About, oh, 1000x worse. Okay, so we’re used to China and their constant censorship of US darlings like Google Apps, Youtube, whatnot and what have you. By now, it’s actually alarming if one of our social media sites isn’t being censored by the Great Firewall (let’s call that the GFW from now on, a la the lovely Twitter hashtag #FuckGFW).
Apparently, AT&T has decided to block 4chan. 4chan. Let’s say that again – 4chan. Of all the sites they could have censored, 4chan? Really? Really? Did they not see what 4chan did with TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list? And TIME didn’t even do anything to them. AT&T’s got some real cajones if they’re willing to take on the wrath of 4chan, which of course, comes bundled with the army of anon. You just don’t mess with 4chan, unless you want your homepage to start displaying 2girls1cup or meatspin- and that’s only the start of it.
As per TechCrunch:
AT&T has just opened perhaps the most vindictive, messy can of worms it could have possibly found. Blocking any site seems like a breach of user trust, but the decision to block 4chan in particular just seems stupid. Expect the web equivalent of rioting if this doesn’t change soon. – Jason Kincaid
The troops have already begun rallying here and on Encyclopedia Dramatica. I don’t know about you, but I’m stocking up on my popcorn. Unless 4chan decides to blow up AT&T’s servers, in which I will be /wrist, because sadly, my service provider is AT&T.
From Encyclopaedia Dramatica:
This isn’t like going to war with Anontalk, or Scientology, or some website, it’s AT& fucking T. There will be no lulz in this war.
This time the internet IS serious business.
EDIT: Seems like AT&T already gave up – /b/ is accessible again (I double checked). Damn, I was so looking forward to the epic intarwebz battle. But! There’s still hope yet:
It appears that AT&T has STOPPED blocking access to img.4chan.org in multiple previously affected areas!
(as soon as they get a little shitstorm, they back down — will this story end here? do we say ‘oh ok thanks for unblocking’ or do we go on?)
We go on. Anonymous does not forgive. Anonymous does not forget. – Anon,
EDIT Numero Dos: AT&T released a statement earlier today, explaining how all this went down in the first place.
Beginning Friday, an AT&T customer was impacted by a denial-of-service attack stemming from IP addresses connected to img.4chan.org. To prevent this attack from disrupting service for the impacted AT&T customer, and to prevent the attack from spreading to impact our other customers, AT&T temporarily blocked access to the IP addresses in question for our customers. This action was in no way related to the content at img.4chan.org; our focus was on protecting our customers from malicious traffic.
Overnight Sunday, after we determined the denial-of-service threat no longer existed, AT&T removed the block on the IP addresses in question. We will continue to monitor for denial-of-service activity and any malicious traffic to protect our customers.
And a response from moot, via his status blog:
Here’s what happened:
For the past three weeks, 4chan has been under a constant DDoS attack. We were able to filter this specific type of attack in a fashion that was more or less transparent to the end user.
Unfortunately, as an unintended consequence of the method used, some Internet users received errant traffic from one of our network switches. A handful happened to be AT&T customers.
In response, AT&T filtered all traffic to and from our img.4chan.org IPs (which serve /b/ & /r9k/) for their entire network, instead of only the affected customers. AT&T did not contact us prior to implementing the block. Here is their statement regarding the matter.
In the end, this wasn’t a sinister act of censorship, but rather a bit of a mistake and a poorly executed, disproportionate response on AT&T’s part. Whoever pulled the trigger on blackholing the site probably didn’t anticipate [nor intend] the consequences of doing so.
We’re glad to see this short-lived debacle has prompted renewed interest and debate over net neutrality and internet censorship—two very important issues that don’t get nearly enough attention—so perhaps this was all just a blessing in disguise.
Aside from that, I’ll also add that there is some big news due later this week. Keep an eye on the News page, Twitter, and global message for updates.
As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS: If any companies would like to hook us up with some better hardware, feel free! The architecture we’ve got powering this large and influential beast is really quite embarrassing. ( ._.)
Like moot wrote, this srsly was a badly executed “solution” on AT&T’s part. They should at least warn people or have a posted alert saying that they’re going to block any site or IP for a good majority of the customers. Not to mention, one that has a high volume of traffic, like 4chan or any media site.
Ah well, I guess we’ll have to keep waiting to witness an epic internet throwdown.