Postponement in Filming

An Update on The Hand You’re Dealt: Due to time constraints of those involved in the production, filming has been moved to later in the weekend and even to the weekend. Hopefully before the semester ends we can get the video done and put up for the viewers pleasure.

Thanks you!

—Culture Shock Team


What’s Taking So Long?

photo credit : Ryan Perez

photo credit : Ryan Perez

I was so happy to go to the demonstration at the Supreme Court during the DOMA arguments Wednesday, March 27th and help my fellow countrymen, no, my fellow human beings fight for their right of equality. This experience was life-changing, I have never in my life experienced so many people together for one cause, and the moment was breathtaking. As I was standing in a crowd of hundreds, all of whom were focused on their cause and voicing their opinions all at once with such force it was similar to the Greek shipmates in The Odyssey untying Odysseus’ bag of winds.
The fact that it has taken this long for the federal government to recognize gay marriage is disgusting to me. After all the years of the United States persecuting a specific group of people you would think that the country would get the picture, guess not. I guess the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, or the Women’s Suffrage movement has taught us nothing about persecution. The lesson we should have taken from these instances is that we are all equal whether someone is black, white, male, female, but apparently not if you’re gay, lesbian or transsexual. This makes me think that this country needs to persecute a certain group of people in order to get by, why I wouldn’t know. That is why it warmed my heart when President Barack Obama openly supported marriage equality in an interview with ABC news’ Robin Roberts on May 9th,
“I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
Former president Bill Clinton, the creator of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that defines marriage between a man and a woman, now supports marriage equality. Clinton campaigned in 2011 for marriage equality in New York when the state passed the Marriage Equality Act, an act that legalized same-sex marriage in New York, becoming 1 of 9 states to recognize same-sex marriages. If the man responsible for DOMA can change his mind why can’t the country? This is something I will never understand. I understand that the American people have their right to their religious views and oppose this because that’s what they believe in but, the country does believe in something called separation of church and state. The government is not trying to force religious groups to accept it (although it would be nice), but to simply to tolerate it.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community should be allowed the 1,338 federal rights in their marriages. They should not have to fight as hard as the African American community had to in the 1960’s for voting rights or as hard as women for most of the 20th century. However, history does tend to repeat itself showing signs that DOMA will be ruled unconstitutional as most acts have been against specific groups of people like the “separate but equal” ruling.
It is going to be embarrassing to say I lived in a time where homosexual discrimination was rampant. I can see in future history classes, as they look at different civil rights movements, students questioning how on Earth did we tolerate the discrimination of homosexuals for so long? They would react the exact same way history students do when they learn of racial intolerance or sexual discrimination. I look forward to coming back to Washington in June to stand with the LGBT community to hear that DOMA and Proposition 8 in California is unconstitutional and that the federal government will grant marriage equality just like I hope you do to.

Cyber Security: Limitations on Our Civil Liberties? Or Vital to Our National Security?

news feature pic  —By Dylan Planeta            Gabriel Carpentieri is sitting at his desk clacking away at his Alienware in his dorm room at Southern Connecticut State University. Leaning back in his chair, Carpentieri is surfing the internet to look for yet finds some of these sites are blacked out. Upon further investigation Carpentieri finds that these websites are protesting a bill called CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. Leaning back in his chair, Carpentari mutters the words “Not one country’s simple government should be able to control the internet” says Carpentieri, 22, a computer science major at Southern Connecticut State University and an online activist.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is the third bill proposed by the U.S government as a way to regulate the internet. That would allow the sharing of internet traffic information between technology and manufacturing companies with the U.S government on what the companies see as a cyber-threat. This would allow the federal government to launch investigations into people due to suspicious internet behavior without a warrant. Before CISPA the government attempted two similar bills that failed. These bills were the Stop Online Privacy Act and the Protect IP Act, which had similar goals and were proposed to Congress in 2012. Cyber security has become one of the U.S’s growing concerns; President Obama attempted to address this concern by recently passing an executive order, which allows the government to share cyber threat information with companies that run important networks and vice versa. This increased security concern has caused the government to be more aggressive when it comes to the apprehension of hackers, recently Aaron Swartz, who was arrested for hacking M.I.T, taking academic articles and was facing a 35 year sentence.

Christopher Simpson, a journalism professor at American university, author, internationally recognized scholar with expertise in propaganda, democracy and media theory, bent forward in his chair with a stern look while sitting in his office overlooking the campus, giving his thoughts on CISPA,  “I think the main problem with CISPA is that there is a difficult tradeoff between civil liberties guaranteed by the U.S constitution, on one hand, and the way CISPA claims it will protect those liberties, on the other. CISPA will seriously damage those liberties, not protect them,” says Simpson. “CISPA is also being used to pursue a very restrictive interpretation of ‘Fair Use’ under copyright law. That also undermines free use of the internet.”

Recently, President Obama has highlighted cyber security as a main focus of U.S defense in his State of the Union address, “America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks. Now, we know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mails. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems”.

Obama signed the executive order allowing the U.S government to give information on cyber threats to technology and manufacturing companies and vise-versa, just before making this address. In light of this need for cyber security, the cyber security bill CISPA has resurfaced and is up for vote again. However, Simpson believes that “There’s real question that it’ll actually pass. There is a good deal of public opposition, the Senate is not keen on it, the Obama administration, although keen on these goals, they are not keen on the particular methods that CISPA advocates.”

Gabriel Carpentieri, 22, a computer science major at Southern Connecticut State University, also opposes the idea stating that “the internet should be under the 1st amendment.”

“Identity thieves should be taken down however regulation is infringing on my freedom of speech” says Carpentieri, agreeing with Simpson.

Recently, Aaron Swartz, internet activist and founder of the social news and entertainment website Reddit, committed suicide due to, what Anonymous Amerisec member ‘Sinister’ believes as an over-reach in the prosecution of Swartz. Swartz was facing 35 years in prison for taking M.I.T academic articles from the JSTOR system to upload to a public sharing site.

Sinister quotes U.S Attorney Carmen Ortiz along with his own take on how the case was handled, “‘Stealing is stealing’ if you copy my homework in class are you a thief who deserves to be in prison?  The action is undesirable but not criminal”.

The online community is in uproar over internet regulation. On January 18th 2012 over 7,000 websites including Google and Wikipedia protested internet regulation by blacking out their websites, not allowing anyone to access the website or only offering information about the internet regulation bills, in response to the proposed bills. Along with online protests, there were also demonstrations in D.C protesting the bill.

Also protesting anti-hacking laws, online group Anonymous announced their reaction to Swartz’ death, which they believe was a result to a prosecutorial overreach, through social media known as “Operation Last Resort”. With “Operation Last Resort” Anonymous is threatening to release ‘warhead’ files meant to incriminate Dept. of Justice officials. Simpson states “that there are already laws about cyber protection before we get to the CISPA business that the government can and does use to stop that type of cracking and in fact a whole number of Anonymous members have gone to prison”. This means that Anonymous is not the strong cyber-hacking organization that it once was.

An anonymous source, who has had contact, experience with, and knowledge about Anonymous, contests this belief claiming that Anonymous is made up of “sects” instead of being one whole and “The Lulzsec went too far, they are the ones who hacked into the F.B.I. Lulzsec was entirely of all of those Anonymous arrests. They were the most radical faction of Anonymous”. The source goes onto say that “You can’t put Anonymous as a whole, they are difference sects, each one goes on their own. In New York they do not hack, they just gather once a month in front of the Scientology church in Manhattan, doing non-violent protesting. That’s it. They notify the police, they do all the paperwork and it is non-violent. They are their own sect and a very small portion of Anonymous.”

Looking at his computer with a grimace, Simpson, looking down, states that there would be a chilling effect using the example of “but think of your own folks, others parents, how deeply they are trapped, engaged, involved and how worried they are about their lives, kids, can they keep their job, can they pay their bills all that stuff. The potential both for active abuse of one set of people particularly one set of political enemies of that sort and the potential for ‘chilling’ an entire society is very very high” which could lead to restricted social media use. Without free range over social media things like the Syrian revolt would go unnoticed for some time.”

In an e-mail correspondence, Amy Eisman, Director of Media Entrepreneurship & Interactive Journalism at American University, former cover story editor at USA Today, former managing editor at AOL and also co-chaired 2010 Online News Association conference, responded when asked if social media played a role in the Syrian revolution “Yes, but it [the revolution] would have spread more slowly and the message would not have shot around the planet quite as quickly” in an e-mail correspondence.  With the recent hacking scandals, specifically the Chinese hacking scandal targeting the Washington Post, New York Times and the U.S government which Simpson describes as “that type of information gathering, known as signals intelligence, is a generic thing and is absolutely routine and has been for 50 years [citing the Cold War]. The Americans are the acknowledged world leaders in this” which begs the question are these ‘scandals’ just routine or a call for more advanced cyber security?

In China, however, the government has total control over the internet and the content on the internet. Heather Davis, 19, former resident in Suzhou, China, confirms that “The Chinese government had complete control over their internet”.  This began in 2006 when Google China allowed the Chinese government to allow censorship over searches due to pressures from the Chinese government threatening sanctions if the company did not comply. In order to avoid such restrictions, Davis states “my family used a Philippines based company for our internet and most of our television” in order to be unrestricted.  Davis recalls “around the time Chinese militarists shot Tibetans and it was a hot subject, my family was watching the news and an article came on about it. For only 10 seconds. After that the whole station was down for the rest of the day” showing a clear media censorship. However, in 2010, Google began sending its Google China constituents to for censor-free searching. After reaching a new deal with the Chinese government Google now simply suggests as a means of censor free searching instead of an automatic redirection. Commenting on Google’s decision to oppose China’s internet regulation demands, Andrew Plato, president of Anitian Enterprise Security, said in a CRN interview with Yara Souza on March 15, 2010 “”I think the only way for China to save this is to make a clear statement that they are going to respect the privacy and security of companies and individuals,” he said, “However, I don’t see them doing that. There are cultural issues in conflict here that are not easily resolved. This is more than just a hacking problem. It’s a cultural problem. And a firewall and some encryption products are not going to change that overnight.”

Back in the U.S, a file-sharing website known as MegaUpload, which streamed free movies and television shows to users illegally, was shut down in 2012 for violating piracy laws. This sparked retaliation from Anonymous who took down the Dept. of Justice website as a response to the raid/shutdown. More common examples of U.S internet regulation in the past are the infamous pages Limewire and Napster which ran into piracy controversies themselves by allowing users to download music free illegally which resulted in multiple lawsuits and shutdowns. In 2007 Napster settled on one lawsuit for $130 million which was brought by The National Music Publishers Association. Limewire ended up settling for $105 million in a lawsuit brought by RIAA.

Carpentieri has yet to move, still leaning back in his chair with his arms behind his head, staring at a black screen, contemplating the future of the internet. Leaning forward in his chair staring at the floor, he ponders about the future of the internet. Mainly wondering will the government monitor all of the websites that he uses on a regular basis? This question bewilders him, and also frustrates him. Sitting up suddenly, Carpentieri comes to a conclusion on how the internet should be regulated, staring into the monitor of his computer, Carpentari states, “if you want to run the internet, which is essentially a cloud over the entire world, you would need a global community. You would need a U.N of the internet”.

What the C.S crew is up to

221748_10151322129361373_568540888_nHello all,

Like the Netflix Series House of Cards? Right now the Culture Shock crew is working hard on creating a spoof video of the series many of you will enjoy The Hand You’re Dealt hopefully to be premiering at the end of the month. You can expect to see the wonderful Mr. Bowles play the role of Frank! The rest of the cast is still being determined as writing goes underway!

Wish Us Luck!