Free the Network: Hackers Take Back the Web

[Music] [Music] [Applause] before the tents the pepper spray eviction none of those means Occupy Wall Street was a disparate group of activists roaming around lower Manhattan [Music] they felt cheated in American politics it becomes so bloated with corporate money that something had to give the original plan to physically Occupy Wall Street itself on September 17th came down from Adbusters a nonprofit culture jamming magazine dedicated the open source dialogue and to stripping corporations of their power but deciding to occupy privately held Zuccotti Park was a brilliant on-the-fly new more of a hunch spread by word of mouth and Twitter and the stuff of arduous planning it was an eclectic crowd those first few days some demonstrators had a clear purpose than others some two seem to be reveling in the attention others stayed a bit more on message and then some people like this guy we’re already upset about the direction that things seem to be heading unfortunately we’re deteriorating to what we always do on the American left we’re having a powwow [Applause] like so many modern-day protests the whole thing just kind of felt like uninspired vaguely political performance art [Applause] but there were signs that it might be different this time around fellow citizens of the internet we are anonymous on September 17 anonymous will flood into lower Manhattan vigilante hacktivist group Anonymous he has thrown its weight behind the movement early on this meant the park was teaming with hackers programmers live streamers and advocates for open source technology wearing masks or not they seemed determined to use their tools and their skills to help the cause within this diverse group of people we met a 21 year old from Kansas City like so many other occupiers he had recently dropped out of college some of his ideas caught our attention my name is Isaac Wilder I’m one of the directors of the free Network foundation we build decentralized and distributed communication systems those communication systems are based around freedom towers these independent Wi-Fi sources can be seen beaming out free secure internet to occupiers in Los Angeles Austin Texas and right here in New York since day one there’s the modems the router and the radios for now the modems that were using connect to clear in the future we’ll be able to replace those with modems that connect to our radios or to anybody’s radios the key I guess the secret sauce right is the software that’s running on the router that that lets you anonymize or tunnel or do these kind of fancy tricks with network traffic someday our aspiration is to help humanity build its own actual network not a virtual network but an actual network but in the mean time a virtual network is the best we can do and and it’s it’s a necessary step in the process of bootstrapping an actual wide area network it’s about peer-to-peer networks people talking to one another directly and through no middleman the idea is to build up mesh networks where all points of connection or nodes simultaneously receive and release information but on top of that these nodes act as transmitters for other nodes to Issac in the fnf are working to decentralize a global internet that’s become wildly consolidated and to redistribute the avenues we use to talk to one another mesh networking is not a new idea it’s been spreading around the world in recent years sort of pirate radio internet that connects underserved communities to the web and seeks the bypass the prying eyes of governments and corporations if you can align the clock back to the middle 60s when the Department of Defense decided they wanted to create a network of computer networks which is where the internet came from this is the Department of Defense government-funded project right from the start so it’s so fascinating and now here we are you know back almost four years later and the government has finally realized they created a monster [Music] the Internet is the progenitor of why we’re here had I not had internet and not been a member had Buster’s and I guess I never would have heard of it I go on mind I can make changes he’ll make big changes with a group of people who other than location have nothing holding them back so Facebook got me out here I belong to something and they sent some message yeah we’re gonna be gathering in this park and I said you know what I can do that you know the protest produced such beautiful photos people were aware of that they were totally working that oh this is gonna be you know you know tomorrow so it’s really been a vehicle not just here but all these different places around the world where the information was suppressed the injustice was just obviously a credit to ask the people who got together and said dude we got it nobody get hurt people gotta get work they gotta move on keep on moving on Marx talks about the the means of production and how the proletariat would ultimately take control of the means of production now he could not imagine right the information so the question is no longer about the means of production right but the means of reproduction to me global revolution is when the 99% takes control of the means of reproduction of information the internet more than anything else gives us the ability to circumvent corporate control over our interactions and allow us to connect directly with one another again and the more peer-to-peer we can imagine our internet the more human it will be and the more it can realize its promise as the liberator of a people that has been in one kind or another of indentured servitude for more than half a millennium the risk to that vision is that people will choose to you know either worship at Apple’s altar rather than engage with one another and want the nice screen to touch and drag more than they want to interact with other human beings that people will reduce what it is what it means to be human to a facebook profiles cookie cutter version of a human person or that people will become so obsessed with keeping up with the tweet stream that they won’t live in in real time anymore this this wonderful open platform which has always been compromised and you know has always been there to advance the interests of the government from day one you know finally now we’re at this this reckoning moment who is gonna get to have the internet for themselves I’m scared it’s not going to be us the NYPD staged a mini raid on Zuccotti in late October confiscating the park’s generators and deep-cycle batteries transfer control protocol we caught up with Isaac shortly after this raid and he was joined by his buddy Tyrone a kid from Vermont who’d recently dropped out of school to work with the fnf Tyrone it turns out is the son of Jerry Greenfield Ben and Jerry’s ice cream the folks that occupy are not anti-business they are anti a system that advantages the few and does not give opportunity to the many so found these giant batteries right they each weigh 140 pounds 245 amp hours the big like really big and they’re like $500 apiece but I think that’s the way to go gonna ask the GA for five grand which is cool global gun which I think is inevitable because we are one globe we are one planet we are one species and we face global challenges so in order to have universal human rights and universal access and universal education Universal I think we’re gonna have to break into very small assemblies and govern ourselves that way that’s why the occupation is not a protest into demonstration because we’re demonstrating what one of those assemblies might look like batteries yeah [Music] deep-cycle batteries it goes without saying that the General Assembly approach can be grueling occupy is bursting with ideas everybody’s got one and an intense yearning to tell everybody else about that idea but the GA is an actual political discussion Isaac goes on to make the case for $5,500 he takes a few questions from the crowd so the entire pitch lasted about a half hour it eventually he gets approval there is a material reality to the Internet most people look at the Internet as magic I click a button something happens I did the information they don’t care to acknowledge the actual physical infrastructure that’s moving that data its pipes in the ground fiber-optic kids in the ground owned by people not by people by corporations AT&T level-3 Global Crossing hurricane Electric Tata Indicom these huge transit networks have a deep vested interest in maintaining the status quo if there’s any prospect of a successful global revolution its contingent upon our ability to build communications infrastructure outside of the ownership of those entities so how does a free network figure into the movement well it’s not the movement but it is a necessary and foundational piece of infrastructure that has to be in place before the movement can fully blossom basically we’re trying to create a new freer physical structure for the internet so that like people can communicate on the internet without worrying that their information is being censored by government without worrying that a government or another organization is watching them reading the data packets they send also more importantly just like creating an internet with a physical infrastructure that is cooperatively owned by all the people using it you know I was originally kind of writing pieces saying you know this Internet let’s build our own if this internet is so centralized that the Arab dictators can flip it up with a switch that that Joe Lieberman can call up Amazon and PayPal and say stop funding WikiLeaks you know then we want an Internet where it can’t be stopped we want an uncensored boy Internet and I listened to then Ethan Zuckerman from geek Court and he kind of argued the other way and we had a good discussion about it and he said you know he is the tools that are there as best you can until they stop working like we can’t like independently in Korea our own communications infrastructure in the US until we can put our own satellites up in the sky until we can run our own cable you’re still going to have to deal with somebody who’s regulating those wires hacking is not unnecessarily about reusing everything hacking is about taking evil piece of corporate software like Facebook and using it for a local revolution hacking is taking cash which was designed to extract value from you and using it to fund somebody who’s actually doing something that’s gonna topple a friggin bag Isaac invites us over to an office removed from Zuccotti the owner of this workspace is sympathetic to occupy so at night the place turns into a staging area in a sort of test lab for the free Network foundation we’d been hearing a lot about the benefit of putting up a Freedom Tower but we wanted to see how one of these things would actually work I loved the instructions for operating a tower or plug it in press the big green button so basically the router is connected on one side to the wide area network so that is like the backhaul or wherever we’re getting our upstream bandwidth from you have this separation of components so that this is modular and you can you can replace a WiMAX modem with whatever kind of modem or input that you want the wide area connection comes into the router the router is connected to the switch which then connects it to the server these two connections go to power injectors for the two gateway radios one on each ring is the gateway and then the other to connect to that wirelessly and redistribute the signal in the other directions there are an unbelievable number of ways that you can use this rig I think the one that gets most people really is this prospect right of a piece of software to match the general assembly or any kind of software that we want to run locally web software whatever kind of software we can run on on this server it’s a Debian server and it’ll be accessible whether the wide area connection goes down stays up whatever this has nothing to do with the global Internet this is available locally which is really cool this thing is intelligent there’s intelligence in this box so we can say okay well I’m storing all this media as soon as I get a global connection sync this up to a backup server on top of money from occupies New York General Assembly all this gear is being funded mostly through online donations support from family and friends private donors and one unlikely source in October 2011 Isaac in the F&F took the freedom towers to the contacts summit this conference was headed up by media critic Douglas rushkoff the idea was to bring together web savvy innovators under one roof and to reinvent the entire notion of a conference I mean I came up with contact you know a good year before the Occupy movement and the idea was just to fold the weird edges of the net back into the middle right that the net had become so commercialized and I wanted to do a anti conference conference a conference that’s saying let’s put our stake in the ground let’s take back the net that entire conference was abuzz with talk of the occupation and and we were doing what everybody was talking about I thought rather than just get them all together why don’t I try to get the people at this thing on the day of this conference to come up with ideas join up with them and then we’ll push them out into the real world and then I thought I’m gonna not only do that but get money for them have judges look and then figure out what do they like the best and give 10,000 to those things yeah that’s the biggest single chunk of money that we’ve gotten definitely and and the way they worked was there were three innovation prizes of equal amounts I think the money originally came from Pepsi which is funny you asked everybody asked Intel asked every company I had ever done a talk for or anything for and perhaps he had this whole social media thing and then they said sure they’ll do it they’ll give the money you know that was it I still haven’t heard from them since you know it was the kind of the cool thing I mean it’s both it’s supposed to good and the bad thing about a corporation is they’re out of touch with what they do but you know whoever they are the people at Pepsi for all the bad that they do there’s also people there with access to money who want to do good did you have to reconcile the fact that that money did indeed come from Pepsi yeah sure sure I mean it’s tricky thing tricky thing like it’s a it’s a broader issue – okay yeah I mean that money coming from Pepsi is like a small part of a bigger issue which is consumer electronics in general have very dark story very dark origins like this camera my computer my cell phone like those are essentially made of suffering but you have to just couple that knowledge with a knowledge that people aren’t gonna relinquish these technologies voluntarily as far as I can tell like as an individual I have very little control over that my only option is don’t buy the stuff but I’m acting on faith that the actions that I’m taking will ultimately be redemptive and like will ultimately result in less net suffering if we can take money from Pepsi and do something good with it like that sounds like a good use of that money to me I don’t know it does on November 15th nearly two months into the occupation the NYPD raided Zuccotti Park in the early hours of the morning reports said that it was a violent Bustamonte but how could we know the cops were sure to clear the press from the area I was out with friends who are also occupiers and sometime got calls around 1:00 a.m. saying like yeah parks being raided all hands on deck and basically we got down there as fast as we could brought out some like really crazy sci-fi weather they’re like non-lethal sound can wedding thing which from what I heard they attempted to fire but only accidentally had police officers I don’t think the last point is the rigors that was like there was adrenaline that was fear if you’re unafraid you’re just an idiot you know Isaac and Tyrone were among the hundreds of people arrested after a first sweep through the park a fleet of New York sanitation garbage trucks rolled up to cart away all the abandoned stuff including the Freedom Tower the reports of the grinding mashing noises sanitation workers threw stuff onto the heap soon enough the park was fenced off and then came to power washers by morning Zucotti had been flipped from a colorful noisy urban campground back to a placid corporate slab of concrete that afternoon occupiers descended on Zuccotti they were armed with a temporary restraining order and they had their targets set on the claim into space despite that court over their efforts were unsuccessful basically the choice was like and the part or take your and leave two days later we met up with Isaac he’d just been released from jail and he agreed to let us come along with him to the sanitation department at 12th Avenue and 57th Street and the Far West Side so where everything from the raid had been dumped I think just wants his stuff back he’s looking for about $5,000 in cash from the GA his laptop a backpack with a few personal items and of course the Freedom Tower despite our best efforts the cops didn’t let us in as we waited for Isaac to rummage around for his things we met some other people who were there to do the same [Music] who knew this will make today much much bigger and it might make it I think people are angry and let’s see the cop Sir Isaac emerges empty-handed after having sifted through a giant pile of mildew ridden property it had been an hour ya know my backpack is not there it’s ours not there they took all the computers and just like lined them up and hit them with a baseball so I’m a little confused as to like how these officers sworn to protect the law or just standing here I don’t know how that works [Music] we wanted evidence of the damage so we gave Isaac a cell phone so that it could take some pictures [Music] it’s like you know all the false arrests that they do it’s the same thing just with property where it’s like oh we know we don’t have any right to do this it’s just like slow you down and keep you off the street and keep you from being effective and what you want to do but what they don’t understand is that we don’t need any of that stuff honestly we’re probably better off like living with our principles and just being like all right like it all this material doesn’t mean a thing it doesn’t mean a thing a lot of evidence is gone a lot a lot of historical record is gone and and that’s a shame that’s a shame because people deserve to know what was happening there so I think an onion justice has been done do you guys plan to build again with a new tower yeah right away day after tomorrow we’re gonna build them any one when we reached out to sanitation a representative said there were no orders to destroy property but he also said he wasn’t surprised that some laptops may have been mishandled or misplaced spurned on by the eviction and all the disappeared possessions demonstrators turned out and mass on November 17th there was a resurgence with even more arrests and report to brutality it all felt very much like what we’ve seen over the last two months around the country and the world typically aggressive state response to non-violent activism by nightfall people were flooding into lower Manhattan eventually we joined up with a march as it disrupted traffic and ended at a rally at Thomas Paine Park which is about a mile from Zuccotti the place was packed estimates figured that close to 30,000 people had streamed into the area some people said that they could feel the ground shake so for a moment it was as if the whole world was finally watching when the occupiers knew it they even had their own fat signal there was a huge show of solidarity with a movement that a lot of people assumed was already dead the GA that night was massive until then Occupy Wall Street’s loudest meme was Zuccotti Park itself and by clearing away the tents the drum circles and the Freedom Tower the NYPD only seemed to have breathed new life into the demonstrations we’re just getting better at this we’re just learning how to organize we’re just like kids you think that we’ve got people’s attention now wait till we do what we’ve set out to do I think right now it’s just the first sort of siren song of this bell chime that’s gonna just reverberate maybe it’s cuz I’m a young man but I feel like I can go a while [Music] you [Music]

100 thoughts on “Free the Network: Hackers Take Back the Web

  • cutting out a cardboard sign and buying a sharpie just means you're a joke… wanna make 'change' you have to produce results… not sleep on the sidewalk in a sleeping bag yelling at people who actually applied themselves.

    these people are jokes

  • All of that time doing the occupy wall street protest and yet you fucks elect a man like Trump. Whose trying to give those same people you stood against a tax cut.

  • So, with Net Nutrality actually looking pretty fucked this time with a retarded congress and retarded trump this whole idea of building our own internet is gaining ground again.
    What's the haps on these guys these days?

  • @12:00 Honestly, people being idiot sheep is what led to the problems they're fighting against in the first place. Any parrot, robot, monkey, mindless sheep or 5 year old's can repeat what other people say; if you want to actually be an individual though try actually thinking for yourselves. God that pisses me off when I see people protesting against the very thing their actions contribute to; antifa is the only group that annoys me more than watching that.

  • If the people had guns they could have been effective. But without guns they're just a bunch of pussies. non-violent activism doesn't work. The guy with the bigger gun wins.

  • Idealist dreams are nice, but essentially the truth comes whenever such is tempered with reality, and then this known, the logician can simply know the future with a great tool for annihilating, at will, anything. What will be lost next is my wonder…?

  • 20:25. "these material things are made from suffering" BUT, because nobody else is relinquishing their things, then why should i have to, right?

  • fucking young hipster trust fund babies who wear masks cause they don't want to get cut off, talking about socialism. Idiots need to be put on a plane and shipped to north korea.

  • I am glad you millennial scums want to work until the day you die…because that is what you will be doing if you don't want wall street and a retirement to look forward to.

  • Pay close attention on how to create your own internet (i2), net neutrality being repealed means we are going to have to start building our own..

  • So you going to New York City sleep on the ground in a park you smoke a bunch of pot and you chant like idiots surrounded by police getting pushed around and told what to do to understand if this is the world that you're trying to make this is the world you're going to live in Forever

  • what a bunch of fucking morons.. That so called " free & safe " internet method they're using is so easy to spy on every single device connected to it. They put up a free wireless network and call it safe from the gov. They got no fucking clue what they're doing at all. Look at that bearded guys eyes. His obviously high asf.. You can easily just connect to their "free & safe" internet and spoof adresses and log all the information passing through it. Lets use words like Peer to Peer & safe. That will make it safe. LOL. This just made me laugh like heck from a Network Engineer point of view who specialize in network security. Just a bunch of weed smoking hippies calling themself "hackers" who put up a peer network and telling everyone its safe without being able to even explain what it does. funny shit lmao. systems like the one they're using is not meant for sending traffic straight out on the internet. They're just access points to connect devices wireless and reroute the traffic to a core router & firewall. Using it like they do, letting anyone connect & having it connected straight to internet just show they got no clue. Anyone would be able to connect & log the traffic going through the access point if they wanted to and had the know-how. Setups like they've done here is extremely vulnerable to reverse TCP attacks & ARP spoofing as its just a L2 device handling all the traffic & connections. But what do i know.. These guys are so high they're almost levitating. They're changing the WORLD guise!. LOL!

  • It's kinda like these people have an answer for which there is NO QUESTION??? Either THAT or more like "Mu"? They must un-Ask THE QUESTION because the question is not the right one to ask????

  • It will never happen because it will jeopardize national security,if you have it then the bad guys can have it,these are kids too smart for his own good!

  • What fucking good was accomplished here? There's actually a lot of talent here (despite what some other commenters think), but it's going to waste here

  • I think the best that can be said here is that it's a good idea for citizens to take a more active role in control over IT infrastructure. You're never going to beat the economy of scale that the major telecom companies can provide, but you could be very valuable if you know what to do should the main infrastructure be compromised.

  • I understand what people want; but, they don't get it because they are lazy. If you want to make a change, educate your self. Learn the system, work with it. Become the CEOs and executives that control the system; why not take actual control; in-order to, make a real and lasting change.

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  • Instead of a drum circle why didn't they all go to bank of america and apply for a billion dollar business loan to build a hamster tunnel? Or go to their ATM and repeatedly deposit and withdrawl 20$ all day long? Get 1000 people to do that all day long it's totally legal and would get them to listen. No instead they messed up a park and pissed off normal people.

  • How is wall street responsible for the corruption of other governments? Also, what, in western nations, do you not have access to; human trafficking websites, child porn, ooooo i'm so sorry you can't access those IPs from Google. If you did, for some fucked up reason, want to access non-public IPs, you could just download a tor browser. Capitalism solved these issues, cheers!

  • you can only take back the web if you eliminate isps and the data providers .. then you have to make a data center yourself pay rent pay for power just to have free internet… it only works if every thing is free.

  • I don't see any issue with them tapping into the infrastructure that's already laid down as we the tax payer have payed for it. No the one' who pay for internet are not paying for the infrastructure, Surprised? You shouldn't be. Our government gave them money to lay down new lines to upgrade the mess they let go on. Guess what they did with that money. They put it in their pockets.

  • people nowadays don't care about privacy and they don't know what is privacy in the first place that's why they use facebook twitter etc to show how cool they are and they don't know what is the consequence of what they doing in the internet.

  • The way he would say something and the crowd would repeat it reminds me of school children.
    Also, screw marxism, and screw the one world government.
    Its a utopian dream. That would turn into a dystopia.
    The amount of authority you would have to give to a governing body to make everyone equal would lead us way to close to dictatorship.
    Also, the one world government sucks because even if most of the worlds government is shit.
    Some nations are doing better.
    And if it was one world government and they became corrupt it would suck for the entire world.
    Not just a part of it.

  • Why didn't he take his smashed laptop? Some of it is saveable.
    Also, what about the cash for his new freedom tower? (The $3k i think)

  • but what did all the meaningless chanting and temporary occupying do? NOTHING just a bunch of trendy lefties having a party and trying to look like their making a real difference…their NOT

  • Burning 1 dollar bills to prove your point? Burn 100 dollar bills. Oh wait, none of these idiots work for a living. If they did im sure they wouldnt be burning money.

  • This was much a liberal joke or idea as much as world peace. For one thing the American government is severely corrupt and all about money also the in 2013 when this was filmed Obama (officially worst president in America) was president. The American government wants to spy on the American people and this proposal for alternative internet will NEVER happen!

  • The fuck are these queers talking about? The more connected we are the more human we'll be? What the Crack-Pot are they smoking

  • Yea/you/old/ass/mother/fuckers/betta/get/out/the/WAY.Take/your/fossilized/frontal/cortex/with/ya/,/you/bums!!!!!!

  • Here's Hopeing That the when SpaceX gets Starnet online it can be leveraged by all of us to drive the old rotten ISPs out of business, or make them desperate enough to actually care about doing their jobs

  • Mr.Wilder, is my hero! I am afraid he is on a uphill battle. The money and power are too great. He will be over run? However, I hope he keeps up the good fight and others join him. I clicked on the FNF link at Motherboards web site, and guess what, it gave me a 403 error? Its already started!

  • at like 20 mins.. guess big business paid off the cops. 25 mins.. so the pigs were destroying private property.. i fucking hope they had to pay out for it

  • its not wall street we should argue about its the goverment who's putting restriction on the companies and forcing them into having to paying bad wages ect

  • Got any schematics, bill of materials, direction on how to put a network together? I was an Earth First!er, Wobbly and techy dudeguy.

    Most of my associates didn't have the skill set that I had/have. I know that a lot of them felt empowered by chanting and performance art but I think that at least a few of them actually looked down on me and mistrusted technology.

    Which is fine but I seem to find this pretty much wherever I go. People don't understand the power that I seem to weird and it is just a short walk to tearing me down and taking all of the material goodies that I have collected.

    I'm getting tired of starting over. Right now I'm typing this on a Droid and the only internet connection that I have is a data connection through verizon.

  • Wield got spell checked to weird. Technology, 'the comfort and convenience that you/I have demanded, is now mandatory.'
    -paraphrase of Jello Biafra

  • A ton of douche millennials who think they are hackers, when in reality they don't know shit and are considered to be "script kiddies"

  • So obviously the whole Occupy movement was NOT grassroots. None of the resources behind it was grassroots…deep pockets were behind the whole mess…Soros comes to mind.

  • Almost every guy on this sounds like a woman. When did talking like 12 year old preppy girls become so cool for grown men? Saying "like" 3-4 times per sentence, bobbing your head around, and using a questioning tone of voice no matter what you say is not how grown men should act.

  • The actual real solution to the corporatocracy is the people returning to self governing.

  • That’s terrible that all of that personal property was taken but what’s worse is that is was destroyed by the department of sanitation before the had been informed not to do so by the police. Contrary to popular belief. I guess fuck the cops sounds better than duck the sanitation dept though 🤷🏽‍♂️

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