Source: DemandProgress.org via Boing Boing.

[CENSORED]

If the MPAA has its way, bill S.3804 will be shoved through Congress so fast that they won’t notice that it mimics tactics used by China and Iran.

Congratulations, America! You have become the enemy you fight.

nietzsche-portrait.jpg

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. (Neitzsche)

America always seems to cringe when other nations try some form of mass-censorship, but the MPAA wants it to happen. Bill S.3804, aka the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA) is their latest scam to seize control of the Internet in the name of “stopping piracy.”

The “Bill” is currently “in committee,” meaning that some congressional members are reviewing the “Bill” to see if it is something that can easily pass, if some tweaking is necessary, or if it should be dumped altogether. If you want to see this “Bill” for yourself (you need some bathroom material or a cure for insomnia) you can find the full text on GovTrack.us where you can also track its progress.

Many bills do die in committee, so the odds are against this one surviving. But if it does survive and becomes law…

 

The Great Firewall of America. Demand Progress’ site has a fact sheet about what the bill purportedly does:

The bill creates two blacklists of Internet domain names. The first can be added to by a court, the second by the Attorney General. Internet service providers (everyone from Comcast to PayPal to Google AdSense) would be required to block any domains on the first list. They would also receive immunity (and presumably the government’s gratitude) for blocking domains on the second list.

Which sites would be tagets? Anyone “dedicated to infringing activity.” But read on…

Well, it means sites like YouTube could get censored in the US. Copyright holders like Viacom argue that copyrighted material is central to activity of YouTube. But under current US law, YouTube is perfectly legal as long as they take down copyrighted material when they’re informed about it — which is why Viacom lost their case in court. If this bill passes, Viacom doesn’t even need to prove YouTube is doing anything illegal — as long as they can persuade a court that enough other people are using it for copyright infringement, that’s enough to get the whole site censored.

And even without a court order, sites can get blacklisted just by order of the Attorney General — and the bill encourages ISPs to block those sites as well. ISPs have plenty of reason to obey a government blacklist even when they’re not legally required.

The US Constitution says that we’re supposed to have “due process” in the courts before a site gets its plug pulled, but in our post-9/11 security-surveillance state, due process can now be bypassed and a site can be shut down even though it never did anything wrong. If a person has a problem with a website, all they need to do is complain and … 404: Site not found. Imagine WikiLeaks, or even our own Cyberpunk Review site, being on someone’s shit-list. WikiLeaks can be considered a site “dedicated to infringing activity,” and Cyberpunk Review’s media and news about a genre that is inherently anarchistic and criminal in nature…

 

History Never Repeats… unless they didn’t study. I remember hearing something about Australia’s attempt at blacklist censorship failing. If someone down under can let us know what the status of that attempt. In the mean time, US citizens can sign an online petition to help stop S.3804.

Better still, let’s try this: Find out the congress-critters supporting this “bill” and the members of the MPAA and follow them around in speaker-packed cars or large boom-boxes set to continuously play FSR’s “Fuck the MPAA” to get our message across.

To be honest, I don’t think any of those corporate whores will ever get the message unless they’re raped in public.

This post has been filed under War for the Nets, Internet Find, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

September 22, 2010

Batman Beyond

Review By: Intel (Reviewer forum)

Year: Jan 10, 1999 - Dec 18, 2001

Produced By: WB Television Network and DC Comics

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

Key Cast Members:

  • Batman/Terry McGiness: Will Friedle
  • Bruce Wayne: Kevin Conroy
  • Max Gibson: Cree Summer
  • Dana Tan: Lauren Tom
  • Rating: 9 out of 10

    Another gem from the forums. I actually watched the series when it first came out on TV. Never really thought of it to be cyberpunk, but Intel not only believes it to be, but also thought it to be very good as well, and responders agree with him. I’m going to see if I can acquire the series, so let’s see what intel Intel has…

    List of some cyberpunk themes:

  • Distopic future
  • Megacorporations
  • Man-machine interface
  • AI
  • Genetic engineering
  • Hackers
  • Etc…
  • Story: 20 years after the last batman episode, Batman now has an advanced exoskeleton-type suit, but is suffering from age. While fighting a group of kidnappers, he has a heart attack and is forced to use a gun to fend of the criminals. He then give up his batman identity and the story jumps ahead 20 more years to year 2039.

    1f7ec550.jpg

    Bruce knows he can’t be the Batman forever. Sooner or later, he needs to pass the torch… and the suit.

    Now we shift over to Terry McGinnis, an athletic 16-year-old high school student and ex-troublemaker with a sense of justice. In the pilot episode, Terry saves a fellow passenger on a commuter rail from a member of the Jokerz gang, and then takes on an entire gang of Jokerz to defend his girlfriend, resulting in a high-speed motorcycle chase. The chase ends on the grounds of Wayne Manor, where Terry runs into the elderly Bruce Wayne. Bruce and Terry fend off the Jokerz together, but the fight causes Wayne’s heart condition to act up. Terry helps Bruce back to the manor and, while staying there, he discovers the entrance to the Batcave. Chased out by Bruce, Terry comes home to discover that his father had been murdered by the vengeful Jokerz, and later returns to “borrow” the Batsuit to avenge the death of his father. As crime and corruption are beginning once again to rear their ugly heads in Gotham, Bruce ultimately allows Terry to assume the mantle of Batman.

    Overview: We now find gotham to be a huge, sprawling metropolis of skyscrapers, metro-rails, and hover-cars. the wealthy live in the penthouses and crime a poor are left to the ancient alleyways. criminals are now high-tech assasins, genetically-engineered low lifes, CEO’s of megacorporations, and even a few rampant AI.

    Background image from legionsofgotham.org

    Click the pic to visit LegionsofGotham.org to see more Batman Beyond background images like this one.

    Visuals: the show is full of grungy buildings, neon signs, and power cables. It also has an interesting mix of japanese and english written on many of the signs. The hover cars and metro rails add a nice touch to the scenes. The show usually takes place at night, adding to the mood, and shows lots of scenes of batman soaring through the skyline with his new flight capabilities.

    Conclusion: It is by far one of the darkest shows to ever run on a daytime children’s cartoon channel,

    batman_beyond33.jpg

    “Dark” might be an understatement…

    and had surprisingly complex themes for its young viewers. If you’ve never heard of it, just watch the opening video here to see what I mean:

     

    Postscript from Mr. Roboto. A couple of things to watch for while watching this series. First off, some of the old enemies reappear in some form, either as “aged” forms or as “trophies” Bruce keeps.

    03.jpg

    Mr. Freeze shows he’s ahead of his time. [rimshot.wav]

    Second, there’s a season two episode called “Project: Zeta” which lead to a spin-off series, The Zeta Project. It’s about a killer robot who chooses not to kill and runs away with a girl who teaches it how to be human. This series I have got to acquire to review… unless I see it in our reviewer forum first…

    This post has been filed under From our Reviewer Forums, TV Episodes, Awesome Cyberpunk Themes, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals by Mr. Roboto.

    September 9, 2010

    Eyeborgs

    Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

    Year: 2010

    Directed by: Richard Clabaugh

    Written by: Fran Clabaugh and Richard Clabaugh

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Moderate

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

    Key Cast Members:

  • R. J. ‘Gunner’ Reynolds: Adrian Paul
  • Barbara Hawkins: Megan Blake
  • Jarett Hewes: Luke Eberl
  • G-Man: Danny Trejo
  • Rating: 7 out of 10

    Small Eyeborg

    “I see what you did there…”

    Overview: With the upcoming anniversary of 9/11, one has to wonder how far our security-surveillance panopticon prison planet has come. Britons have seen a rise in the Orwellian nightmare, while Americans have had something of a reprieve from the “Patriot” Act, although other forces may be taking over that role. Eyeborgs breeds 1984 with The Matrix to create a new form of high-tech overlord scenario.

    I probably would have missed this one if it wasn’t for my DVD club. While the “borgs” of Eyeborgs caught my initial attention, the description of the story is what sold me on it. After watching it, I was glad I had a chance to see it, even if it was direct-to-video. While not up to Terminator or Robocop standards, this is one of the better movies to come down the wires in some time.

    Spider Eyeborg mistakes President’s nephew for a target.

    That’s no punk, that’s President Hewes’s nephew.

    The Story: The on-going threat of terrorism has led to the adoption of the “Freedom of Observation” act. This gives the Department of Homeland Security new weapons in their surveillance of US citizens. Among them are the “Eyeborgs,” cameras with robotic legs that allow them to move around. Coordinating them, and the millions of already existing stationary cameras, is the Optical Defense Intelligent Network… “O.D.I.N.” for short.

    DHS agent R.J. “Gunner” Reynolds (Paul) is observing a gun sale to a possible terrorist whose targeting President Hewes. The person gets away, but is later caught when eyeborgs see his bike at a punk show where the President’s nephew, Jarett, is playing with his band. The person is captured for targeting Jarett and interrogated at a DHS office. Leaving the man alone for a few minutes, he manages to escape when the eyeborgs in the room attack him. He dies later when the eyeborgs force him over a railing and causing him to fall six stories to his death. It was determined via surveillance cameras that Reynolds left the door unlocked allowing the man to escape, but Reynolds did lock the door. He begins questioning the integrity of O.D.I.N. as other people involved with the investigation die in mysterious ways while the eyeborgs give a very different version of the truth.

    Gunner sees the truth.

    “See with your own eyes… not theirs.”

    O Say Can You See? Just when you the plot is pretty much cut-and-dried, the big twist comes when Reynolds tries to get Jarett from the Presidential Debate. That’s when Reynolds, and the viewers, figure out what the truth is. O.D.I.N. has been manipulating reality, or whoever is manipulating O.D.I.N. to manipulate reality, for their own end.

    The New President.

    “Everybody knows that videos can be faked. Regardless of the motives of the people, they’re designed to confuse you, so you must ask yourself, each and every citizen of this country, ask yourself one question and one question only - Who do you believe? A government that is sworn to protect you, or a ratings-hungry media beholden to no one?”

    For the most part the movies works well, but you might see a problem with some of the eyeborgs late in the movie. The colors reflecting from the machines feel “off,” and some of the eyeborgs appear to be two-dimensional sprites instead of 3D during the rescue scene. Probably a result of being rushed to video.

     

    Conclusion: Given the current state of terrorism-generated paranoia, Eyeborgs seems like just the ticket to stoke those tin-foil hat fires. While it may have avoided theatrical release (and competition from Iron Man 2), it shouldn’t be left out of your home video collection, especially with recent disappointments from Hollywood.

    This post has been filed under Cyberpunk movies from 2010 - 2019, Security-Surveillance State, AI (no body), Dystopic Future Movies, Android Movies by Mr. Roboto.

    Source: New York Times

    “I ACTUALLY think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions,” said the search giant’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, in a recent and controversial interview. “They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”

    “G” as in God? Whether you found it online yesterday (31-Aug-2010) or in today’s dead tree edition (or just hearing about it now), cyberpunk’s godfather William Gibson gives his op-ed about Google’s want of playing god in telling us what to do.

    OK, it’s not because of Google’s want of telling us what to do, but the apparent need of anyone who uses the big “G” to decide what they want to do. Those who use G’s services actually contribute to the search giant’s ability to make decisions for us. Gibson likens G to a genie that can grant our wishes:

    We would all very much like to be sagely and reliably advised by our own private genie; we would like the genie to make the world more transparent, more easily navigable. Google does that for us: it makes everything in the world accessible to everyone, and everyone accessible to the world.

    Of course, the “everyone accessible to the world” part is what some balk at as we find our personal information being more and more exposed online.

     

    The inmates run the prison. The idea of Google being a sort of panopticon prison, with G as the proverbial omnipotent warden and us as the inmates, but Gibson argues that is only half-true:

    In Google, we are at once the surveilled and the individual retinal cells of the surveillant, however many millions of us, constantly if unconsciously participatory. We are part of a post-geographical, post-national super-state, one that handily says no to China. Or yes, depending on profit considerations and strategy. But we do not participate in Google on that level. We’re citizens, but without rights.

    As said before, it’s the people who use Google’s services who actually contribute to the building of the panopticon, and the real problem comes in when those people (over)expose themselves on social network sites. Gibson sees possibilities in a fake identity industry for such carelessness since Google doesn’t seem interested in protecting users from their own stupidity.

     

    Don’t blame the government. It would be easy to do so IF the advances in technology wasn’t so quick. But when the only law Google follows is Moore’s Law, technology will always stomp a mud hole in legislation’s face and walk it dry:

    We also seldom imagined (in spite of ample evidence) that emergent technologies would leave legislation in the dust, yet they do. In a world characterized by technologically driven change, we necessarily legislate after the fact, perpetually scrambling to catch up, while the core architectures of the future, increasingly, are erected by entities like Google.

    Then again, Google is “a very large and powerful corporation to boot.” Too big to fail, and far too big to give a fuck.

    This post has been filed under Internet Find, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

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