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The End of the DreamHost vs. DOJ privacy case (dreamhost.com)
596 points by yoda_sl 38 days ago | hide | past | web | 135 comments | favorite



Is this really a win for DreamHost (and other internet service providers)?

> DreamHost has been deputized to redact sensitive information

If DH was deputized to do this on behalf of the government, what limits are there to deputizing DH to do something else, possibly more nefarious, on behalf of the government? Why can't the DoJ now "deputize" Apple to produce the iOS with the backdoor?

Also important, who pays for the employee time for this? What about the opportunity cost of moving an employee off of her main duties onto this other duty that has no revenue benefit? Did this ruling just create an unfunded mandate for private businesses?

> We see this as an absolute victory not just for DreamHost, but for online service providers throughout America and for internet users around the world.

I think this statement requires far more analysis before it can be made.

EDIT: Oh good, Orin Kerr has started tweeting about this. I'd trust his judgment on the legal matters more than my armchair lawyering. https://twitter.com/OrinKerr/status/917923510462435328


they could have appealed again. what is the cost of their legal team?

complying with laws and regulations is a cost of doing business in the any country


I think lawyer time is quantifiable so that's one thing.

But the cost of moving a developer over to satisfy the DoJ's request is practically unquantifiable. Say DH has a dev team of 10. One of them moves over to implement the DoJ search protocol and develop redaction scripts. Do the other 9 now work this person's workload?

Or does DH bring in a new developer? Now DH has to train this person up. We all know, as programmers, that a new developer to a team induces a temporary drag on performance.

Anyways, I think Apple covered this hypothetical in their response brief to the FBI request.


Again, this just sounds like the cost of doing business. You’re not always going to be able to have everyone working on the ideal goals. Sometimes a developer will have to be working with auditors (be they from the private or public sector) or lawyers on something other than their typical project.

I also don’t think a search protocol would be a part of this request, as much as a dump of redacted data.


Another good example of this is an IRS audit. I went through one the first year I setup my business. They said it was a "random" audit, meaning not based on any specific findings. I had to put all of my small business resources (me) onto defending the audit for probably 40 hours. In the end, they found nothing, so it was just purely a resource drain.


Not having experience with disruptj20: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DisruptJ20

DisruptJ20 (also Disrupt J20), a Washington, D.C.-based political organization founded in July 2016 and publicly launched on November 11 of the same year, stated its initial aim as protesting and disrupting events of the presidential inauguration of the 45th U.S. President, Donald Trump, which occurred on January 20, 2017. The protests organized and encouraged by the DisruptJ20 group were a part of a wider array of protests initiated by a variety of individuals and groups, in Washington, DC and nationwide; from a more extensive initial plan, deployments by DisruptJ20 at the inauguration eventually included efforts, at least, to blockade one bridge, and to attempt to shut down security checkpoints.

---

I don't care either way about disruptj20, but I appreciate DreamHost's efforts, and the intervention by the court to curtail the overly broad demand for information.


I don't particularly like what DistruptJ20 is doing and they might be possibly breaking the law. However, asking to identify who visited the website is way over the limit.

People should not be limited to access information and not judged upon it.


> People should not be limited to access information and not judged upon it.

Googles recipes for anthrax and home made bomb making techniques

I'm gonna be judged on that


I am an asylum seeker to the U.S. and my application was denied due to classified security concerns. (Hint: I'm a nobody). I'm currently waiting for it to be reviewed.

So every day I find a terms/words which I'm not familiar with (Like Anthrax). I search for it and I'm like damn I shouldn't have searched for this!

So yeah, not knowing what something is and searching for it is seems like a valid use case for searching.

It genuinely frightens me to search for things nowadays.


There are many reasons why someone would want to do that:

- Scientific Curiosity.

- School/University Research.

- Building a real bomb and detonating it on your own private land for your own pleasure.

The idiocy is accepting that researching extreme content is evil. It is not.

There are evil people. Period. Blocking access to information makes life worse for everyone. Evil people will use Trucks, Knifes and maybe their hands?

What's next? Prohibiting cars, trucks, knives and athletic guys who could be more powerful than the average citizen.


> The idiocy is accepting that researching extreme content is evil. It is not.

The Govt people don't believe that, otherwise they would need to arrest themselves.

They just want to do some terror on the populace to the extent that merely knowing something exists makes you a suspect. That is police state 101, it makes people turn their neighbors in even without much evidence, so they are seen as not involved.


One thing is a supeana for your search history after you've been identified and is under suspicion. Then it's a finite number of suspects data. It's another for Google to actively alert law enforcement based on queries coming in.

Now monitoring who buys anthrax spores seems to strike a more reasonable balance between prevention and tyranny.

Think of it this way; going for an evening walk every night isn't (shouldn't) be suspicious. Until you're being investigated for a child missing from the house at the apex of your regular path. Then your walk might have been "scouting the crime scene".


Why though? Surely there is still such a thing as intellectual curiosity?


Nobody gets in trouble for searching for and reading about anthrax and chemical delivery systems. But if your ex-wife dies of anthrax poisoning six months later, you will certainly need to have a pretty air-tight alibi to escape suspicion.

The FUD here around "omg if you search for something weird because you're smarter than average the jack-booted Gestapo will arrest you forever!!" is ridiculous.


Strawman argument aside, the intelligentsia has always been feared by the state.


No. If you don't have an average IQ, adhere strictly to what the government considers "normal"; you should be put under surveillance immediately and maybe "locked out of society" for being potentially dangerous.


It's hard to find dangerous people, but it's easy to show huge lists of abnormal people you found...


I don't get why we have guns rights but not anthrax rights. I want to have a well regulated biological weapons arsinal in my fridge. Is that so much worse than an assult rifle?


I've searched for these things. I probably will again.

What the hell has gone wrong with people? When did curiosity become something Politically Suspect that goodthinkers avoid having?


Pretty sure you can find those things in any decent public library.


Can anyone point out how blockading a bridge could possibly lead to political change?

The only scenario that seems obvious is if the police overreact and shoot some of the protesters. That would cause a massive public outcry and bring their cause to the front and center stage.

What are some other ways that blocking a bridge could be productive?


It's a protest. Protests work. For example, this paper used rainfall as a source of exogenous variation to measure the effect of the Tea Party protests.

https://academic.oup.com/qje/article-abstract/128/4/1633/184...

Can protests cause political change, or are they merely symptoms of underlying shifts in policy preferences? We address this question by studying the Tea Party movement in the United States, which rose to prominence through coordinated rallies across the country on Tax Day, April 15, 2009. We exploit variation in rainfall on the day of these rallies as an exogenous source of variation in attendance. We show that good weather at this initial, coordinating event had significant consequences for the subsequent local strength of the movement, increased public support for Tea Party positions, and led to more Republican votes in the 2010 midterm elections. Policy making was also affected, as incumbents responded to large protests in their district by voting more conservatively in Congress. Our estimates suggest significant multiplier effects: an additional protester increased the number of Republican votes by a factor well above 1. Together our results show that protests can build political movements that ultimately affect policy making and that they do so by influencing political views rather than solely through the revelation of existing political preferences.


Whether protests work, or do not work, in one instance can not be used as a blind support or condemnation of protest in general. What ultimately matters is the message, the means, and most importantly - the public response. For instance I think the Occupy protests did a phenomenal job here of spreading their message. One measure of their success might be this [1] Google trends on "the 1%" result. As typical there was a brief spike of interest but even once the protests had ended, they seem to have left a clear and growing impression on society. There's always a question of whether they were a cause of this change, or an effect of an already existent change in society but in either case I think it's some evidence of success.

So back to this specific protest and type of protest, what are the goals of these protests? What change do they hope to effect? What exactly are they protesting? These protests have become incredibly divisive even among the very demographic that they presumably are seeking to unite and inform. Personally to me liberalism has always meant emphasizing the value of free speech -- including speech I vehemently disagree with, never resorting to violence or intimidation to convey a message, and an understanding that though democracy will on occasion produce undesirable results, it is far superior to the alternative. Somebody recently linked Russell Bertrand's 'Ten Commandments of Critical Thinking and Democratic Decency' [2] which I think falls very much in line with my worldview. Nonetheless, the democratic party seems to be moving in way such that views as these are no longer within the zeitgeist. Perhaps, again, the protests are an effect and not a cause -- but I'd certainly be interested to hear how you see them being productive and valuable.

[1] - https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=the%201%...

[2] - https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/05/02/a-liberal-decalogue...


There is a fine line between a peaceful protest/rally, a form of demonstration that I support; and blocking a road (which should be 100% unacceptable in any condition).

You understand that the road is being used by multiple people and sometimes for urgent and life-threatening reasons?


Your understanding of the term “peaceful protest” is flawed. Civil disobedience has always been one of the most effective tools of protesters. The best way to protest is to do something which cannot be ignored.


I've been on the waiting end of an ambulance blocked by protesters. Not an experience I wish to repeat.


Again, your are making the same mistake. Civil disobedience is fine because no one should be forced to do something. Blocking a road is not civil disobedience.

People can protest by not showing up on stores, or maybe not paying taxes, or withdrawing their savings from their accounts. But blocking a road? That's annoying and endangering your fellow citizens and not the government.


> Civil disobedience is fine because no one should be forced to do something.

Civil disobedience is not merely “refusing to do something” (the “disobedience” it refers to is to civil authority—the law—not merely some command to positive action.)

> Blocking a road is not civil disobedience.

Yes, it can be an element of civil disobedience.

> People can protest by not showing up on stores, or maybe not paying taxes, or withdrawing their savings from their accounts.

Yes, they can. They can also protest by blocking roads.

> But blocking a road? That's annoying and endangering your fellow citizens and not the government.

The government is the people. While this is theoretically the case in any regime professing democratic ideals, it's practically the case always and everywhere: government is simply whatever people choose to obey. But, even ignoring that, if you have a vote either directly on policy (as in any jurisdiction where citizens hold the powers of initiative and referendum) or on choosing the people who make policy (as in any jurisdiction with elected executive, judicial, and/or legislative officers), you are part of the government and legitimately targeted by campaigns, including civil disobedience, seeking to change that government’s action.


>Blocking a road is not civil disobedience.

How would you define Dr. King's marches, then?


Marches and sit-ins are pretty core tactics to peaceful protesting and civil disobedience.


So you are fine with protesting as long as the protesting doesn't get in the way, cause any commotion or inconvenience anyone, and you don't have to listen to or look at them.

Maybe protesters should all be sent out into the sticks so they can protest in peace.


So only private entities?


You're conflating a protest with a protest that involves breaking the law and risking peoples lives (blocking a road interferes with emergency services).


Oh come on. You’re suggesting that what their protesting _against_ doesn’t break the law and risk lives? I’m not a masssive supporter of the protests, but people’s right to protest is important, without silly limits.


Most social progress and civil rights have come from enough people deciding that civil disobedience and breaking certain laws was worth it in the end.

The trick is getting enough people onboard to do it.


It lets other people know that theres a general unhappiness with something. Events like that usually make the news.

Others who may not have heard about the cause hear about it and get involved.

That, or if the man is doing something you don't like, do something they don't like.

It's better than sitting on the couch and reading about the things you don't like in the world.


>It's better than sitting on the couch and reading about the things you dont like in the world.

Or killing people you don't like. Or injuring others. Or looting. Or destroying property.

Basically anything that isn't those 4 things can be a viable form of protest, if executed correctly.


Regarding this protest, though, it was evidence of violence being plotted that led to some arrests and then this investigation and the search warrants. There were undercover videos showing #disruptj20 organizers plotting to chain trains & release butyric acid into the ventilation of the Inaugural Ball, among other things. These search warrants are part of that investigation.


So it's a pressure valve?

It's strange because if it's really just a pressure valve, that means all the authorities need to do is sit back and do nothing. The protest will burn itself out. But that's just another way of saying the goal of protesting isn't to accomplish anything except to feel better.

I'm just trying to understand the goals and motivations. Protesting has a long history in the US but it's rarely taught anywhere, so these answers aren't inherently obvious.


It's more than just a pressure valve.

Protest brings people together. When it's a small protest, it's like a convention for the chronic opposition. But when a protest starts bringing in more attention, it brings people who show up in contact with new ideas, and creates a fertile ground for new collaborations. This happens in big ways (the idea of the 99% and the public understanding of accelerating wealth gaps owe a lot to Occupy, and the Bernie campaign is pretty much a direct consequence) and in smaller ways (Occupy led to many people switching from standard banks to credit unions, and also led to some excellent work opposing predatory student loans).

When you sit back and let the protest burn, you risk allowing the discontent to generalize and grow. But, sure, maybe it will just fizzle out, if there is still enough bread and circus to go around.


Occupy was a result of that knowledge, not the cause of it


>the idea of the 99% and the public understanding of accelerating wealth gaps owe a lot to Occupy, and the Bernie campaign is pretty much a direct consequence

You are going to need a citation for this.


> Protesting has a long history in the US

And elsewhere! Most recent large example of somewhat successful protests was the whole "Arab spring" series of events. Or the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine.

> but it's rarely taught anywhere

Of course it's not going to be taught in school ...


It makes no sense to talk about means without ends.


Why are those 4 things unacceptable?

Historically, governments respond promptly to those things.


You lose the moral high ground once you practice any one of those--at which point you're actively undermining your own message in the public eye.

Hell, your opposition will probably be accusing you of those things (or planting people who carry them out), anyway. Best not to cross that line.


Are murder, assault, theft, and vandalism acceptable to you?


If you do those things to a force invading your country, sure. For protests, no.


Well we're talking about protests.


Typically they respond by doubling down on whatever you're trying to get them to stop doing.


Sure, I respect that. I guess I was just curious if their goal was to enact political change or just to express themselves.

It's not clear cut:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15103654

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/08/21/is-there-any-p...

She places its start at the moment of a famous failure: the Mayday Vietnam protest of 1971, when twenty-five thousand people blockaded bridges and intersections around Washington, D.C. A manual describing the demonstration’s tactics allowed Nixon’s Attorney General to summon the police, the military, and the National Guard preëmptively. More than seven thousand protesters were arrested. Mary McGrory, a journalist who was sympathetic to the cause, described it as “the worst planned, worst executed, most slovenly, strident and obnoxious peace action ever committed.”

Kauffman disagrees. The spectre of the protest rattled the Administration, she points out. What’s more, it marked the shift toward the tactics-driven approach that we still follow today. “The last major national protest against the Vietnam War, Mayday was also a crucial first experiment with a new kind of radicalism,” she writes. It was less about moral leadership than about the fact of obstruction. It embraced whatever—and whoever—forced the hand of power. “You do the organizing,” the Mayday manual read. “This means no ‘movement generals’ making tactical decisions you have to carry out.”


The recent Vietnam War PBS documentary covers the Mayday protest as one of many different protests as public opinion turned against American involvement against the war. Whether the tide turned because the protests were leading or trailing public opinion is probably arguable. There were also signficant organized violent counter protesters in favor of the war/against the antiwar protesters. A bit of the info in the documentary is covered in The Fog of War but it's pretty interesting for the similarities to today. Also, there was a Vietnam vets against the war protest in DC immediately preceding the Mayday protest that the administration specifically did not oppose with police/national guard in order to not generate positive press/sympathy for the antiwar effort.


The only scenario that seems obvious is if the police overreact and shoot some of the protesters.

That's a really strange thing to say. There are lots of examples of disruptive protests that have helped bring about change. As an example, take a look at:

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/A-Decade-of-AIDS-Activism...

Includes some bridge-blocking.


"Can anyone point out how blockading a bridge could possibly lead to political change?"

Open a history book and read up on the Civil Rights Movement, specifically the Selma to Montgomery Marches.

Blocking roads and bridges is one of the oldest and most effective forms of political protest in America.


Can anyone point out how walking to Montgomery could possible lead to political change?


There are numerous examples, but Gandhi's salt march is one of the best known:

Gandhi led the Dandi March from his base, Sabarmati Ashram, near the city of Ahmedabad. 78 people began the march with Gandhi, who intended to walk 240 miles (390 km) to the coastal village of Dandi, which was located at a small town called Navsari in the state of Gujarat. As Gandhi and the others continued on what would become a 24-day march to Dandi to produce salt without paying the tax, growing numbers of Indians joined them along the way. When Gandhi broke the salt laws at 6:30 am on 6 April 1930, it sparked large scale acts of civil disobedience against the British Raj salt laws by millions of Indians. The campaign had a significant effect on changing world and British attitudes towards Indian sovereignty and self-rule and caused large numbers of Indians to join the fight for the first time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_March


Let's also quote the relevant parts:

> However, it failed to result in major concessions from the British.


True. But also:

The Satyagraha campaign of the 1930s also forced the British to recognise that their control of India depended entirely on the consent of the Indians – Salt Satyagraha was a significant step in the British losing that consent.




For one, the walkers had a more moral motive than 'I don't like this orange guy with small hands'.


THIS IS GOING TO BE LONG.

I have some actual moral qualms about typing this out. I'll try to make it as short as possible.

Will blocking a single bridge help? Nope. The whole "raising awareness" and "starting a conversation" are irrelevant, for the most part.

So, let's say you live in America and want to effect meaningful change. In order to do so, you want to get the attention of the politicians and the media.

I should probably title this, "How to get the FBI Party Van Parked on Your Street."

However, unless they really stretch the laws, this is probably perfectly legal. I'll leave the morality judgment up to you, the reader, and simply tell you how to do this.

Some history:

I modeled traffic. This doesn't actually come in handy very often, but sometimes it does. Of course, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

I like to say that I built the greatest traffic simulation game ever made. Of course, I'm biased. Eventually, we'd even be able to output some of that simulation as graphical representations, but that's a story for another day.

Traffic modeling concerns itself with optimizing - it's not always optimizing the greatest throughput. Sometimes, it's optimizing for speed, simplicity, or efficiency.

In order to understand traffic, it helps to realize that traffic is a chaotic system. A chaotic system is a system that appears to have random elements but, with enough data, you can tease out certain patterns. This is all very complicated and has varied accuracy depending on your ability to know the initial starting state.

However, with enough information, you can bring any city's traffic to a crawl with minimal effort. Give me a month to study the data (well, longer now as I'm retired and don't have the hardware to hand, the code, or current models) and some two way radios.

After I've studied the data, give me a dozen drivers and I can almost certainly reduce throughput by greater than 50% - and that's without breaking any laws or being the direct cause of an accident. It's really not hard. Start ahead of time and coordinate to merge slowly, to move at the posted speed limit in specific areas, to change lanes and brake, and to do this at key points where you can create bottlenecks.

I only say I can do it. To be completely frank about it, I've never yet met a municipality that would consider allowing me to actually try this. However, I can replicate this time and time again - and I have reasons to believe this would be as effective as it is in the models.

It won't even take much to do so. A dozen cars may actually be overkill, depending on the infrastructure. You can actually (I don't recommend doing so) test and see the results of some of the methods.

Find a spot in traffic where there is room in front of you. Speed up slowly until you're exceeding the speed of the vehicle in front of you. Brake late and hard. For bonus points, change lanes as you brake.

What will happen is the people behind you will increase their speed and will still be adapting to your speed increases. When you brake, they'll need to brake harder because they braked later due to reaction times. This will increase and ripple its way back through traffic - you can actually watch it happen. If done "right," it will spill over into the other travel lanes.

All you had to do was be the butterfly and you've now sent a cascading wave of confusion and reaction behind you. Not only will the person behind you have to brake harder, the people behind them will have to do so and, depending on their distances between cars, will have to keep on doing so for many cars behind you.

This also gets compounded by people being unable to see the first braking car(s). They are unable to see the cars way ahead in the line and they begin acting in what they believe is a rational manner. They brake hard and seek to change lanes.

(If you want to stop the ripple, brake and leave space between you and the vehicle in front of you - and allow people to safely merge into that space while making room to maintain that space in front of you. One car can significantly impact throughput.)

Why do I type all this?

Well, imagine you had a government that you felt was a tyranny. Imagine you had a bunch of people who agreed with you?

See, it's VERY important that you have a bunch of people who agree with you - otherwise, you're just an asshole. This way, you're an asshole with a legitimate democratic complaint. And, trust me, you are an asshole if you do this.

Let's assume that you're right in your presumptions about how people feel concerning the political arena. Let's just say you get 100,000 people who agree with you.

If you can't get 100,000 people who agree with you - and want to effect change - perhaps you're message really isn't important?

Now, pick a day... Go on, pick one. I recommend picking a day that is a Friday. I'd specifically recommend that you pick a Friday that marks the end of a week-long legislative session.

So, you have a date and 100,000 people.

Now, you need a time and a place. I'd suggest 12:00 noon and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Not to worry, you're not getting there.

Those 100,000 people will then set their GPS to arrive at 1600 Penn. Ave and they'll set it to arrive at the same time.

From across the country, people will leave and head to that address. They'll leave at different times because their goal is not the same departure time - but the same arrival time. Their goal is to all arrive at 1600 Penn. Ave at noon.

Of course, they can't do this. No, no... The urban area simply can't adapt to that much traffic all arriving at the same time and trying to get to the same place.

So, eventually you're going to reach a point where your car can go no further. If you're the first to arrive at 1600 Penn. Ave, just stop your car. (Impeding the flow of traffic is a minor offense, not subjecting one to jail time.)

Everyone else, when you get as close as you can, do the same thing. Stop your vehicle, exit your vehicle, lock the doors, and go have a drink.

Plan on being there for a while. You might want to bring food, water, blankets, prescription medication, camping gear, and be prepared to wait for a long while.

This will cause a giant wave of congestion that brings traffic to a halt - not just in DC but in the wider area. I once did the math, based on just 100,000 participants and current populations and existing local traffic, and my estimate was that it would create a snarl of traffic that's about 50 miles across - covering all primary, secondary, and tertiary travel lanes.

Here's the fun part... You've locked your vehicle and exited it. You've simply walked away. (Other than the first few people, this is a reasonable choice after a period of time.) They also won't be able to sort all the vehicles from those who were there to intentionally cause mayhem and those who were there for more "legitimate" (subjective) reasons.

They will be weeks moving these vehicles. They will be calling in tow trucks from around the country. They will initially clear single lanes for emergency traffic and this process is almost certainly not going to be gentle on your car. They'll be bringing in the National Guard and yanking your vehicle out of the way with chains.

And they haven't got anywhere to park that many additional cars. You're not just going to have 100,000 cars - you are going to have many of the local cars caught in it as well. You're going to have delivery vehicles, giant trucks, people towing trailers, and all that sort of stuff. You'll have RVs and limousines, people towing ATVs on their way out to the country for the weekend, taxis, police cars, etc...

This will shut down vehicular traffic for quite a while. Not only that, it will slow it down for even longer.

This affords you plenty of time to talk to the media and you'll absolutely have attention from the politicians.

Caveats: This is VERY severe. This will hamper emergency responses. This will negatively impact people who are innocent. This will seriously mess things up - probably for weeks.

Do NOT do this unless you're damned certain you're right. Do NOT do this unless you're able to accept that people will be harmed. This is very, very likely to result in indirect deaths.

So, blocking one bridge isn't very effective. However, blocking a lot of them, all at once, almost certainly will get attention. (Depending on your cause, the attention may be negative or positive.) Blocking one bridge isn't going to do much attention getting. Shutting a city down for multiple days and slowing it down for weeks, on the other hand, probably will.

I'd like to stress, again, that this isn't something to be taken lightly. It's a near certainty that multiple people will suffer because of this. However, if your choice is this or violent revolution... This is very, very much a "second to last choice option."

Finally, I'm sort of sorry for the length. However, I figured I would try to explain it in full AND stress that it's a horrible idea - but almost certain to get attention. What you do with that attention is up to you, but it's going to get attention. I am ABSOLUTELY not suggesting you do this, at least not at this time.


Comments like this are why I read hacker new. To be honest, I'm afraid of even liking this, but this is a "hack" or "vulernability" as any.


There is no current non-tyrannical defense to this. Legislation doesn't prevent, it only proscribes punishment.

However, if self-driving vehicles do connect to a central system (which I believe they will, as it is the logical step to optimize traffic in real-time) then it'd be rather easily thwarted by the governing bodies.

Privacy and control of movement are two aspects oft overlooked when people discuss self-driving vehicles. There would be nothing to prevent the powers that be from disallowing freedom of motion from a distance that is too far to walk.

It's as simple as no more unauthenticated vehicle movement within 50 miles of the capital, a switch and a change of settings...

I mentioned that every problem looks like a nail, but it's not often that the subject of traffic comes up. So, I'm happy to oblige when it does.

Anyhow, thanks! I'm always happy to contribute. I've sometimes considered writing a short story based on that. I suspect it'd be better done by a better writer than myself, however.


Of course, this works just as well for causes you disagree with as causes you agree with.

Given that and the distribution of people with a will to get aggressive about politics in the US, would you rather that this method existed or didn't exist?


That's a very tough question and I sort of answered it, albeit indirectly and by virtue of having posted it.

First, yes... It is very, very certain to get attention. I tried to cover that it could be used for a variety of reasons and would suggest that one have absolute conviction before trying this. It will, almost certainly, cause harm.

So, it is a method that could be used for causes I agree with or causes I'm vehemently opposed to. To get the greatest amount of attention, it does require quite a few like-minded people who are also going to go through the discomfort with you. It scales democratically.

If you can get 1/300th of the population, about 1,000,000 people with vehicles, conviction, and means - it would shut the whole region down for many weeks. It would be a complete and total shut down of the entire surface transportation infrastructure.

It would scale in a sigmoidal fashion. With greater numbers, it eventually just gets a bit more routine and they will have already undertaken the time to bring in the equipment to move vehicles. So, there is a theoretical point of diminishing returns. I haven't crunched any numbers to speculate as to where that might be.

They are going to be right pissed. The locals, innocent perhaps, would be impacted greatly.

They are going to do things like put the blade down on bulldozers and just ram a path open for emergency vehicles. On multi-lane roads, they are going to smash them into the ditch and median. Towing a single vehicle is a half-hour process, done right, for just hooking up, positioning, and securing the vehicle, as well as disconnecting the vehicle. Add to that the driving time...

You can get some rough estimates, if you wanted.

I mention that to make sure that we all understand the severity. If enough angry people do this, it will shut the whole area down. The effects will ripple out across the nation as it impacts everything from shipping to airport schedules.

Even worse, every few days could be a wave of new vehicles. They'd eventually put up checkpoints and stop traffic. That's fine... You just arrive at the checkpoints at the same time instead of arriving at 1600 Penn. Ave. and you only end up making the mess even larger.

So, I have to say that I'm glad this method exists. I'm glad because it does offer a step between protest and violent revolution. I'm glad because it is something that can be organized by even some of the poorest people. I'm glad that it exists because it scales with participation.

I sort of answered that already, by virtue of my posting. It's not something people think about or realize. It's not a method people even understand unless it is explained.

In all my years online, since before the web was world wide, I've only written about it three times. This was the most comprehensive.

I want to thank you for asking that question. It really makes me think. I'd considered the morality of posting it, as I've considered it twice before. What I'd not considered, prior to your asking, was would I prefer the method not exist.

At this point, I'm going to say I'm glad it exists. While terrible, it is much better than going from peaceful protest straight to violent revolution. It is a power held by the people, with little defense, that requires commitment and agreement. I'd rather that than no options at all.

Again, thanks for the very thought provoking question. I hope I've answered it well enough.

If you don't mind, what are your opinions on the existence of such, the publication of such, or whatnot?


I was originally of the opinion that it be better that this method did not exist, but your argument that it required cooperation and offered a low-violence compromise step up from peaceful revolution have convinced me, I think.

Thanks for the detailed response!



I need to stress that I do not suggest doing that. I almost didn't type it out.

I can't be entirely certain, but I've worked on disaster recovery plans involving the highway infrastructure and I feel comfortable saying that just 100,000 cars, used in this manner, will negatively impact the area for weeks.

If I assume best responses, I'd expect it to take 72 hours to clear primary roads for single lane traffic. It will likely lock a 50 mile area and have ripple effects extending out as far as twice that distance, maybe a little further.

It absolutely will mess things up. Do NOT do this unless your only other option is something like violent revolution.

And, I don't think any of it is a felony. There are impeding traffic laws, but those are just fines. They aren't even criminal offenses.

I am not a lawyer, I am not your lawyer. This is legal advice insomuch as I'm telling you do not do this! No, no... Do not do this.

Edit: Also, if the mods feel that should be deleted, I have no complaints and can understand. I wouldn't be too surprised if I got a semi-official phone call tomorrow asking me to not post such things. Our highway infrastructure is quite vulnerable, even disregarding the lack of upkeep.



That is beautiful! Imagine that on a much larger scale and much more accessible.

I don't recall hearing of the tractors before. Imagine if they had GPS, greater numbers, and all arrived at the same time?


I recommend that magazine.


This is so far off topic, but are you a farmer? I am sort of a farmer, blueberries and trees. I do have a tractor. It's an L6060, I'm kind of pampered in that area.

Technically, I don't harvest most of the trees or blueberries personally. My tractor doesn't see much serious work. It is mostly used to move snow or soil and splitting wood.

Feel free to hit me up by email. It is uninvolved@outlook.com - if you want. It's probably better than delving too far off-topic in the thread.


Don't you worry, KGIII. I won't do it.


That's because you do not understand how it will be cleaned up. I can assure you that:

a) in Washington DC area it won't be an issue as it will be detected, you will be stopped and you will be detained.

b) they would bring National Guard, Army and tanks. Tanks will crush your cars like little tin cans.

c) over next several years you will become broke, your family will become broke, your friends will abandon you and you will never work again.

This is the world governed by the aggressive use of force. When children misbehave enough to piss off the parents, consequences are bad for children, not for the parents.


Oh, they are going to smash a hole right down the middle of it. You'll see I mentioned that.

However, that just makes the cleanup last longer. They are also probably not going to smash all of the vehicles. Keep in mind, there are local vehicles, service vehicles, delivery vehicles, etc... They are all mixed in with it.

And no, they can't stop that many cars. If they try, they are just making the inevitable jam even larger. Traffic still stops. 100,000 additional vehicles all arriving within the same time frame is going to stop traffic. That's not 100,000 vehicles, that's 100,000 extra vehicles on a system that's already loaded beyond optimal capacity.

I don't know if you can actually picture 100,000 vehicles. Humans are really, really bad at envisioning large numbers. But you just trust your GPS and get as close as you can before something stops your vehicle - ideally without crashing. Then, you get out and walk away... Go get a drink. Go have a party. Whatever... March around with signs, it's your protest. You have their attention, unilaterally and unequivocally.

Trust me, this will work. It's a horrible idea, but it will work. You will get a meeting with Very Important People. You can't even fix it for them, should you come to terms. The entire metropolitan area will be impacted for weeks. The effects of it will even spread across the region, affecting trucking, shipping, and air travel.

They are going to be right pissed, but it will get their attention.


>The only scenario that seems obvious is if the police overreact and shoot some of the protesters.

Indeed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_to_Montgomery_marches


If you beleive, as the protesters probably do, that capitalism is an unjustice which is perpetuated by violence, then you have two options.

You can have unjust peace. Or you can fight back.

Peace is when you don't fight back.


How exactly would protesting out of the way where you don't bother anyone or cause any commotion be useful?


Wow, I didn't expect to read that and see anything positive. Good job, Dreamhost. Maybe I should get rid of my Digital Ocean account and migrate over.


Not to belittle the efforts of DH (who are great!). However, I would imagine that DigitalOcean fights just as hard to protect it's users.


I'd suggest reading some of the complaints about their service and support. They have had a whole litany of complaints that span years of operation.

In their defense, I've read that they have improved significantly - but they had a pretty poor reputation to begin with.

While its great to support a company that fights for your rights, it's also prudent to ensure the company meets your service needs.

So, I'd suggest reading sites like WebHostingTalk, and similar. Then, after reading, I'd suggest interacting with them to answer questions and measure things like initial response time. And, of course, basing your judgement on that and not just reviews or willingness to fight for your rights.


I've had various sites on Dreamhost since 2003, I even won their once-vaunted "site of the month" contest in 2005. I've used their shared hosting, VPS, and dedicated servers. I've also hosted plenty of sites elsewhere (Hostgator, Bluehost, etc).

There was a period around 2009-2010 where Dreamhost tech support became bad--aggressively bad. Replies to support requests were very slow, and when they did finally arrive they were terse and unhelpful. I think that period really damaged their reputation. Due to the crappy support I was planning to migrate my sites elsewhere, but it was a big job that was easy to put off.

Around 2011 they must have changed something, because the quality of tech support improved considerably, and they've been a great host since then.


I've had a few servers (and previously shared hosting) at DH over the last 20 years. While they have had their fair share of major downtime, it has been on par with Rackspace, AWS, etc., who have all had day+ events in the last.

I have heard reports of some shared servers being worse than others, but generally I've only seen reasonable performance at a low price.

That said, I also use Digital Ocean, AWS, and Rackspace still for various projects. Really, they're all pretty great.


Most of the complaints I've seen have revolved around their shared hosting environment and some support complaints. I figure it worth mentioning. I do know there are far fewer complaints AND that they are still in business, so they can't be too bad, can they?

But, yeah, at one point their shared hosting services had quite a reputation and they had lots of complaints (reasonable or not) concerning getting terminated for unreasonable resource usage when hosters felt they were in the right.

I had a personal site with them for a few months and had some downtime that put it below my acceptability level. They were pleasant enough to work with and refunded the remainder of my money without any compliant. I don't recall the exact figure but it was in the 95% uptime range.

Caveat emptor, I suppose. Refunding and moving was easy enough. I'm in the market for hosting, again. So, maybe I'll give them another shot.


I've been with them since 2007 and they did have some bad years, and just last year I was getting quite a bit of downtime due to someone attaching the shared server I was on. I asked to be moved to a different server and have had like 99% uptime since. So while there are issues now and then these days, support does help you if you ask. Plus for what I pay, I think it's great value.


Would you defend the Daily Stormer?

http://fightthefuture.org/article/the-new-era-of-corporate-c...

Unpopular thoughts of the past century are accepted norms today.


Censorship is a blight on society, no matter the target.

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. — H. L. Mencken, US editor (1880-1956)


> Censorship

I, personally, think it's still debatable as to whether the DailyStormer issues qualify as censorship.

Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare, brought this topic up when they dropped DailyStormer. There's no easy answer on how to deal with it. Is there strong demand for a vertical monopoly in content hosting which will host any kind of offensive content? Are legislators close to passing laws denying the right to host a website for distasteful speech?

I would argue that censorship is an active action and that what happened to the Daily Stormer is mostly a passive action.

Analogy: This is not like burning a book. It's more like every book publisher passing on publishing the book before it's printed. Would you risk your reputation as a book publisher just because "I don't want to censor the author" despite not liking the content, not knowing if there was any paying market for the book, and despite the negative press + potential boycotts of your company? If you won't, how can you expect anyone else to do different in similar circumstances?

The slippery slope argument is a valid concern, but is there a moral panic spreading concerning things that are equally distasteful? Last I checked, the Westboro Baptist Church is still on the internet with both a website and a Twitter account. And they were used by the FBI to train agents to withstand hateful speech while maintaining their composure.

Note: Granted, Google Domains not allowing them to transfer their domain seems very icky, but I can see how there is no good policy for that situation.


I wasn’t aware they had a constitutional right to a domain name. Nothing is stopping them from hosting their own website.


I feel like the ability to get a domain name (under the generic TLDs) should be treated pretty similarly to free speech. No one has to host you, but you should be able to get an address. .com should be hands-off on content.


I would defend their right to privacy, while also likely firing them as a customer.


This tiny court decision is a huge win. One that gives me hope for the future of our democracy on a day when I was tending to despair for it.


It's interesting how DreamHost picks and chooses which opinions it defends:

http://fightthefuture.org/article/the-new-era-of-corporate-c...


> Under this order, we now have the ability to redact all identifying information and protect the identities of users who interacted with disruptj20.org before handing over any data to the court. Chief Judge Morin acknowledged that the government “does not have the right to rummage through the information contained on DreamHost’s website” to “discover the identity of . . . individuals not participating in alleged criminal activity.”

That's interesting. Days before he left office, President Obama gave the NSA permission to share raw internet data with 16 other agencies (because of course he did...). That data should mostly include American citizens' information.

So I wonder if the EFF or ACLU can sue the White House/DoJ over expanding those rules, considering judges seem to not like such mass surveillance, as exemplified in this case.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/us/politics/nsa-gets-more...


Happy to see the law work it out this way. Good of Dreamhost to stand up for privacy.

Unfortunately disrupt J20 is a violent group that promotes assault and anarchy against conservatives, so it's important that law enforcement officials are able to continue their investigation in some other way.

Members of this group were arrested and convicted in a plot to attack the inauguration ball using acid in the ventilation system and other alleged tactics.


> Members of this group were arrested and convicted in a plot to attack the inauguration ball using acid in the ventilation system and other alleged tactics.

That's incorrect. Convicted liar and video troll James O'Keefe did get them on video talking about acid, but they never acted on the plan, never attempted to acquire acid. The prosecutors were only able to get the defendants to take a plea deal for a "conspiracy" misdeameanor with no criminal conviction or record.


Members of this group were arrested and convicted in a plot to attack the inauguration ball using acid in the ventilation system and other alleged tactics.

Do you have a reference for that? Wikipedia has this:

After the January 14 meetings, James O'Keefe of Project Veritas posted a video shot at pizzeria Comet Ping Pong in the capital showing members of the DC Antifascist Coalition, a part of DisruptJ20, planning to disrupt the DeploraBall at the National Press Building on January 19—through use of stink bombs (of butyric acid) and activation of the building's sprinkler system.[11][12][13] DisruptJ20 countered that it had caught on to the Veritas operation and had thus fed its operative a false plot;[11][12] however, based on the video, the DC police arrested a man associated with the group[clarification needed] on January 19, 2017 for his alleged planning to disrupt the DeploraBall

Note that this was disruption to the DeploraBall (not the inauguration ball). It it true that the plan was acid in the ventilation system, but that acid was butyric acid. It's true that this would smell pretty bad, but it sounds a fair way from promot[ing] assault and anarchy against conservatives. One would also note that most conservatives would reject the implied association with the DeploraBall.


I don't know anything of the group, but it sounds like law enforcement was able to obtain adequate information on people plotting violent attacks, so the system works!


This is indisputably true, so I have no idea why you are downvoted. Or rather, I have an idea, but it's not a pleasant one.

There's nothing contradictory in applauding Dreamhost's attitude and victory, while at the same time seing the disrupters for exactly what they are.


The comment above you directly disputes it.

How is it indisputable? Please don't forget your citations.


This is amazing. Thank you, Dreamhost, for defending your customers' rights.


Good news.

But now, sadly, we need a service (i.e. Chrome extension?) that rates the depth of the pockets (and the size of "the stones") of the company hosting a site we're about to visit.

That aside, it there was smart and kbown way to picking hosting that's - more or less - beyond the reach of such things? Would AWS have been as upstanding as DH?


Can someone explain the reason for a down vote?

If hosting now matters, why is awareness of such things a negative?


Not gonna lie, this headline scared me ;)

Good work Dreamhost, proud to be a customer!


The headline scared me too.

To be honest, a part of me was expecting a complete company shutdown if not a mandatory compliance order.


It's great to see Dreamhost standing up for the right of their customer's website visitors. They don't have any financial incentive, but they still made it right. Makes me feel secure to know where they'd be ready to go for their own customers if you ever got targeted by an unlawful request.


The title sounds like they're shutting down. The article has a positive result though.


> We are now required to hand over a drastically reduced amount of data to the government and will redact any identifying information from every scrap of it that relates to non-subscribers.

Does anyone know what they mean by "non-subscribers"?


It means anyone who isn't paying for the hosting of the website.


I have been using DreamHost for a decently long time. I signed up right around their infamous "billing issue" around 8-9 years ago; I naively -- and luckily -- ignored the huge red flag that was and bought in long and ard. This current development has only solidified my enjoyment of using them as my hosting service.

I am very glad they came out on top here and, to be honest, given recent events mu heart was sinking when I read the title but was uplifted when I read the content.


This is a big deal. Thank you.


What is disruptj20.org? I'm afraid to visit it.


Disrupt J20 was a website put together for organized resistance to Donald Trump's administration. This case is specifically tied to an overturned trash can and mass marches that were held on inauguration day in DC.

Some background on the case: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/18/trumps_doj_demands_pe...

From Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney at the EFF:

"The government asserts that there were crimes committed on January 20th. You know, there was some petty vandalism or whatever. The government is claiming, of course, felony rioting, which is another thing altogether.

So, the government’s theory of the case, laughable as it is, is that everyone who visited J20—DisruptJ20.org did so in order to plan a crime."

230 people that participated that day were mass-arrested and 194 are potentially facing 75 years in prison. http://defendj20resistance.org/


You left out any mention of this video series, or the claims & counter claims regarding it -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHZSfhd1X_8


James O'Keefe has a history of editing footage to make misleading or false claims. Nothing he says should be believed.

Just look at the amount of times he has settled claims for misrepresenting individuals and organizations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_O%27Keefe


> Just look at the amount of times he has settled claims for misrepresenting individuals and organizations

There appear to have been two settlements, one to Izzy Santa and one to Juan Carlos Vera. In the ACORN videos, the guy was playing along with them and reported the contact to the cops. As for the CNN thing, I honestly don't know what was going on there, because the settlement was paid to one of Veritas' own employees and the whole thing is crazy.

I understand that there were claims that this video was like the ACORN video, incidentally. We'll know if that's what really happened or not once the police finish their investigation and the evidence comes out at trial.



Proud to be a DH customer today. Awesome news!


Same here.


This makes me proud to have worked for Dreamhost. Great job friends!


That is impressive! More incentive to become a Dreamhost customer.


As I was reading "The end of the Dreamhost[...]". I started to feel very happy until I realized this is not their end but something else :(


Integrity....how weird.


Now if only Cloudflare could follow suit.


Amazing results and glad they stood up. Looking into signing up!


I thought DH was going under when I saw that headline! Much happier result.


As a US citizen, Dreamhost customer, and visitor to the disruptj20.org site, I'm triply thankful that DH resisted the digital dragnet and established a some case law in the process!


Yeah, I'm not even a Dreamhost customer (I was for a few years a long time ago), and I instantly had a sinking feeling in my stomach when I read the headline.


Yeah, me too. Terrible till.


*title


Can we have the title edited so it doesn't sound like a going-out-of-business post?

I'd suggest "The End of the DreamHost vs. DOJ privacy case".


Updated to be more accurate and keeping still the initial blog title. Thanks for the suggestion.


That still has the unwanted connotation so I've adopted cperciva's suggestion.


Still vague. How about "Dreamhost Wins vs. DOJ, Protest Site Records Will Be Redacted"?




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