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Verizon 'Sugar' Coats Censorship


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#1 Stolen

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 06:18 PM

Verizon Sugar Coats Censorship
Written By Stolen
October 29, 2014 // Time 6:15 PM GMT
6305518987_f224d75022_o.jpg
Image by watchingfrogsboil

The world's most valuable and second-richest telecommunications company has launched a news site. What's different about it? They claim to cover 'what Millennials really care about today' and deliver the latest in technology and lifestyle news.

Reporters across the web continue to be recruited by email by Verizon. Many have declined the job offer. Why? The email included the premise behind the site and detailed the 'rules'. Rules? Wait, there are rules and requirements for reporters who are reporting news?

Well of course there are. When the company is Verizon, those rules mean censorship.

Verizon will strictly forbid all articles or any reference on either of two subjects: Net Neutrality and US surveillance. I can't imagine why. But let's take a look.

The current headlines on the site include the following stories slanted with misinformation and lacking any perspective including the fundamental expectation of fair and honest reporting of news by journalists:
 

-An article which attempts to portray the Deep Web as a benign place that provides anonymity for artists and others who struggle with identity.

-Emphasis on social media as in 'Would you quit a job if you could not chat while working?' and the answer, according to the banner, is a very emphatic 'Absolutely'.


My only comment right now is if I had to comment on the content, my brain would implode. Really? Is this what Millennials really want?

Aside from the obviously weak content and slanted reporting, the more important issue is the negative effect of censorship on news reporting which cannot be over emphasized. This story broke yesterday and one reporter sums it up this way:

From The Daily Dot, reporter Patrick Howell O'Neill, Oct 28, 2014:
 

'Virtually every story currently on the front page articles about GPS being used by law enforcement, anonymity hardware enabling digital activists, and artists on the Deep Web (that) would typically include information on American surveillance of the Internet and net neutrality to give the reader the context to make sure she's fully informed. But none of articles do that. At best, they dance around the issue and talk about how other countries aside from the U.S. conduct surveillance. That self-censorship puts blinders on the reader, never giving her all the information she should have and information that, not coincidentally, tends to make Verizon and other powerful interests look very, very bad. Verizon's decision to build a technology news site that flat-out ignores two of the biggest questions we have about the future of technology raises key questions about how the site can build a fair, comprehensive, and honest journalistic institution.'


I am not inclined at this moment to mention the name of the new site as I have no wish to give them further hits, but yes, it does include the word 'Sugar' and hence the title of this topic.

For further reading, please see the following important discussions on Net Neutrality, US surveillance and Verizon:

The Big Players Won, You Lost
Privacy and Security
Verizon Plays Dirty

Additional Further Reading:

Verizon is launching a tech news site that bans stories on U.S. spying

Verizons New Tech News Site Has A Strange Name And An Even Stranger Rule: No Reporting On Net Neutrality Or US Surveillance

I took a look. Surely we can do better.



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#2 ElfBane

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 03:37 AM

Rant ON

 

I like Net Neutrality. I'm a little concerned about US spying.

 

But you know what I don't like??? Bandwidth hogs slowing me down because of their comsumption. To me bandwidth hogging is just like a utility bill... if you use more, you better pay more. So, how is this reconciled?

 

The cure for spying is fairly simple in concept but hard to do in practice... REPEAL THE PATRIOT ACT!!!

 

Rant OFF

 

Top o'the mornin' to ya



#3 zingo156

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 12:08 PM

Verizon really is scum in my opinion, this is just another nail in their coffen. They are not alone though, most of the other ISP's in America are just as bad. My rant is mostly this: if you sell me 30mbps connection at $xx.xx dollars, then you better be able to provide that connection speed 100% of the time. No peak hours, no slow downs for what I want to do with my speed. I pay for x speed, I get x speed.

 

This is where the problem lies with ISP's they all oversell their lines and the know they can not provide each user with the speed they pay for 100% of the time. They need to stop overselling their lines, if they can't supply 30mbps speed then don't sell 30mbps speed.

 

Larger numbers are better in the retail world. I can't even tell you how many users will buy 8gb of ram over 4gb of ram and they will never use it. I saw a simple farmer who used ebay and email buy an i7 with 12gb of ram. He litterally said "It has bigger numbers so it is better". He isn't wrong but he spent $2000 on a computer when a $400 dollar machine would have been more than enough for his purpose. Will he notice a speed difference? NO!

 

Verizon, Comcast, all of these mainstream ISP's are terrible, TERRIBLE companies. Verizon blaming slow downs on Netflix last time was rediculous. We know it was verizon causing the problem. They just wanted to dig into more pockets, unfortunately they can get away with it too.


Edited by zingo156, 30 October 2014 - 12:36 PM.

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#4 rp88

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 12:15 PM

This is how the end of the internet begins. Now as i know many "millenials" (i assume that means people born shortly before or after the year 2000) i can say they really will fall for this sort of stuff, so not only is this a terrfiying truth about the comapany's plans, it's also a terrifying proof of how most people don't appreciate the value of freedom and privacy. How so many people have been drawn into the con that is celebrity, fashion, social media is shocking, it blinds them to the reality of where real problems lie. I hope that propaganda like this does not gain much readership but i know it will, and as it does the whole internet will slide into a degraded mass of apps, social media and big corporate sites, all designed to turn people into passive consumers paying for services that aren't even adequate for purpose. This is a nasty taste of what lies ahead if people continue to ignore the real problems (in no particular order: lack of freedom(surveillance and privacy links with this), throw-away culture(consumerism and advertising links with this), over-dependence on overly-complex systems, over-dependence on fossil fuels, inability to plan for the future).


ps: i notice verizon don't even properly know the meaning of the term "deep web", that just means stuff within sites which search engines don't list, the "dark web" is all the anonymity based stuff and it is ofcourse neither good nor bad it just is.

Edited by rp88, 30 October 2014 - 12:15 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#5 zingo156

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 12:22 PM

I wouldn't be suprised if on all of verizons mobile phones they started editing the browser in some fashion to force the homepage to be that of their "tech" website and then limit search results as well. This really is a way to just blind the public even more. The question now is how to fight back? Personally I think small towns need to get together and chip in money to run their own fiber lines. Then counties can get together and chip in enough to link the towns, then states can run the lines to link the counties and so on.

 

They own the lines, they own the media, if we own the lines, we own the media which runs through the lines.


Edited by zingo156, 30 October 2014 - 12:35 PM.

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#6 Animal

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 04:16 PM

We can add another nail in Verizon's coffin by bringing another loss of privacy tool they employ to light.

In an article by Wired.com's Rober McMillan on Oct 27, 2014 Titled: Verizon’s ‘Perma-Cookie’ Is a Privacy-Killing Machine He states:
 

Verizon Wireless has been subtly altering the web traffic of its wireless customers for the past two years, inserting a string of about 50 letters, numbers, and characters into data flowing between these customers and the websites they visit.

The company—one the country’s largest wireless carriers, providing cell phone service for about 123 million subscribers—calls this a Unique Identifier Header, or UIDH. It’s a kind of short-term serial number that advertisers can use to identify you on the web, and it’s the lynchpin of the company’s internet advertising program. But critics say that it’s also a reckless misuse of Verizon’s power as an internet service provider—something that could be used as a trump card to obviate established privacy tools such as private browsing sessions or “do not track” features.


This is just a partial quote of the article. For the complete article click the title of the article link above.

Should we be outraged one US corporation wields this much power, without consequences? I for one think so. I know Judge Harold H. Greene never envisioned this seismic shift in telecommunications power when he decreed the Bell System be dismantled in 1984. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It just takes one generation of time to forget the past and repeat it. Lather, rinse, repeat I say....

It's just too bad we can't consult Judge Greene today since he passed away Jan 29, 2000. I'm sure he would have some very precious nuggets of wisdom for this generation.

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.
Andrew Brown (1938-1994)


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#7 Chris Bar

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 01:20 AM

You question Verizon but fail to mention who you perceive as better.  Just who are we talking about here...who are the players, so we can address what Verizon does not do what the other does do [wrong]. 



#8 zingo156

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 07:12 AM

Wow Animal, that is another nail in their coffin.

 

 

You question Verizon but fail to mention who you perceive as better.  Just who are we talking about here...who are the players, so we can address what Verizon does not do what the other does do [wrong]. 

Chris, Verizon is definitely the worst cell provider from everything that I have read. That does not mean that others are much better, and some are starting to play the same games. For now I use t-mobile, I dislike the loss of signal in bulidngs due to the higher frequency, they did just buy a 700mhz band from Verizon so maybe that will go away soon. Still no ISP or Cell provider is perfect. They are all out to make money and make the shareholders happier each year. Verizon has just gone above and beyond when it comes to trying to disable our ability to use internet the way we want.


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#9 Animal

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 08:30 AM

You question Verizon but fail to mention who you perceive as better.

I'm not 'questioning' Verizon. I'm sharing information that has been reported so that it can gain maximum visibility. So that members and anyone that views this site can have as much information to make ain informdecision about doing business with a publicly traded company. It's about making informed choices where you spend your money.
  

Just who are we talking about here...who are the players, so we can address what Verizon does not do what the other does do [wrong].

I'm not sure what you mean here. I'm not comparing Verizon to any other like company. I am not suggesting they emulate another company. I'm only bringing specific to Verizon business practices that I feel are questionable. If enough people can see this information and collectively agree there is something not right. Then maybe we can get the appropriate oversight regulators looking into their business practices. If the regulators are ineffective maybe public opinion and loss of business will cause them to rethink how they do business.

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.
Andrew Brown (1938-1994)


A learning experience is one of those things that say, "You know that thing you just did? Don't do that." Douglas Adams (1952-2001)


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#10 Animal

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 11:22 AM

Okay I'm putting this out there up front because somebody or several sombodies are going to think I have it out for Verizon. No I don't have it out specifically for Verizon. But if there is this much 'smoke' in such a short amount of time one can't help but think there is a significant 'fire' raging at Verizon.

Here it is this time:

Verizon agrees to pay $64.2 million to settle Family SharePlan overcharging claim

Okay let that dollar amount sink in. NO Company pays a fine that is more than they made in profit from the act they are accused of and 'settle for'.

So they are guilty of something, and are 'settling' on that dollar amount to avoid further scrutiny. Plain and simple. So at a very minimum Verizon is guilty of nearly $65 million dollars of fraud. Overcharging is fraud others have called it theft. It's wrong no matter how you want to turn the phrase.

So now they will pay back to those customers(victims) who were defrauded $36.7 million. Give $25.7 million in free minutes. Yeah like thats gonna hurt them badly. And pay $19.26 million in legal fees.

What I really want to know is how much they really made with their scheme. So they are able to not take a financial hit that affects their share price and worry investors and shareholders.

Further reading:

Verizon will pay $64.2 million for unlawfully billing users on its Family Share Plan

Verizon agrees to pay $64.2 million to settle Family SharePlan overcharging claims

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.
Andrew Brown (1938-1994)


A learning experience is one of those things that say, "You know that thing you just did? Don't do that." Douglas Adams (1952-2001)


"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world." Albert Einstein (1879-1955)


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#11 Kaliaila

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 04:58 AM

All of the companies have gotten hit with similar cases and settled them.  AT&T got hit with a huge one here recently on throttling. Also your premise that them settling means they 'know' they did something wrong is faulty.  When companies settle it has more to do with future earnings than with past ones; the longer there is negative talk out there about a company the harder it is for that company to succeed, even if what is being said is an out and out lie.  I am quite sure that in both the Verizon case you reference and the AT&T one which I mentioned that neither company admits that they did anything wrong.  They are simply settling because it makes better business sense to pay that amount than it does to go through a prolonged court case and have to pay more in just their attorney's fees.

 

Verizon is no worse than any of the other phone companies. In fact I personally know people who have phones with about every different carrier around where I live; in the area I live in the people with the Verizon have far less issues with CS and pretty much everything than those with any of the other big companies.  When it comes to the more local wireless carriers it is a case by case basis.  Also, if you think that Verizon is the only company with something along the lines of the UIDH, then you're very naïve; they all have something along those lines.  Verizon is simply the biggest of the fishes so they are the one everyone hates on; similar to how their is so much hate toward Microsoft not really because of anything they have done or not done, but because they have been successful.

 

As for the stupidity of the OP, it is Verizon's site they can put whatever the *&())(& they want on it.  Plus if I was an internet provider who was going to start a site for news articles, I would most definitely exclude those to subjects.  Why you ask?  Because absolutely nothing good can come from them being on a site ran by an ISP, the articles would be taken as just propaganda being put out to support whatever side on which the reader thinks that Verizon is.  Better to out and out exclude them and avoid the finger pointing.  Honestly, whoever wrote the quoted article needs to actually learn what censorship is.  The only way they could actually be censoring anything would be if somehow Verizon was eliminating that information from all other sources so it was not available at all. 

 

The idea that Verizon is practicing censorship because of the rules that must be followed for an article to be approved is laughable.  It would be like going into a Christian bookstore, asking for a satanic bible, and when the clerk tells you that they purposely don't carry that kind of book then you go and accuse them of practicing censorship; they are not censoring anything, but you are not who they care to sell to anyway. 

 

Also, there are no longer journalists, especially on the web.  There are just a bunch of people giving their spin on what happened in the world today.  No one actually just reports the news anymore.



#12 ElfBane

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 09:02 AM

Grabbing my popcorn, the flames fixin' to get hotter!



#13 Stolen

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 01:02 AM

Kaliaila.

 

I will show the respect to you which you have obviously failed to show me. You are a new member here so I can safely assume you have not taken the time to read the links provided in my OP.  Oh wait, I can actually see that you have not taken the time to read the links provided.

 

Are you up for that challenge? Because I would like to give you fair warning. Taking the time to read is one thing, but having the intelligence quota necessary to process and arrive at logical conclusions is quite another.

 

I can also assure you, however, that I speak from a position of knowledge and authority on all these subjects, something which I also assume you have neither as you provide nothing to back up your opinions.  

 

Before I get started, I want to state it is also extremely important for you to READ the articles and links included in a topic in order for you to comprehend facts rather than stating generalizations with zero supporting comments or links, all of which equals to all filler and no meat.

 

I am going to now take a deeper look at what you wrote and break down a few of your obvious misstatements.

 

1. You referred to both Verizon and AT&T: “They are simply settling because it makes better business sense to pay that amount than it does to go through a prolonged court case and have to pay more in just their attorney's fees.”

 

Fact: AT&T has not settled anything in regards to the lawsuit you mentioned, which incidentally was just brought a few days ago by the FTC. See FTC vs. AT&T Complaint, October 28, 2014.

 

Believe me, the Death Star NEVER moves that fast.

 

2. You stated, “The idea that Verizon is practicing censorship because of the rules that must be followed for an article to be approved is laughable.”

 

Fact: Aside from the fact that you utilize circular reasoning (which ultimately leads nowhere and concludes nothing), I will validate my position that Verizon is wrong to censor, not just because news and the reporting of such should never be censored, but also because Verizon has accepted US government subsidies, and thus Verizon is not allowed to discriminate and/or censor.

 

Verizon took government money to get into the FIOS business. This article by TechDirt proves Verizon is playing a shell game in which it wants to be classified as Title II in order to get subsidized access to install its network, but Verizon also does not want to be held to the rules that Title II places on those networks. And so Verizon claims, laughably, that such rules are "unprecedented," even as Verizon begs to be regulated under them when the rules benefit Verizon.

 

In other words, if Verizon took federal money to get into the game, then they should be held to US regulations of non discrimination/censorship rules.

 

Let me provide two parallels:

 

-Section 8 housing guidelines: You take HUD money, then you have to rent to ANYONE.

-When a university accepts government money and conducts research, then they are subject to following rules according to FDA in order to get approval and conduct the research appropriately. If you do not accept any government money, then you can pretty much do what you damn well please and not follow rules.

 

Verizon took Uncle Sam’s money to get into FIOS, so Verizon has to play by HIS rules regarding discrimination and censorship. Oh wait, that is, until they get caught cheating as they have numerous times.

 

Quote by Mike Masnick, Oct 30, 2014: 

 

"But that's the kind of contradictory bullsh!t that we've come to expect from Verizon these days. Title II is unprecedented (except all the times we beg to use it to get taxpayer-funded benefits for ourselves). No one wants paid prioritization (except that we've said we'd like to do paid prioritization). Zero-rating is pro-consumer (in that it saves the consumer from the rest of our awful policies). Basically, it seems like Verizon is so used to hiding the nasty details down in the fine print, that it now does it as standard operating procedures in everything it says and does."

 

3. You also said, “Verizon is no worse than any of the other phone companies…if you think that Verizon is the only company with something along the lines of the UIDH, then you're very naïve.”

 

Fact: Please see United States Patent filed May 22, 2012, Assignee:Cellco Partnership D/B/A Verizon Wireless entitled 'Obtaining targeted services using a unique identification header (uidh) US 20130318346 A1'

 

I would say that a US Patent certainly proves you wrong and proves that Verizon is the ONLY player utilizing UIDH, and there is no doubt about it.

 

In summary, naivety has nothing to do with facts, a fact which surely proves your own, which, lastly, brings me to the issue of stupidity.

 

I would strong advise you to do research, get your facts straight, and become educated regarding the definition of important items such as censorship and the Loss of Net Neutrality and not rely on weak allegories of Satanists and Christian bookstores to make a point.

 

Take a look at this quote, and take a lesson from history:

 

“Literature cannot develop between the categories "permitted"—"not permitted"—"this you can and that you can't." Literature that is not the air of its contemporary society, that dares not warn in time against threatening moral and social dangers, such literature does not deserve the name of literature; it is only a facade. Such literature loses the confidence of its own people, and its published works are used as waste paper instead of being read.
-Letter to the Fourth National Congress of Soviet Writers” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

 

The same premise holds true for all publications, journalistic, reporting and news.

 

Again, I ask: Is this what Millennials really want? 

 

Thank you for your time and attention to these important matters.

Stolen



#14 NickAu

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 07:03 PM

Quote

 

Verizon sued to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's 2010 Open Internet Order, forcing the FCC to try again. The commission tentatively approved rules in May that would prevent Internet service providers from blocking or degrading traffic from third-party Web services while allowing "fast lane" deals in which companies could pay for faster access to consumers.

 

Verizon: ISPs will sue unless government adopts weaker net neutrality rules

 

Hows that go? We will get our way or we will sue. That's almost like the kid who holds his/her breath because mum said no to something.



#15 buddy215

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Posted 05 November 2014 - 02:20 PM

Quote

 

Verizon sued to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's 2010 Open Internet Order, forcing the FCC to try again. The commission tentatively approved rules in May that would prevent Internet service providers from blocking or degrading traffic from third-party Web services while allowing "fast lane" deals in which companies could pay for faster access to consumers.

 

Verizon: ISPs will sue unless government adopts weaker net neutrality rules

 

Hows that go? We will get our way or we will sue. That's almost like the kid who holds his/her breath because mum said no to something.

It's the opposite of the didn't happen  'trickle down theory'. The consumer will be the one who pays the ISPs because those who pay to get in the fast lane will

simply add the costs plus a percentage to their customers bill.....the 'trickle up theory'.


Edited by buddy215, 05 November 2014 - 02:22 PM.

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss

A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”





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