This war brought to you by the RIAA

This morning my Internet service was out. Usually, I call and get either a recorded message saying that there’s an outage in my area and that technicians have been dispatched, or a I get a voice menu that talks me through resetting my modem. They don’t let you talk to an actual person until you do this.

But today, I got right through to a person. He asked for my social security number, my wife’s social security number, and what I used the Internet for. I was specifically asked what I downloaded. After several more minutes of monkeying around, the putative technician (who must have recieved his degree from a Blackwater USA training camp), told me that “it was broken” and they’d send someone out next Tuesday. After several minutes of screaming at him, and then my wife screaming at him (the big guns), the service was back on.

Could this possibly be anything other than Homeland Security outsourcing the RIAA’s bidding to the telecom operators? It sounds absurd, but the weird thing is — we already they know that this has happened. There’s no question of “can this happen”, only a question of what happened here in this case.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.


  1. Well, that’s inventing the future, <a href=”…“>Philip K. Dick style</a>.

    It’s horrifying, it’s scary, it reminds me of <a href=”…“>my hellish experience this time last year</a> with my brother’s NSA subcontractor, at that time called Adelphia.

    Well, we should take our courage from the Burmese monks and keep resisting however we can.

  2. Wow… scary. Although I’d die without my ‘net connection more quickly than being held underwater, I don’t know if I’d cough up that info to a level 1 tech.

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