Tag: internet freedom

YouTube Down Across Servers Worldwide

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

As of 10:20 PM EST Tuesday, the YouTube.com website is down. The outage started about an hour ago, at 9:20 PM. When going to the homepage, users see a blank page. The search bar is still present, but none of the recommended or suggested videos appear.

At this time, it is still possible to search videos from the bar, and results are coming up. However, upon clicking on any video, an error message occurs. This, of course, renders all of the videos entirely unplayable, even though the search results are visible.

History for YouTube outages is very limited. This past summer, during the World Cup, the YouTube TV services went down for a short period of time. Moreover, some specific channels were shut down in April.

Despite this, there has not been a major shutdown of the entire site in over a decade, when Pakistan tried to censor a video that they thought was anti-Islamic in content. The Pakistani government was tasked with shutting down the site within the country’s borders but accidentally shut down the site worldwide. This outage took several hours to restore.

With YouTube down, users cannot be sure when to expect the video service to return to its proper function.

Several users have taken to Twitter to discuss the unforeseen outage. A number say that they have never seen anything like this before.

Other users are taking to memes as a form of protest against the outage. The YouTube down memes are flooding through Twitter with the hashtag #YouTubeDown.

UPDATE: As of around 10:40 PM EST Tuesday, YouTube is fully operational. They have not yet released a cause.

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Cryptocurrency is Taking the Next Step into the Mainstream

By Nick Hamilton | United States

Cryptocurrency is about to become much more accessible when making purchases in public.

Square, a major digital payment service that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey leads, has won the patent to allow merchants to accept crypto payments, such as Bitcoin. The service would then transfer the payment into the local currency.

Cryptocurrency: Payment of the Future

Dorsey has said that he believes cryptocurrency will be the leading method of payment in ten years. Adding Bitcoin to this service that already supports many major credit cards is a way to make this a reality. This system also eliminates latency in these transactions, meaning approval on purchases will occur much faster. They’ll be able to do this via a blockchain that records Square-managed wallets in real time.

Tackling Major Obstacles

This, of course, means that cryptocurrency payments will process at the same speed of credit card payments. Previously, one of the big drawbacks of crypto was the increased transaction time. Another key issue was a very low accessibility, but Square is tackling both of these issues.

It’s not often that companies who do blockchain research have such an enthusiastic CEO when it comes to cryptocurrency. However, due to this patent, and Dorsey being so invested in cryptocurrency, we could see cryptocurrency emerge more in the mainstream. At the very least, it now will be considerably easier to use. This could mean that Bitcoin’s demand will rise, thus raising its price.

A Bright Outlook

The patent may affect the backbone of the future economy, at least according to Dorsey, who tweeted earlier this year that Bitcoin would become a path towards financial success for all.

As the price of Bitcoin continues to rise, Dorsey’s dream of seeing crypto thrive in the future may be coming true.


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The Free Market: Everybody Wants It, Everybody Hates It

By FritzCast | United States

Over the course of the past two weeks (and if we want to get technical, even longer than that), two major subjects have taken the national spotlight, both of which are heavily involved in the marketplace.

One was a Supreme Court Decision in a case of one man and his bakery refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex couple for their wedding; the other was regarding the end of Net Neutrality regulations of the President Obama era.

It was odd, to me, that both subjects take on such heated, passionate debate. Many were upset over the Supreme Court’s narrow 7-2 decision in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop; some will even argue that the court essentially voted that it is ok to discriminate against the LGBTQIA community, but there are ways I humbly disagree with such a sentiment.

First, and foremost, it should be noted that this case, in particular, went to the Supreme Court in a battle against not the same-sex couple, but the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips felt as though that Commission was inappropriately hostile toward him, his first amendment freedom of expression and his freedom of religious practice; including statements from a representative of the commission who stated that freedom of religion was often used as a basis for discrimination and also directly stated “it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use” (See this good Op-Ed considering Justice Kennedy on the matter).

Regardless of the statements and the situation as a whole, I always wondered what was wrong with the free market approach to the problem. In this case, let me present my argument:

I do not believe Jack Phillips or Masterpiece Cakeshop discriminated against a same-sex couple solely on the basis of them being a same-sex couple; on the contrary, as I argued in my latest FritzCast Podcast episode “Survey Says,” that the same-sex couple could probably frequent the cake shop on a regular basis buying deserts all the time, like delicious blueberry muffins, for example. Masterpiece Cakeshop only refused the service when the same-sex couple requested a cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony (meaning that if a straight person had wanted to come in and solicit Masterpiece Cakeshop to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony, they too would have been declined).

That being said, that does not mean I agree with Mr. Phillips reasoning, nor would I be willing to support his business with my dollars. I merely mean to say I would not, at Government Gunpoint more or less, make him bake a cake for a ceremony that he did not wish to participate in. I imagine the same-sex couple, even if they had frequented Mr. Phillips shop and bought delicious desserts every day, probably would wish to no longer support him either (there is, however, a distinct possibility that same-sex couple may just love the blueberry muffins so much, they keep going for them). Mr. Phillips then faces the market force, and if you want a highlight of that, just Google Masterpiece Cakeshop…their overall rating has plummeted from consumer response, some of which are strictly reviews from people who have never even been to the shop and experienced the product. And that is fine.

I would probably feel differently, for example, if Mr. Phillips refused to serve any LGBTQIA people solely on the basis that they are LGBTQIA people, however the same concept applies: A private establishment can make a set of rules it states it will follow, and the market force, in turn, can respond to whether or not they support that establishment. I once heard Austin Petersen, former Libertarian Presidential Candidate and current Missouri Senate Candidate, say in the Libertarian Debate “let the bigots out themselves. Who wants to buy a cake from someone who hates them?”

Now, for Net Neutrality, first we must look at the fact that the subject itself is not a simplistic topic. Net Neutrality, though first initially spoken of and declared in 2005, is heavily an Obama-Era regulation of the internet (our most prized commodity), which generally seemed to argue that there needs to be some amount of Government Regulation to ensure the Internet remains open, and that all data be treated the same so that a service provider (such as Comcast, or Verizon) couldn’t block, filter, or “throttle” internet speeds and services.

On the surface, the intentions seem vital and noble, and arguably they are. We all love the internet, most all of us even have mobile devices that remain linked to the World Wide Web. Is access really that equal though? Geographically speaking, some of us are stuck with a sole provider, one-speed options, while others may have multiple companies they could solicit. Back when I lived in my Apartment circa 2012, I had Verizon FiOS, a nice bundled package with really fast upload/download speed on a fiber optic network.

The neighborhood where I bought my house? Verizon isn’t there. No, there is only one internet provider outside of satellite service from DISH, and that is Comcast. Even the higher data plan that I have purchased doesn’t really scratch at what I used to have with Verizon, and the price definitely is skewed, paying a lot more for less than I had with Verizon.

By free market standards, as there is no legitimate other option, the only thing I can do (and often do), is solicit Verizon and those in my neighborhood to make the endeavor worthwhile for Verizon to speed up their process, set up the hardware in my neighborhood and buy services from them.

We can take it a step further, however. Let us say Verizon was in my neighborhood, and they could directly compete with Comcast. Maybe Verizon packages a “streamers internet deal” for people who stream video games, use Netflix and Hulu, and that was some bundle thrown together for $30/mo. So they broke down some of the internet services…maybe that is all I want? Maybe they have an “all-inclusive” package that encompasses every last bit of internet access. Is it THAT horrible an idea?

I’m not suggesting it is the best idea, but I am suggesting that the free market and competition can often bring desired results, and the consumer in both of these cases yield a lot more power than the masses seem willing to admit. In the 21st century, it isn’t the consumer that buckles to “big business,” it’s big business that has to justify to the consumer why its the best product or best provider.

That is the free market: it’s a lot less of a gamble than you think it is.


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