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Community Choice Award "Most Likely to be Shut Down By Govt" 246

Last week we took nominations for a Slashdot category at the SourceForge Community Choice awards. Our category was 'Most Likely to be Shut Down By Government Agency'. Your nominations were tallied, and we arbitrarily selected a few that we think are the best. Today is the day where you can at long last determine the winner, using the incredibly scientifically accurate Slashdot Poll. Our nominees are Truecrypt, EFF Patent Busting, GNU Software Radio, WikiLeaks, Cryptome.org, Tor, Freenet, and CowboyNeal.
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Community Choice Award "Most Likely to be Shut Down By Govt"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:45PM (#23711401)
    Slashdot of course!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:45PM (#23711405)
    TrueCrypt has already changed it's name to TueCrypt to avoid pursuit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      404. The internet's version of: *Waves hand* "This isn't the page you were looking for. Move along" *waves hand*
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hAckz0r ( 989977 )
      Just to keep the Fed's guessing how about www.071124062565071103070171005164.org where the domain name changes every 15 microseconds or so via a fast-flux domain name server hack. Ok Feds, just try and shut *that* web site down! The down side is trying to download and install the applications you need to be real fast fingered with the web browser. ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Comboman ( 895500 )
        I'm going to cyber-squat on www.0711240656407113070180000000.org. Prepare to profit in 3 microseconds, 2 microseconds....
  • Government Agency? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by forsetti ( 158019 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:48PM (#23711459)
    Hmmmm... any government agency? Based on the earlier story [slashdot.org], it seems the U5 governments should be on the list, being shutdown by some Chinese Government agency ...
  • by Fragholio ( 574860 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:49PM (#23711473)
    ...has got to be WikiLeaks.

    Among the nominees, it's the biggest threat to the governments themselves. And make no mistake, the governments will deal with threats to itself before others.

  • Missing option (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phsdv ( 596873 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:49PM (#23711485) Journal
    Missing Option: All of the above...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gmuslera ( 3436 )
      Was about to suggest the same. Give the "intelligence" agencies something as easy to digest as a list of what they should shutdown, and they probably will (you know, subliminal messages like a poll always work). Probably for most they will notice their existence and/or meaning for first time.

      Dont worry, CowboyNeal, we will bring you lime cakes to prison.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:49PM (#23711493)
    Think about it, what exactly has been shut down by the government lately? Freenet or Truecrypt anyone???!!

    I challenge anyone to even find one credible attempt by anyone in government to shut down one of the nominees.

    This story is just hysterical scaremongering.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta ( 162192 )
      There may not have been much direct government take-downs recently, but there's definitely a chilling effect at work here. Which is exactly what the government wants, it's better if it doesn't have to shut down the sites, just scare off the people who run them. Look at Oink, or Overgrow, for examples.
    • by Steauengeglase ( 512315 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:34PM (#23712197)
      I wouldn't call this scaremongering. Just having a little fun.

      There is something about geeks that leads them to be more suspicious of authority. Perhaps it is being ostracized at a young age or the fact that there are simply a lot of really dumb people out there who have somehow manage to get a little power.
    • by d34thm0nk3y ( 653414 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:05PM (#23713543)
      Think about it, what exactly has been shut down by the government lately? Freenet or Truecrypt anyone???!! I challenge anyone to even find one credible attempt by anyone in government to shut down one of the nominees.

      Wikileaks. QED.

      One Example [boingboing.net]
    • by idonthack ( 883680 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:45PM (#23714347)
      In February of this year, a judge in the US issued a restraining order on the domain "wikileaks.org".

      Dynadot shall immediately clear and remove all DNS hosting records for the wikileaks.org domain name and prevent the domain name from resolving to the wikileaks.org website or any other website or server other than a blank park page, until further order of this Court.
      This came around the time of an arson attack and a significant DDoS attack. Wikinews article [wikinews.org]
  • Tuecrypt (Score:3, Informative)

    by Phroggy ( 441 ) <slashdot3&phroggy,com> on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:50PM (#23711501) Homepage
    I see a typo.
  • **AA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:50PM (#23711505)
    I've lost track. Is the **AA is counted as a government agency, or is the government counted as an **AA agency? Can anyone clarify?
    • To determine: For all 'FOO is a BAR agency', BAR controls FOO, while FOO has at best minimal influence on BAR. (BAR owns FOO, not vice-versa.)

      Therefore, the Government is an **AA agency.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      *AA is more powerful than a government agency. They are the fourth branch of government in the US, and can enact laws worldwide via treaties like ACPA and WIPO. In the US, laws have to pass through them, or else Congresscritters find themselves facing candidates with hundreds of millions of dollars in their war chests against them come next election.
  • by x_MeRLiN_x ( 935994 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:51PM (#23711527) Homepage
    The current Slashdot Poll is about utensils. The Article Poll seems more relevant.
  • by sconeu ( 64226 )
    CowboyNeal as the project we'd most like for govt to shutdown?
  • YouTube? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobBebop ( 947356 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:54PM (#23711593) Homepage Journal

    I read the earlier story, but it only now just occurred to me that another prime candidate for this is YouTube. The freedom to "Broadcast Yourself" is scary in a lot of general contexts that have already led to a number of government agency censorships around the world.

    Also, giving Google the ability to self-censor the content posted (currently, I believe objectionable violence and pornography is banned by the TOS) provides for a bias on the site.

    • You're right... removing stag films from YouTube is terrible. Everyone should be able to post whatever they want on there... ugh.
    • Re:YouTube? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @02:34PM (#23713083)
      The low signal-to-noise ratio keeps YouTube from being considered in my mind. Too much crap, not enough diamonds.

      People are too busy watching their favorite new hip-hop dance or replays of clips from American Idol or whatever the kids are into these days to find the interesting, insightful, and thought-provoking pieces.

      When YouTube hit, I thought it was the perfect place for documentaries and culture works, but apparently it's a place for pop culture trash and soft-core pornography. Never underestimate the reptilian brain of your average Joe Sixpack.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fbjon ( 692006 )
        You misinterpret the situation. Youtube won't be shut down because it has passed the cute cats [ethanzuckerman.com] litmus test.
  • Likely? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:55PM (#23711601)
    What difference does it make if something is "likely" to get shut down by a government agency?

    It matters if something is actually shut down. The answers on this "likely" poll are just a measure of the prejudice (in the dictionary sense of the word prejudice [reference.com]) of the people answering the question.

    Where's the answer for "none of them should be shut down, but I prefer to keep an open mind and deal with reality rather than wallow in my own preconceptions about things that haven't happened yet"?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Nushio ( 951488 )

      Where's the answer for "none of them should be shut down, but I prefer to keep an open mind and deal with reality rather than wallow in my own preconceptions about things that haven't happened yet"?
      I believe its called "CowboyNeal"
  • Tor? (Score:3, Funny)

    by demonbug ( 309515 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @12:57PM (#23711617) Journal
    I don't get it, why would the government want to shut down a sci-fi/fantasy publisher?

    Unless... I knew it! That whole wheel of time thing really WAS a government conspiracy designed to cause me to fail out of junior high/high school/college! I thought it was a little fishy when RJ supposedly passed away just before finishing the final installment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rrohbeck ( 944847 )

      I don't get it, why would the government want to shut down a sci-fi/fantasy publisher?
      They're giving away free e-books, which obviously makes them part of the anti-**AA/copyright terrist plot.
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:03PM (#23711723) Homepage Journal
    confuse and throw the gov. off the Wikileaks trail.
  • Plugging the 'Leaks (Score:3, Informative)

    by ZackZero ( 1271592 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:05PM (#23711747) Journal
    It's got to be WikiLeaks. It's one of the only sites to post that completely crazy garbage that Scientology calls the "OT" levels. And who can forget that draft version of ACTA that got mention here?

    Wikileaks has a legal team and the balls to use them to keep running, but that likely won't stop the insensitive clods in the government.
  • Vote None! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:10PM (#23711833)
    The government doesn't shut down websites. They can't, legally, unless there's something criminal going on.
    • Re:Vote None! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:17PM (#23711941)
      Until they figure on some exigent circumstances. "pedophile terrorist communists use freenet!" use of freenet is then banned.

      Someone posts to wikileaks about how the govt made up the charges about freenet, and then freenet gets taken down over "state secrets" or something.

      Notions of law and justice are really somewhat quaint these days.
      • Re:Vote None! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Z34107 ( 925136 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:38PM (#23712263)

        Just because some of our 535 crazies committed to Congress this session want to shut it down, doesn't mean it'll happen.

        A bill was introduced in 1955 to ban Rock and Roll music, for the same "protect the children" reasons used as excuses to ban anything. Of course, that didn't happen - what would've happened to "Guitar Hero?"

        Congress wants to look like it's doing something - actually doing it is hard. Watch them ban Wikileaks, make a press release, and then do nothing within their (limited) power to actually shut the site down. They get their press time, everyone's happy.

        But, in some ways, that's a good thing. An ineffectual government is better than one with "quaint" notions of law and justice.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zopf ( 897522 )
      RIP OiNK :(
    • Whew! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <roystgnr@ticam.utex a s . e du> on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:28PM (#23712103) Homepage
      What a relief.

      I guess we're all safe, just as long as there aren't any laws [cornell.edu] or regulations [gpo.gov] that these websites might be violating. I'm sure the authors of Freenet double-check their regulatory compliance every week. After all, the index volume for the Code of Federal Regulations is only 1100 pages, and the other 50 volumes can't be too much bigger. And why even bother reading the US Code? You barely have to skim the thing to determine that there could never be anything illegal about providing assistance to third parties who want to covertly transmit large amounts of unspecified data.
    • But who... exactly decides what's criminal?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      They can't, legally, unless there's something criminal going on.

      You mean, like telling you how to decrypt DVDs [2600.com]?

      (Which, incidentally, is why I voted for the GNU Software Radio project. If "Think of the children!" is the constitution's rootkit, "Think of the IP!" is its moneyed, bastard son.)

    • You seem to be forgetting it is the government that defines what is "criminal".
    • 2600 [wikipedia.org]

      For those of you to whom the number "2600" has no meaning, the courts stopped 2600.org from posting and even linking to DeCSS or the source code (which the last I saw was seven lines of code and still shrinking). It is the website of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly [wikipedia.org]. Amazing that anyone at slashdot hasn't heard of it.

      The courts held that source code isn't speech, pissing off a LOT of programmers who only know a few languages, all of which are computer languages.
      • by mveloso ( 325617 )
        If you noticed, the 2600 web site was not shut down. And, of course, it did fall under the criminal definition.

        Whether you agree with that definition is another thing. And as a citizen of the US, you can work (perhaps futilly) to get the law changed.
    • If there's anything you can do that can't be construed as criminal if need be, the laws need to be fixed.
  • Not a suggestion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:17PM (#23711939)
    Given that most governments now consider George Orwell's classic: 1984 more as an instruction manual than a warning, someone should make it clear to the govt. that we are not asking them to close these sites down.
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      Maybe we should ask them to. They generally do the polar opposite of what we dirty damned computer hackers, libertarians, and other such terrorists want them to.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rick Genter ( 315800 )

        Maybe we should ask them to. They generally do the polar opposite of what we citizens want them to.

        There, fixed that for you.
  • GNU Radio (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Lets see, you can encode or decode any signal... hdtv, gps. Create ad hoc networks. Communicate directly to others using unknown protocols over an essentially analog medium that cannot be recorded exactly. And you aren't plugged into the grid... there's no account numbers and monthly fees so the man doesn't even know you are doing any of this.

    Some people say 'wikileaks' because the man doesn't want you knowing, but imo worse than that is the man not knowing. The man being any of the govt, riaa, mpaa, ca
    • Except there's like, 100 projects not based on GNU Radio doing the exact same thing, many BSD licensed or completely unlicensed, free for the picking. So shutting down GNU Radio is of little consequence. (Not to mention the proposed hardware is expensive as hell whereas the hardware for other projects - like SoftRock - can be had for $10 receive onlyu, $30 transmit and receive.)
  • This is the 2000's. The government won't shut down anything. They'll just get their corporate buddies to sic their lawyers on the companies until the money runs out, then the sites will shut themselves down.

    As a last resort, I guess the corporations will need to "ask" the government to "step in" to protect some trade secret or stop some piracy, but the government won't just march in and take the servers.

    That's what the RIAA is for.
  • As much as I think TPTB would like to kill off truecrypt (assuming it's on their radar), it can live on with underground distribution since it's a software project. Development might grind to a halt, since no one could easily validate the source for various underground successor projects. But checksums for the last known, good version would be as easy to find elsewhere as a bootleged disc of code.

    The whole point of Wikileaks is to make things public, so driving leaked documents repositories underground would make them indistinguishable from conspiracy theorists and the lunatic fringe.

    • Development might grind to a halt, since no one could easily validate the source for various underground successor projects.
      Assuming the project is hosted in a country that is affected by the government(s) you're talking about.
      And if that's a problem just use P2P and/or an anonymous overlay network.
  • I agree. The Community Choice Award is the most likely to be shut down by the government.
  • by OldSoldier ( 168889 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:28PM (#23712101)
    Well.. if the government "shuts EFF Patent Busting down" by fixing the patent system, then that would be a Good Thing.

    Seriously, even the patent office is complaining about the backlog of patents. I think they want a solution as much as the rest of us.
  • Thank you (Score:2, Funny)

    by akunkel ( 74144 )
    Thank you Slashdot readers. Your research has been a great help. We will get right on this.

    U.S. Govt.
  • Clearly Neal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kiehlster ( 844523 )
    I went with Mr. Neal because all the other options are products of our society. You can try to suppress society, but it will only rise up against you. You can however take someone out of society and effectively martyr them. Their voice may remain, but their influence diminished. Everything else will reappear in a different form possibly greater than its predecessor. Even taking someone out of society may have little effect on their cause if their cause is strong enough.
  • by jxliv7 ( 512531 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:35PM (#23712211)

    I must have been busy with something really really important or I would have nominated
    . . . . . the Sirius and XM satellite radio merger
    . . . . . the United States Patent Office
    . . . . . the border between the United States and Mexico
    . . . . . Amtrak
  • I'd say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by esocid ( 946821 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:35PM (#23712213) Journal
    either Truecrypt or Tor since they can easily be labeled to the public as terrorist tools. Thinkofthegovt! Panic!!
  • TrueCrypt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UnderCoverPenguin ( 1001627 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @01:43PM (#23712325)

    Even though it would be delicious irony for them to shutdown TOR - after all, the US Navy created it - I would say TrueCrypt.

    TOR (and Freenet) is too easy to co-opt. Anyone can locally modify their copy of the software and deploy "spyware enhanced" entry and exit nodes. Traffic between the exit node and final destination is not (TOR) encrypted. Also, even if otherwise encrypted, traffic analysis is useful due to the fact that entry and exit traffic can be correlated.

    TrueCrypt, however, represents a real problem. While it would be easy enough to foist a back-doored version on to most potential TrueCrypt users, the people who are really serious about keeping their private information private, would build from source and be extremely careful about where they got the source from.

    On the other hand, truly shutting down an open source project is likely impossible. Also, it is virtually certain that the software has been extensively analyzed for implementation weaknesses, so it might be decided to allow users to think they are secure.

  • The DMCA provides legal precedent for outlawing software radio.
    Here's the pattern:

    powerful people don't like X
    X is inconvenient
    software makes X convenient
    government outlaws software that does X

    Case 1
    content producers don't want DRM to be broken
    breaking DRM needs specialized hardware and expertise
    software makes it easy for anyone to break DRM
    DMCA outlaws software that breaks DRM

    Case 2
    <interests> don't want people to have free access to the airwaves
    access to the airwaves needs specialized hardware
  • by Nakito ( 702386 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @02:40PM (#23713165)
    TrueCrypt is a mainstream encryption utility used by federal and state agencies, as well as Fortune 100 corporations, to protect data when it must be transported. How does this make it vulnerable to shut down by those same entities?
  • by spazdor ( 902907 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:13PM (#23713703)
    Yes, Slashdot. Tell us. What projects *are* most likely to be shut down by government?

    Listening attentively,
    -US Gov't
  • by PingXao ( 153057 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:16PM (#23713789)
    Leaks and are something a politician understands. The rest they rely on their lackeys to explain to them. I'm sure if someone were to take aside some of the more religious conservative elected officials in Washington and show them what a few choice words and mouse clicks can dredge up in the way of pr0n - no age 13 nonsense blocking the way - I'm sure the internet would be shut down in less than a week.

    But leaks they definitely understand and posting leaked info online is simply poking the Happy Fun Ball repeatedly with a sharp stick.
  • GNU Radio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alegrepublic ( 83799 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @03:40PM (#23714267)
    While Wikileaks may be subject to many DMCA take downs, it will be difficult for the Government to shut it down completely because the site falls very straightforwardly under a First Amendment umbrella. So the Government will have to take more subtle actions against it than plain censorship. On the other hand, GNU Radio is a potential threat to many big industries: cell phone providers, HDTV content producers, digital radio and, of course, the military. Furthermore, it is very easy for the Government to ban it (via FCC) due to technical issues rather than the more controversial political issues. If GNU Radio ever works on hardware easy to build by anyone out of cheap components, it will be banned the next day. Imagine being able to build your own cell phone with all the features you actually want... This cannot be allowed to happen.

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.