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Below are the 13 most recent journal entries recorded in Boing Boing's InsaneJournal:

    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
    4:31 pm
    FCC planning new Internet rules that will gut Net Neutrality. Get ready to pay more for the stuff yo


    Tom Wheeler, head of the US Federal Communication Commission. (REUTERS/JASON REED)

    The Wall Street Journal was first to report that The Federal Communications Commission will propose new open Internet rules this Thursday that will allow content companies to pay Internet service providers "for special access to consumers."

    Under the new rules, service providers may not block or discriminate against specific websites, but they can charge certain sites or services for preferential traffic treatment if the ISPs' discrimination is "commercially reasonable."

    Bye-bye, Net Neutrality, and the internet as we know it. Hello, greater connectivity gap between rich and poor in America.

    For what it's worth: The FCC's current Chairman, Tom Wheeler, previously worked as a VC and lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry.

    The FCC Commissioners' email addresses, to which concerned citizens might send concerned email: Tom.Wheeler@fcc.gov Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov Jessica.Rosenworcel@fcc.gov Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov Mike.O'Rielly@fcc.gov. The FCC's main telephone line is 1-888-225-5322. More contact information and postal mail address here.

    From the New York Times:

    The new rules, according to the people briefed on them, will allow a company like Comcast or Verizon to negotiate separately with each content company  like Netflix, Amazon, Disney or Google  and charge different companies different amounts for priority service. That, of course, could increase costs for content companies, which would then have an incentive to pass on those costs to consumers as part of their subscription prices.

    Proponents of net neutrality have feared that such a framework would empower large, wealthy companies and prevent small start-ups, which might otherwise be the next Twitter or Facebook, for example, from gaining any traction in the market.

    From Mashable, confirmation:

    In a statement issued to Mashable, the FCC said the draft rules would propose "that broadband providers would be required to offer a baseline level of service to their subscribers, along with the ability to enter into individual negotiations with content providers." The draft, written by FCC chair Tom Wheeler and his staff, will be circulated within the FCC on Thursday, and the commissioners will vote on a final proposal on May 15.

    Michael Weinberg at Public Knowledge:

    The FCC is inviting ISPs to pick winners and losers online. The very essence of a "commercial reasonableness" standard is discrimination. And the core of net neutrality is non discrimination. This is not net neutrality. This standard allows ISPs to impose a new price of entry for innovation on the Internet. When the Commission used a commercial reasonableness standard for wireless data roaming, it explicitly found that it may be commercially reasonable for a broadband ISP to charge an edge provider higher rates because its service is competitively threatening.







    7:00 am
    Obama official responsible for copyright chapters of TPP & ACTA gets a job at MPAA; his replacement


    Stan McCoy is the assistant US Trade Representative who oversaw the creation of the disastrous, far-reaching copyright provisions in ACTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership. He's left the Obama administration for a high-paid job at the MPAA, which represents companies that stood to reap massive profits and permanent control over Internet governance and innovation thanks to his efforts while in government. Now, the Obama administration has headhunted a software industry lobbyist (who supported SOPA) to take over his job. McCoy is one of more than a dozen USTR officials who've left the government to work for copyright lobbying bodies, including former Obama copyright czar Victoria Espinel, who now gets her paycheck from the Business Software Alliance.

    Timothy Lee has an excellent piece on the revolving-door relationship between the USTR and the entertainment industry and other copyright lobbyists. When Obama was campaigning for office, he vowed that "lobbyists won't work in my White House."

    But the revolving door between USTR and industry groups creates a strong but subtle pressure on USTR's culture. Like many government agencies, USTR regularly turns to outside experts to help it sort through complex trade issues. Naturally, they turn to people they trust: their former colleagues  or even former bosses  who now work at trade organizations with plenty of resources to devote to understanding the minutia of trade policy.

    And of course, as Holleyman's hire illustrates, the revolving door can carry people in either direction. A USTR staffer's former colleague who works at an industry trade group this year might be her boss next year. So over time, the culture and values of industry groups like the MPAA, BSA, and RIAA seeps into USTR. USTR staffers who cater to the interests of these industries are seen as team players and get promoted. Those who push for a more balanced approach are seen as trouble-makers and get marginalized.

    The revolving door was hardly invented by the Obama administration. USTR has been swapping staffers with industry groups for decades. But the decision to hire Holleyman just as McCoy becomes a lobbyist for Hollywood presents an interesting contrast with Obama's first presidential campaign, when he vowed that lobbyists "won't work in my White House."

    How the revolving door lets Hollywood shape Obama's trade agenda [Timothy B Lee/Vox]

    (via Techdirt)

    (Image: Revolving doors, Valerie Everett, CC-BY-SA)






    6:00 am
    This Day in Blogging History: Scarfolk, trapped in a 1969-79 loop; Meat business-cards; Leaked memo

    One year ago today
    Wyndhamesque missives from Scarfolk, an English horror-town trapped in a 1969-79 loop: I'm loving the Scarfolk site, where "Dr R Littler" chronicles the mysteries of an English town stuck in a Wyndham-esque loop betwen 1969 and 1979. It's full of the most lovely horrors.

    Five years ago today
    Business cards made from meat: We start with 100% beef jerky, and SEAR your contact information into it with a 150 WATT CO2 LASER.

    Ten years ago today
    A New Pentagon Papers Case - Newspapers, Blogs and the Diebold/Jones Day Memos: Last Tuesday it was revealed that Diebold was informed by its lawyers that using uncertified e-voting software in California was probably illegal. Where did this information come from? Leaked legal memos from Diebold's law firm, Jones Day.







    Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
    9:00 pm
    This Day in Blogging History: Tombstone euphemisms for "death"; Biden promises Hollywood a blank che

    One year ago today
    Early American tombstone euphemisms for death: Caitlin GD Hopkins collected 101 euphemisms for "died" from early American epitaphs. The epitaphs came from tombstones pre-1825, to qualify, the euphemism had to appear in the main text of the tombstone.

    Five years ago today
    Joe Biden promises a blank check to the entertainment cartel: VP Joe Biden stood up in front of a bunch of Hollywood execs and promised to appoint a copyright czar, and furthermore, that this would be the "right" person to protect their interests. [Ed: Biden gave them Victoria Espinel, who produced a series of dreadful, industry-friendly policies and then walked out into a lucrative job at the Business Software Alliance]

    Ten years ago today
    Silmarillion in 1,000 words: The Silmarillion is a dense book chronicling the minutest minutae of Tolkien's Middle Earth. Reading it is something of an accomplishment in itself -- but now you can fake it.







    7:12 pm
    US intel chief's insane new secrecy directive forbids intel employees from "unauthorized" contact wi


    U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

    The US Director of National Intelligence has issued a Directive [PDF] that forbids most intelligence community employees from talking to journalists about intelligence-related information unless they have explicit authorization to do so.

    Intelligence community employees must obtain authorization for contacts with the media on any intel-related matters, and must also report& unplanned or unintentional contact with the media on covered matters, according to the Directive signed by James Clapper.

    From Steven Aftergood's "Secrecy News" blog at the Federation of American Scientists:

    The new Directive reflects  and escalates  tensions between the government and the press over leaks of classified information. It is intended to mitigate risks of unauthorized disclosures of intelligence-related matters that may result from such contacts. See Intelligence Community Directive 119, Media Contacts, March 20, 2014.

    Significantly, however, the new prohibition does not distinguish between classified and unclassified intelligence information. The covered matters that require prior authorization before an employee may discuss them with a reporter extend to any topic that is related to intelligence, irrespective of its classification status.

    Previously, US intel chief James Clapper: journalists reporting on leaked Snowden NSA docs accomplices to crime.

    (HT: Trevor Timm)






    7:00 am
    Appeals court orders Obama administration to disclose the legal theory behind program of assassinati

    The Obama administration has lost a high-stakes lawsuit brought against it by the New York Times and the ACLU over its refusal to divulge the legal basis for its extrajudicial assassination program against US citizens. The Obama administration declared that it had the right to assassinate Americans overseas, far from the field of battle, on the basis of a secret legal theory. When it refused to divulge that theory in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, the Times and the ACLU sued. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has found in the Times's and ACLU's favor.

    The Obama administration had insisted that the legal memo in question was protected as a national security secret. However, the court found that because the administration had made statements about the memo, assuring the public that the assassinations were legal, it had waived its right to keep the memo a secret. There's no work on whether the administration will appeal to the Supreme Court.

    "After senior Government officials have assured the public that targeted killings are 'lawful' and that OLC advice 'establishes the legal boundaries within which we can operate,'" the appeals court said, "waiver of secrecy and privilege as to the legal analysis in the Memorandum has occurred" (PDF).

    The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which in a friend-of-the court brief urged the three-judge appeals court to rule as it did, said the decision was a boon for citizen FOIA requests.

    "It's very helpful. We have a number of cases, including one of our oldest FOIA cases, that involves the warrantless wiretapping memos. The basic premise is when OLC writes a legal memo and when that becomes the known basis for a program, that's the law of the executive branch and cannot be withheld," Alan Butler, EPIC's appellate counsel, said in a telephone interview.

    Obama ordered to divulge legal basis for killing Americans with drones [David Kravets/Ars Technica]






    Monday, April 21st, 2014
    2:43 pm
    Can you figure out what's wrong with this picture of a half-naked 16 year-old girl with breast impla

    Jannelle Asselin could, but when she wrote an article about the Teen Titans cover—in terms so measured and respectful that one is struck by her restraint--she was of course inundated nonetheless with relentless boyrage and misogyny from comic book guys; professionals included.

    The Daily Beast's Tauriq Moosa summarizes the imbroglio.

    After criticizing the new Teen Titans cover, Janelle Asselin was name-called and threatened with rape. The worst part? No one is surprised. Youve seen this scenario before, and youll see it again (until more of us do something). Woman writes about something traditionally regarded as a male-orientated industry or area of interest; if shes conveying love, shes doing it for attention (so what?) or fake (whatever that means); if she criticizes, shes insulting, whining, moaning, on her period; if she says anything at all, her argument or point is made invisible because her damn biology is getting in the way.

    There's something peculiar about this cover that really gets to the heart of it all. The discrepancy between what it thinks it is (a strong character for young girls to aspire to) and what it really is (objectified skin for old men to wank to) is just so obvious that it simply couldn't exist without the whole business's lifetime subscription to denial.






    Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
    10:17 pm
    X-Men director Bryan Singer accused of raping teen boy in 1999; case mentions sex offender Marc Co


    'X-Men' director Bryan Singer. Photo: Reuters


    A 2007 mugshot of sex offender Marc Collins-Rector, former chairman of DEN. He is mentioned in the 2014 lawsuit against Singer.

    Bryan Singer, the director of the forthcoming film X-Men: Days of Future Past is accused in a lawsuit filed today in Hawaii federal court of drugging and raping a teenage boy in 1999.

    Also mentioned in the lawsuit is Marc Collins-Rector, sexual predator and founder and chairman of Digital Entertainment Network (aka DEN or <EN), an early internet video startup. Collins-Rector is a registered sex offender who fled to Spain, and was arrested there in 2002. In 2004, Collins-Rector pled guilty to charges he lured minors across state lines for sexual acts. The allegations of sexual abuse involving Collins-Rector and other DEN executives shocked the web startup world in 1999, and led to the collapse of DEN's IPO.

    Variety reports on the charges against Brian Singer filed today:

    The plaintiff, Michael Egan, claims he was 17 when Singer forcibly sodomized him, among other allegations. Egans lawyers, led by Jeff Herman, allege that Singer provided him with drugs and alcohol and flew him to Hawaii on more than one occasion in 1999. His suit claims battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy by unreasonable intrusion, and it seeks unspecified damages.

    Singers attorney, Marty Singer, called the lawsuit absurd and defamatory. The claims made against Bryan Singer are completely without merit, the attorney said. We are very confident that Bryan will be vindicated.

    Collins-Rector isn't named as a defendant, but Variety reports that he "is accused of initiating the sexual abuse of Egan and arranging for Singer to assault Egan at a house in Encino, CA."

    In 1999, when the DEN sex abuse story broke, I was a reporter for Digital Coast Reporter, an online and print magazine that covered technology news in Southern California. I covered the DEN scandal for the publication, and drove to that house in Encino with my editor to photograph it. The home was once the residence of notorious hip-hop mogul Marion 'Suge' Knight. How strange to hear it, and Collins-Rector, mentioned again after all these years.

    The lawsuit alleges that Collins-Rector and his Digital Entertainment Network investors, including Singer, would lure young men to a house dubbed the M & C Estate in Encino to intoxicate and sexually assault a number of teenage boys and that many in the Hollywood industry were aware of the notorious parties.

    Egan, an aspiring actor and model at the time, claims that Singer provided him with several drugs, including cocaine, a pill identified as green triangle which is believed to be a reference to the drug Ecstasy, Xanax, Rohypnol, and Vicodin or Percocet, in addition to alcoholic beverages.

    The Wrap is also reporting on the allegations against Singer, and has published excerpts from the court documents:

    Defendant, BRYAN JAY SINGER, manipulated his power, wealth, and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage Plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats, and inducements which resulted in Plaintiff suffering catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries. Defendant Singer did so as part of a group of adult males similarly positioned in the entertainment industry that maintained and exploited boys in a sordid sex ring. A Hollywood mogul must not use his position to sexually exploit underage actors.
    More at The Wrap, including lengthy graphic/sexually explicit descriptions of the alleged sexual crimes.

    The lawyer representing the man who says Singer assaulted him is the same attorney who represented the plaintiff in the case against former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash. The defense will hold a press conference on Thursday in Beverly Hills.

    This is not the first time such allegations have been made against Brian Singer. In 1997, A 14-year-old movie extra filed a lawsuit claiming that Singer and others "ordered him and other minors to strip for a scene that was shot in the showers of a school locker room."








    1:35 pm
    This Day in Blogging History: Hidden mural at LA hotel; Our "Missing" Chromosomes; Final Transmetrop

    One year ago today
    The secret history of a hidden mural at a Los Angeles hotel: During the clearance sale, a puzzling discovery was made: a fifteen-foot mosaic mural commissioned by The Los Angeles Petroleum Club was found behind some old wood paneling.

    Five years ago today
    Our "Missing" Chromosomes: So here's the thing: We have 46 chromosomes. Our nearest great ape relatives have 48. On the surface, it looks like we must have lost two.

    Ten years ago today
    Final Transmet collection available: The final Transmetropolitan collection, "Transmetropolitan: One More Time," is available for pre-order on Amazon. It's the tenth book, collecting issues 55-60: there are nine other books collecting the earlier issues, and as good as those issues were, it's in this, the final volume of the most original and invigorating sf comic I've ever read, that Ellis outdoes himself, pulling together a finale to his five-year serial that's triumphant, sad and brave.







    Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
    6:30 am
    Mysterious black ring seen floating over England (Update: never mind, it was just a fireball-shootin
    "It was just floating there like a cloud" [Mirror.co.uk]

    Fission Chipz has the most convincing explanation so far: transformer explosions.

    Update: The BBC reports that it was in fact nearby Warwick Castle testing its fireball-shooting trebuchet, which is basically as badass as this story could have gotten short of a full-scale alien invasion.






    Monday, April 14th, 2014
    2:09 pm
    A Vindication for the Public: Guardian and Washington Post Win Pulitzer Prize (A statement from Edwa

    I am grateful to the committee for their recognition of the efforts of those involved in the last year's reporting, and join others around the world in congratulating Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, Ewen MacAskill, and all of the others at the Guardian and Washington Post on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

    Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognizes was work of vital public importance.

    This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.

    --Edward Snowden, April 14, 2014

    This statement originally appeared on the Freedom of the Press Foundation website. Greenwald, Poitras, and Boing Boing editor Xeni are also board members of FotPF. Thanks, Trevor Timm.






    Saturday, April 12th, 2014
    3:00 pm
    This Day in Blogging History: Iranian scientist's future-prediction machine; Rotting WWII junk in th

    One year ago today
    Iranian scientist invents machine that predicts the future: My invention easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users.

    Five years ago today
    Rotting WWII junk in the jungles of Peleliu: Tons of the war stuff (tanks, guns, ruined buildings) lies out in the jungle, and I took a tour round, snapping some interesting photos and listening to stories (and weirdly, I discovered during writing the post that the battle was the origin of the phrase 'thousand yard stare').







    12:06 pm
    Caturday

    "Spike with the 56mm," a photo shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by Benjamin G. Levy. "Spike obliges me while I test out the 56mm lens on the Fuji." Share your photos with us, if you'd like to maybe see 'em on the blog.






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