Press and Change.org are urging him to stop his school’s censorship immediately.
We’re at a moment when threats to online speech are peeking around every corner. Just last month, we beat back SOPA and PIPA, two bills in Congress that would have opened the door to online censorship from big corporations.
This petition requested signatures to support the reduction in the cost of education for ASU students.
On the morning of December 7, 2011, Arizona State University BLOCKED ALL ACCESS to Change.org for ALL of it’s over 70,000 students and over 5,000 faculty and employees.
As of this date, approximately TWO MONTHS later, Arizona State University continues it’s BLOCKADE of the Change.org petition website, in a blatant attempt to prevent it’s current ernollment of more than 70,000 students from viewing and/or signing the petition to reduce college costs.
Clearly, ASU does not want it’s students, faculty, or employees signing this petition and has resorted to BLATANT and UNLAWFUL Censorship in order to block the freedom of expression of it’s students and faculty.
As such, students living on ASU campus, using ASU computers or accessing the internet through ASU’s school WIFI are unable to access Change.org.
As a result, Not only can’t ASU students sign the above petition but they are unable to sign ANY PETITION on the Change.org website.
In addition, emails sent from any “change.org” email address to any student or faculty email address ending in “asu.edu” are also being blocked by Arizona State University. That means that ASU refuses to allow Change.org or anyone using Change.org to send Arizona State University students or faculty emails regarding petitions facilitated by Change.org.
Not only is this outrageous, but it is a violation of the 1st Amendment rights of both ASU students as well the rights of Change.org and those with petitions hosted by Change.org to freely express itself.
Last time I checked this was America, not China, or Iran, or North Korea…..
What can be done about this?
Well. If you are an ASU Student, Professor, Instructor, or Employee you CAN sign the petition….You just can’t use any ASU computer or WIFI network to do so….
Just go to the petition at the Change.org site from your computer using ANY WIFI connection that is NOT associated with ASU…..That’s it…..Easy.
In years past, American liberals have had to settle for intellectual and moral leadership from the likes of John Dewey, Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Luther King Jr. But now, a grander beacon has appeared on the mountaintop, and from sea to shining sea, tens of thousands have joined in the adulation.
So it is worth taking a moment to study the metaphysics of Michael Moore. For Moore is not only a filmmaker; he is a man of ideas, and his work is based on an actual worldview.
Like Hemingway, Moore does his boldest thinking while abroad. For example, it was during an interview with the British paper The Mirror that Moore unfurled what is perhaps the central insight of his oeuvre, that Americans are kind of crappy.
”They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet … in thrall to conniving, thieving smug [pieces of the human anatomy],” Moore intoned. ”We Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance. We don’t know about anything that’s happening outside our country. Our stupidity is embarrassing.”
It transpires that Europeans are quite excited to hear this supple description of the American mind. And Moore has been kind enough to crisscross the continent, speaking to packed lecture halls, explicating the general vapidity and crassness of his countrymen. ”That’s why we’re smiling all the time,” he told a rapturous throng in Munich. ”You can see us coming down the street. You know, ‘Hey! Hi! How’s it going?’ We’ve got that big [expletive] grin on our face all the time because our brains aren’t loaded down.”
Naturally, the people from the continent that brought us Descartes, Kant and Goethe are fascinated by these insights. Moore’s books have sold faster there than at home. No American intellectual is taken so seriously in Europe, save perhaps the great Chomsky.
Before a delighted Cambridge crowd, Moore reflected on the tragedy of human existence: ”You’re stuck with being connected to this country of mine, which is known for bringing sadness and misery to places around the globe.” In Liverpool, he paused to contemplate the epicenters of evil in the modern world: ”It’s all part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel, Halliburton.”
In the days after Sept. 11, while others were disoriented, Moore was able to see clearly: ”We, the United States of America, are culpable in committing so many acts of terror and bloodshed that we had better get a clue about the culture of violence in which we have been active participants.”
This leads to Michael Moore’s global plan of action. ”Don’t be like us,” he told a crowd in Berlin. ”You’ve got to stand up, right? You’ve got to be brave.”
In an open letter to the German people in Die Zeit, Moore asked, ”Should such an ignorant people lead the world?” Then he began to reflect on things economic. His central insight here is that the American economy, like its people, is pretty crappy, too: ”Don’t go the American way when it comes to economics, jobs and services for the poor and immigrants. It is the wrong way.”
In an interview with a Japanese newspaper, Moore helped citizens of that country understand why the United States went to war in Iraq: ”The motivation for war is simple. The U.S. government started the war with Iraq in order to make it easy for U.S. corporations to do business in other countries. They intend to use cheap labor in those countries, which will make Americans rich.”
But venality doesn’t come up when he writes about those who are killing Americans in Iraq: ”The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.” Until then, few social observers had made the connection between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Paul Revere.
So we have our Sartre. And the liberal grandees Arthur Schlesinger, Ted Sorenson, Tom Harkin and Barbara Boxer flock to his openings. In Washington, a Senate vote was delayed because so many Democrats wanted to see his movie.
The standards of socially acceptable liberal opinion have shifted. We’re a long way from John Dewey.
Perhaps inspired by Moore, I got a fact wrong in my previous column. Bill Clinton did not win the evangelical vote in 1992 and 1996. I had relied on a report that was later corrected.
This article is the first in a two-part series tracing the development of the amorphous online community known as Anonymous, pranksters who have become a force in global affairs.
Late in the afternoon of Jan. 19, the U.S. Department of Justice website vanished from the Internet. Anyone attempting to visit it to report a crime or submit a complaint received a message saying the site was unable to load. More websites disappeared in rapid succession. The Recording Industry Association of America. The Motion Picture Association of America. Universal Music. Warner Brothers. The FBI.
By nightfall, most of the sites had come back online, but the people responsible for the outages had made their point. They’d landed what they hailed as the biggest blow yet in an escalating war for control of the Internet, and in one of their online command centers, “Phoenix” and his associates were celebrating.
Phoenix, a college student, is a member of Anonymous, the loose coalition of hackers, pranksters and other creatures of the Internet who have made headlines over the last 13 months for attacks on the computer systems of a wide range of targets: MasterCard, Visa and PayPal; the San Francisco public transit system; a Texas think tank; Sony; a host of computer-security companies; authoritarian governments in Tunisia and Egypt.
Phoenix wouldn’t call himself a “member,” of course. Much like Occupy Wall Street, a movement with which it has many ties, Anonymous technically has no official membership, hierarchy or specific agenda. Some “anons” do wield more influence than others and the resulting resentments have led to bitter internecine feuds, but its overall lack of an official power structure is essential to its identity and perhaps its survival. As Anonymous put it in a taunting statement to NATO, another recent object of its unfriendly attentions, “You can’t cut off the head of a headless snake.”
The snake seems to have a certain sense of direction, however, as the Jan. 19 attacks suggested. The inciting incident took place earlier that day in the hills outside Auckland, New Zealand, when local police landed two helicopters on the lawn of a man who calls himself Kim Dotcom and owns Megaupload, a hugely popular online service that enables people to share and store movies and other media for free.
Authorities shut down the site and arrested Dotcom and six colleagues, accusing them in a 72-page indictment of engaging in acts of “massive worldwide online piracy” that inflicted $500 million in damages on copyright holders while bringing in more than $175 million in profits.
The news spread quickly. A message went out on Anonymous Twitter accounts exhorting people to attack the Justice Department and several piracy-fighting trade groups. By clicking on a link, they could launch a page that asked them to identify a target. Thousands typed in the address of the Justice Department site and clicked enter, bombarding it with a fusillade of meaningless commands. Overwhelmed, the site froze and dropped offline.
In the chat network where Anonymous coordinated the attacks, the virtual warriors declared victory with a military phrase: “TANGO DOWN.”
Part war, part game. Given the culture of the Internet, it’s reasonable to assume that many of those who responded to Anonymous’ call were teenagers. The software used to fire these Internet missiles was the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, a name lifted from the video game “Command & Conquer.” Yet the consequences of firing it were real — a major law enforcement agency’s web site was temporarily crippled, leaving the agency to observe that there had been a “degradation in service.”
Last year, 14 anons were arrested in the United States for using the Ion Cannon to attack PayPal. Some now face the possibility of 15-year prison sentences.
Phoenix wasn’t around when the Jan. 19 attack went down, but later that night, I found him in an Anonymous chat room and asked him to explain the motivations behind it.
"You’ve heard Anons say before that this is a war," he said. "A full scale information war. That’s not mere propaganda, many regard that as a perfectly accurate description. And the stake at play is, simply, ‘Who will control access to information? Everyone or a small subset?’"
In case it wasn’t clear, he then labeled that subset: “The government.”
This struggle for control of the Internet goes back years, but it reached a crescendo just the day before the attack on the Justice Department, when Wikipedia went dark in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, the controversial anti-piracy bills that were working their way through Congress. Google collected 4.5 million signatures on a petition against the bills. Mozilla redirected traffic from its sites. And thousands of other protesters, from Tumblr and WordPress to Some Guy with a Blog, blacked out their sites, took to the streets and posted messages opposing the legislation, saying it would hurt their business and amounted to censorship.
Across the battle lines stood film studios, music labels, pharmaceutical companies and other businesses intent on defending their copyrighted property from illegal sharing at a time when the Internet has made it possible for, say, a digital copy of “V For Vendetta” — an anon fave and the source of their iconic grinning Guy Fawkes masks — to travel from an iPad in the United States to a piracy site in Brazil to another viewer’s laptop in Korea.
These companies have faced a tricky problem: How do you sue a piracy site when it’s based in another country, especially one with looser intellectual-property laws? The bills’ answer: You don’t. You go after their enablers — websites that drive traffic to the piracy sites by posting links to them, even if they only do so inadvertently. Critics argued that the cost of getting rid of these links would drive smaller sites out of business.
Two days after the protests, in the face of public outrage and lobbying efforts from the tech sector, Congress shelved SOPA indefinitely. But that doesn’t mean the war is over. As one Anonymous tweet warned about SOPA: “It can be brought back anytime. The bill must be KILLED.”
Like the web companies involved in the protests, anons tend to argue that anti-piracy legislation could send the Internet down an ever-tightening spiral of government control. Many anons go further, portraying such bills as deliberate assaults on the right to free speech. They say they oppose anti-piracy efforts on idealistic grounds, not that they don’t enjoy a bit of pirated entertainment from time to time. In general, obeying the law isn’t their priority. “The Internet is the Wild West,” Phoenix said on the night of the attacks, “and Anonymous will fight against any attempt to tame it.”
That conversation with Phoenix was not my first. All of our communications took place online, mostly in the networks of chat rooms where anons plan their attacks, and I had come to think of him a messenger from the Internet underworld: He had one foot in the world of “hax0rs” — hacker-speak for hackers — and one in the world of capital letters and correct spelling.
He was like a hacker Hermes, moving freely between the realms of the living and the dead, except that in this case the realm of the dead was a dominion of cyberspace in which the dead possessed an unusual degree of expertise in massively multiplayer online video games and porn.
Altogether, I spoke with more than 30 anons, and in some respects, their attitudes couldn’t have been more different, but one thing seemed to hold them together. They saw the Internet as their homeland, their home. Among them were Phoenix, Xyzzy and Gregg Housh. Together, their stories roughly trace the rise of Anonymous and the battles leading up to what Phoenix calls the war……..
“People from Arizona, I beg your pardon, but, thanks to Governor Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Republicans and Mormons and The Tea Party and Racists and Crazy Bigots and Stupid People and Insane Murdering Bastards, everyone from Arizona is now an asshole…”—
Research based on consumer credit-card spending finds the conservatives states are the biggest consumers of online pornography.
A nationwide study based on credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment company shows online pornography is popular in both liberal states (blue – Democrats) and in conservative states (red – Republicans). But the red states consume more porn than the liberal states.
One may expect the opposite, since conservative states teach abstinence education, no contraceptives, and they are the more religious of the two states. But the study shows contrasting results.
Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School wrote in his report:
Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by.
One of the adult entertainment sites (their name was kept confidential) provided two years of credit card data from 2006 to 2008 that contained the consumer’s purchase date and their zip codes. All the data was anonymised before studying in order to protect the users’ identities.
He then compared the download rates (bandwidth used) from each of the states: it found Utah to be the biggest consumer state with 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users, and Montana had the least with 1.92 adult content subscriptions per 1000.
Edelman noticed though the differences are low, he found one notable difference. In eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states, conservative Sen. John McCain was the big winner in the 2008 Presidential race; Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. Among the lowest 10, six out of 10 states chose Obama.
Other prominent facts found were:
* - Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays — a 1% increase in a postal code’s religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country.
* -Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don’t explicitly restrict gay marriage.
Edelman also compared this data with a previous study on public attitudes toward religion. He found that in states, where a majority agreed with the statement, “I have a old fashioned values about family and marriage”, they bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed with the same statement.
A similar difference also existed for the statement, “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior”.