• "Operation Chokehold" Spreading

    A plan to flood AT&T's network as a protest against the carrier's service is building momentum on the Web... and AT&T is not amused. Started with a single post by popular blogger Fake Steve Jobs, "Operation Chokehold" will have iPhone users soak the network for one hour starting at 12 noon Pacific Standard time on Friday, December 18. AT&T calls it "irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog," in a statement released on Tuesday.

    Fake Steve Jobs is the online identity of Newsweek writer Dan Lyons. His blog, "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs," features satirical takes on issues of the day delivered in the voice of a sort of Steve Jobs-meets-Dr.-Evil (or Steve-Jobs-IS-Dr.-Evil) character. On Monday, Fake Steve Jobs wrote the following:

    I’m really blown away by the way people have responded to AT&T’s bastardly behavior over bandwidth usage. Our engineers are friggin livid. And, because they’re engineers, which means they’re basically evil little pricks, they’ve come up with a plan to teach AT&T a lesson. They’re calling it Operation Chokehold. Last night I got this email that they’ve been sending around inside Apple, encouraging people to join the crusade:

    Subject: Operation Chokehold
    On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. THe idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!
    The post came after after Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Wireless, hinted that the carrier may go to usage-based pricing for heavy data users: read "iPhone owners." The outrage spread rapidly. "An American company creates a brilliant phone," Fake Steve Jobs wrote, "and that company hands it to you, and gives you an exclusive deal to carry it - and all you guys can do is complain about how much people want to use it."

    AT&T, understandably, doesn't find this all that funny. In a statement to the Cult of Mac blog, a company spokesman said:

    We understand that fakesteve.net is primarily a satirical forum, but there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services for more than 80 million customers. We know that the vast majority of customers will see this action for what it is: an irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog.
    In an amusing reaction, some loyal AT&T customers have created something called Operation Cuckoo opposing the action. From their Facebook page:

    ... you don't urge AT&T to improve its network and terms by attempting to bring it down or violating your contract with the entity. Much the same as you don't put out a fire with a gasoline shower.
    Ideas for disruptiing AT&T's network on Friday include:
    • Turning off WiFi
    • Streaming YouTube videos
    • Streaming live video with the new USTREAM Live Broadcaster app
    • Streaming high-bandwidth video from Akamai’s iPhone Showcase site

    One commenter on Gizmodo's story on Operation Chokehold quipped: "I have one problem with this. How do we know if the operation is underway? I don't think I'll be able to tell the difference."

    image via The Unofficial Apple Weblog
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