Thursday, February 2, 2012

Observations from the Coffee Shop 2.2

The SOPA blackout of January 18th may have been a sweet victory for internet freedom but I am beginning to think it was a minor one. Between Google's new privacy policy and Twitter's censorship rules it is beginning to seem as if the web giants fought SOPA for their own private reasons.

Than Google stuck yet again. It seems Google very quietly announced earlier this month that they would allow country by country censorship of their Blogger service which you happen to be reading right now. On January 9th they revealed they will comply with censorship requests on a per country basis which they will accomplish by using country specific web addresses. If you were reading this in India, the only country effected so far, the address would now have a .in added to it. The announcement was so quiet that it went unnoticed until reported by Wired yesterday. So much for all the vaunted cries for freedom of the internet that were heard only weeks ago.

In some totally unrelated news the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation, the world's leading breast cancer research group, cut all funding to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood used the Komen funds, about $600,000 annually, to pay for breast cancer screening for poor women. Komen, which is the creator of the pink ribbon campaign, said Planned Parenthood was cutoff because of a new rule in which Komen states it will not fund any organization under investigation by any government body. Parenthood is being investigated by anti-abortion Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida for the gods only knows what trumped up reason. Rumor has it the rule was specifically written to find an excuse to defund Parenthood after pressure from anti-abortion groups and Komen's top public health official immediately resigned in protest.

Evidently, while our minds were elsewhere, cancer became a partisan issue, a terribly sad turn of events for anyone who knows anyone who has had cancer. That pretty much includes all of us. It seems I'm not the only one who thinks that as in the 24 hours since the Kormen announcement Planned Parenthood has raised $400,000 not including another $250,000 from an unknown Texas couple and a $250,000 pledge by New York Mayor Bloomberg.

What ties these two stories together is something that happened last night. In a classic bit of defacing a so far anonymous hacker, not to be confused with the hacker group Anonymous, visited the Komen website. The hack redirected visitors to an almost identical website with the only difference being an ad for a Komen supported marathon. The original said "help us get 26.2 or 13.1 miles closer to a world without breast cancer," which the hacker changed to "help us run over poor people on the way to the bank:"

Like I said, classic.

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