4Chan took on AT&T today, and won. One is a vibrant online community, famed with starting memes, the other is a telecommunications giant. Yesterday, AT&T blocked access to 4Chan for no seemingly apparant reason, an action that caused a mild stirring of frustration online.
Comments flooded the Techcrunch article, ranging from:
“4chan is perhaps the biggest mob-mentality site there is. This is not a site you want to mess with. AT&T will be getting DDoS’d up the wazoo, amongst other things, no doubt.”
“AT&T for even thinking about upsetting 4chan. You don’t DO that.”
“You’re one of those fools that thinks the internet is an appliance. The wild west wasn’t the wild west and neither is the internet. This issue is one of censorship. You can lead, follow or step aside.”
This evening, AT&T have revealed that the site was blocked because of a “denial-of-service attack stemming from IP addresses connected to img.4chan.org.”
Now this may resolve the issue, and one wonders what the reason for the denial-of-service attack was in the first place.
However this raises an important issue over ISPs, or other third parties, restricting access to content that they think their users should not have the right to consume.
We already have of course the great firewall of China blocking everything, including Twitter, but the US is much more liberal than their Eastern counterparts.
It is a worrying thought for many, that their Internet usage will be determined according to what someone, somewhere, believes they should and shouldn’t be allowed to view.
The Internet is the torch for freedom of speech. Be you a left wing or right wing nutcase, a troll or a passive consumer of ‘stuff’, it is your right to view to view what you like, and to say what you like, without restriction.
You have the right to choose what information you want to take in, let’s keep it that way.