Joel Johnson Hijacks AT&T Funded Show To Question Internet Filtering Plans

Joel Johnson, Boing Boing Gadgets editor, was booked to go onto an AT&T sponsored and underwritten show to talk about how cool gadgets are, but instead hijacked the interview to discuss The Big Blue And White Ball’s recently announced plans to spy on the internet. The Hugh Thompson show is made by AT&T to show solely on its online AT&T Tech Channel, so what better way to count coup then to use it as a forum to ask why AT&T, in the interest of stopping potential copyright violations, wants to peer into every bundle of data its users send over the internets. After Joel keeps talking about the AT&T announcement, eventually Big Brother’s voice comes over the studio loudspeakers and says “Hold, please.” Gawker videographer Richard Blakeley taped this part of the interview and was grabbed by three security guards which he tried to exit, but eventually he was allowed to leave with the tape. They probably just wanted to analyze his packets for potential IP infringement. Read the rest of Joel’s description of the event over at Boing Boing Gadgets. Our platonic man-crush on Joel just got larger.

Talking About AT&T’s Internet Filtering on AT&T’s The Hugh Thompson Show [Boing Boing Gadgets]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cad06 says:

    Ma Bell don’t like your kind here.

  2. Dibbler says:

    That was awesome!

  3. homerjay says:

    Oh thats rich. Would have been even better if instead of “Hold please” you heard Randall Stevenson’s voice booming out “Johnson! You’ll never work in this town again!!!”

    Or some such…

  4. goller321 says:

    Nothing surprising here. AT&T is looking to censor yet AGAIN…

    I don’t think that ISPs should be held liable for what is being sent over their lines, but I definitely believe they shouldn’t be filtering and snooping like this either.

    Between actions like from AT&T and Time Warner putting up ridiculous caps, some entrepreneur that offers an uninfringed service could do very well for themselves.

  5. I for one welcome our new Blue and White Ball overlords….

  6. DallasDMD says:

    Between actions like from AT&T and Time Warner putting up ridiculous caps, some entrepreneur that offers an uninfringed service could do very well for themselves.

    Do you really believe that? For one thing, bandwidth isn’t that cheap, and I also doubt there is really a market for it. The average broadband user isn’t you or I. Geek-oriented ISPs like SpeakEasy aren’t particularly cheap, if that counts.

  7. VeeKaChu says:

    @goller321:We can use my grandpa’s barn. C’mon kids, we’ll save privacy by puttin’ on our own Internets!

  8. phrygian says:

    @DallasDMD: Bandwidth is actually cheaper than ever. I have had static IPs with high-speed internet at home since ISDN was the only option. DSL and cable are much, much cheaper now for the amount of bandwidth received than they (or any other solution) have been, dare I say, ever.

  9. stinerman says:

    Yeah, bandwidth is cheap. The SLA’s and other stuff that keeps your connection up isn’t. That’s why a 1.5/1.5 T1 connection is still around $400/mo. You’re paying for the SLA.

  10. GearheadGeek says:

    @goller321: In fact, I think the issue is that they shouldn’t be able to have it both ways. If they want to maintain their immunity to what customers transmit and receive on their networks, they need to avoid snooping. If they’re spying on the traffic, then suddenly it’s reasonable that they COULD be held liable for what a customer sends or receives on their network, because they “should have known.”

  11. TerryinSt.Paul says:

    Stick it to the Man, Joel, stick it to the Man. That guy has HUGE kahones. I love the way the audience agrees with him. WELL DONE!

  12. Awesomeness, Joel! Well done!

  13. youbastid says:

    Would’ve suited AT&T better to just let him continue. The 12 people that watch this online show may not have cared, but now this is all over the internets and far more people will see it.

  14. dvdchris says:

    They let him leave because they were afraid he would shut off all their monitors.

  15. yashichi8bit says:

    “Ma Bell has got the ill Communication.”

  16. jkaufman101 says:

    love the intro music lol

  17. kc-guy says:

    @GearheadGeek: Exactly what I was thinking. I don’t understand how this is in AT&Ts best interest, unless there is some confederation with RIAA/MPAA behind the scenes.

    The bandwidth/equipment cost argument is pretty moot when the equipment cost and massive latency this kind of snooping would cost.

    However, given the increased use of the Carnivore program, this may simply AT&T’s proactive copy of the information they are already distributing to federal agencies.

    Read wikipedia’s article on the ECHELON program then come over to my place for a viewing of the Bourne Ultimatum. It’s like Dorothy and the Dark Side of the Moon.

  18. Klink says:

    Video’s down. C+D from ATT no doubt.

  19. Ben Popken says:

    @Klink: No, it’s not.

  20. Mr. Gunn says:

    The guy’s from boing boing, so the direction of the interview shouldn’t have surprised anyone, least of all the people who hired him. And you know, when traditional media loses its drive to report on what’s really going on, we’ve got the internet to step up and deliver. Free market, baby!

  21. ceriphim says:

    What’s wrong with Hugh Thompson? He moves and talks like he has Tourette’s or Parkinson’s…?