In just the last few hours, it seems that AT&T has gone looking for trouble in the one place it is guaranteed to find it. Reports are coming in from all over that the communications giant is blocking access to 4chan, specifically the /b/ board. Discussions are here and here.
I’ve never been to /b/, but I’ve benefited from some of the funny stuff they come up with. I’m well aware of its reputation as the cesspool of the internet. You don’t have to be a member or a fan to pull for its continued existence as a matter of free speech. After all, denial of service that affects anyone can eventually affect us all.
But the real fireworks are yet to come. On the one hand, there’s AT&T, which owns iPhone service and just about all the phone line hardware in the US -and has a lot of political pull. About 15% of US users rely on AT&T for internet access. On the other side, 4chan has a vast army of members, including anonymous investigators, organizers, and hackers, with a track record of causing mayhem for anyone who crosses them. Just ask Oprah. Plans for retaliation are already in the works.
Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.
Update: That didn’t take long. AT&T has “unblocked” the site.