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  • "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
    This article was originally published in forum thread: "Operation Chokehold" Spreading started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 89 Comments
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      Quote Originally Posted by hancoma View Post
      Allow me to play devil's advocate.
      Could this not be considered an attack, similar to a denial of service?
      It is also very easy for ATT to find out who participated in this with data logging of the phones...
      Call me paranoid, but I really don't want a piece of this..
      its not illegal to access high bandwidth applications for an extended period of time.or to access them at any reported time. find a court that could find me guilty of what im perfectly allowed to do any god given time of the day. does this day happen to be friday at noon? proove then to that court that i also maliciously intended to use that said high bandwidth streaming at the same day and time as others. find that court which could proove beyond a reasonable doubt that i had nothing but malice and vengance to bestow and ill bow beneath you.

      then again, maybe your just paranoid.
    1. santaf's Avatar
      santaf -
      Quote Originally Posted by rhekt View Post
      its not illegal to access high bandwidth applications for an extended period of time.or to access them at any reported time. find a court that could find me guilty of what im perfectly allowed to do any god given time of the day. does this day happen to be friday at noon? proove then to that court that i also maliciously intended to use that said high bandwidth streaming at the same day and time as others. find that court which could proove beyond a reasonable doubt that i had nothing but malice and vengance to bestow and ill bow beneath you.

      then again, maybe your just paranoid.
      well now if you participated i would say this post kinda shows you have intention on it haha
    1. jcal08's Avatar
      jcal08 -
      this could actually work, if its something that people plan to do say once or twice a week. It could basically force ATT to upgrade, because there would be so many blackouts in service happening at a set time, that it would be feasalbe to think that companies that use AT&T might actually move there contracts... just a thought.. i plan on doing it, even though i have great service most of the time here in Arkansas
    1. Conas's Avatar
      Conas -
      I love this thread. We are all so entrenched in our opinions and very vocal. This thread is down right American.

      That being said, the pro-attack side of the community sounds like terroists. You're causing harm to innocent people so you can get what you want, terrorism defined. Before we spam a network, we should wait untill ATT makes their decision on whether to charge us or not. I'm a 24 year old male, of course I want to stick it to the man! But this isn't a proper outlet for our frustration. I can't change your mind, and I don't even want to try.

      I'm lucky enough to live in a small city (Amarillo, TX) where 3G is available but hugely unpoluted. I see tons of people with iPhones, but to them it's just a phone. I wouldn't be surprised if I own the only jailbroken phone in this town. I helped some people jailbreak pre-3.0, but the people here are technological tards and didn't understand the benefits of the hacked phone. They went JB so they could change their wallpaper, lol.
      Does my 3G coincide with other cities' 3G? Amarillo's coverage is just fine, never dropped a call. But my 3G is different than the bigger cities, right?

      Fun fun topic! Good night all
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      Quote Originally Posted by santaf View Post
      well now if you participated i would say this post kinda shows you have intention on it haha
      or am i just trying to proove that hes paranoid? do you really think that if i just happen to be streaming utube videos or ustream at that alloted time and place allocated by others, not myself, that i would be at fault? i just happend to be going along my own buisness along a normal day. what does that proove?
    1. anekin007's Avatar
      anekin007 -
      i dont see this doing much harm unless there is a mass amount of data use in one area. im always on my phone so i'll do some speed test to see if there are any affects from the operation choke hold.

      also with the iphone you can use data and voice calls at the same time. will all the data use even affect calls?
    1. hancoma's Avatar
      hancoma -
      Quote Originally Posted by rhekt View Post
      or am i just trying to proove that hes paranoid? do you really think that if i just happen to be streaming utube videos or ustream at that alloted time and place allocated by others, not myself, that i would be at fault? i just happend to be going along my own buisness along a normal day. what does that proove?
      I never stated a court would convict you. You are assuming. I simply stated that it would be easy to find out if anyone was actually involved in this, see my other post on page 4.

      Sure, call me paranoid all you want. Point is, I believe there will be repercussions to this act, and nobody knows what it will be, I am simply offering a viewpoint of what the other side could do.
    1. thinknoffcenter's Avatar
      thinknoffcenter -
      this guy, and anyone who participates in this is an immature cockstain.....it's simple, u don't like at&t, don't enter into contract with them and don't give em your business. One thing i would like at&t and any other company that u enter into a service contract with is an escape clause.....hence.....if the TOS changes, and u don't agree with them, you should be able to cancel the contract without penalization. but here we have a guy, all grown up, working for a major publication being a whiney b***h, as far as i'm concerned.....he can suck a fart outta my @$$
    1. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      What the "other side" can do is what gas companies do when folks circulate the same idea regarding gas prices. Folks boycott for a day gas companies and 2 weeks later gas prices rise. Of course, mobile providers don't have the legal means to raise your service fee while under contract but it also doesn't endear users to them. Anyways, sounds foolish. Just my thoughts.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      It seems like people think that AT&T just sits idly by with upgrading their networks. They are working on this every day. It won't happen overnight.
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jayson9 View Post
      I'm in!!!!!!!

      The person who dreamt this up should get alot of cudos. If it works, I only hope Verizon finds a way to use this in a comercial somehow - so that it really steams AT&T's @ss for days!

      BTW, for those (who live in one of the 5 or so cities with GREAT 3G coverage) that think this will cause AT&T to raise our fees, big deal - don't participate. The rest of us with crap coverage will fill in for you..........!
      You're an idiot like all the rest who think this will help. The person who began this whole thing prob doesn't give a crap about AT&T nor you. How do you know he's not hoping that this trick will force AT&T to actually implement the usage limits to **** us iPhone users up?

      Do any of you morons actually use your brains when it comes to business matters like this? Or do you all just follow on like baby ducks hoping for some kind of resolution? You're all going to probably end up ruining it for ALL OF US. Not just me, not just joe the plumber,even you yourselves. Such stupid childlike brains you all have.
    1. armani107's Avatar
      armani107 -
      i will be using my slingbox with 3g unrestrictor!!!
    1. jeffhesser's Avatar
      jeffhesser -
      Quote Originally Posted by Luppin View Post
      Not investing their income into their network? All it takes to see the innacuracy of this statement is to just go to AT&T's "About AT&T" page where you wil see that by the end of 2009, AT&T plans to add 2,000 cell sites. Even if they only make 75% of their total goal, that's still 5 sites a day being constructed all across America, and it costs roughly $245,580 to build a single cell site, so that's roughly $1.2 Million dollars being spent every day on their network.
      So even if you play it extremely conservative and assume they have 10-15 million iphone users currently paying them, you want me to be happy that they are investing $30 million'ish each month when they are taking in over $300 million per month in our data plans alone?!?! Beyond that simply adding towers is not the only solution to their problems. You are welcome to be happy being treated like the enemy by the only company that carriers the iphone but personally i'd rather not promote that kind of behavior. Is this going to convince ATT to back off? No and I'm sure when ATT finally does start metering their service or taking other steps 'in their customers best interest' you will be more than happy to blame it on these evil customers who just HAD to use all that precious bandwidth that they paid for. ATT bit off more than they could chew and rather than pro-actively solving the problem they point fingers and down-play the severity of the problem. Just sit in your corner and enjoy the kool-aid sir.

      Quote Originally Posted by hollow0 View Post
      Such stupid childlike brains you all have.
      very poetic! haha... Even if it does no good at all it should be fun to see if a collective push can actually have an impact on network performance. If it doesn't then it's just more proof that ATT's blaming the iPhone is pure BS and if it does then there should be some fun engadget posts to read! haha
    1. Windmeel's Avatar
      Windmeel -
      Quote Originally Posted by metaserph View Post
      What the "other side" can do is what gas companies do when folks circulate the same idea regarding gas prices. Folks boycott for a day gas companies and 2 weeks later gas prices rise. Of course, mobile providers don't have the legal means to raise your service fee while under contract but it also doesn't endear users to them. Anyways, sounds foolish. Just my thoughts.
      Well, the gas prices going up 2 weeks later to the "Gas Boycotts" that takes place is just coincidental. See, if everybody didn't buy gas for one day, it doesn't hurt anyone. It just doubles the gas pumped the following day.
    1. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      Back to square one, my point.
    1. LGgeek's Avatar
      LGgeek -
      Quote Originally Posted by hancoma View Post
      Could this not be considered an attack, similar to a denial of service?
      .
      Using this logic when everyone goes home each night and turns on the tv at the same time or turns on the lights they are participating in DOS ?

      Quote Originally Posted by hancoma View Post
      It is also very easy for ATT to find out who participated in this with data logging of the
      So ATT would see by their logs that wifi service was off and folks were on 2/3 G (which is usual for me as I leave the office at lunch as I suspect many people do) and people did a lot of data traffic at lunch time. how would this be any different than any other day, would image the data traffic always goes up at lunch time.
    1. hancoma's Avatar
      hancoma -
      Quote Originally Posted by LGgeek View Post
      Using this logic when everyone goes home each night and turns on the tv at the same time or turns on the lights they are participating in DOS ?



      So ATT would see by their logs that wifi service was off and folks were on 2/3 G (which is usual for me as I leave the office at lunch as I suspect many people do) and people did a lot of data traffic at lunch time. how would this be any different than any other day, would image the data traffic always goes up at lunch time.
      Time difference between sections of the country, it won't be lunch for everyone.
      Anyway, on Abc they have official comments from the FCC chairman and from homeland security.

      Seriously guys, I'm not trying to argue, but simply asking people to think.
      Even the fake Steve Jobs is recanting on this operation. Possibly because he could face legal issues for attempting to negatively impact communications infrastructure??

      Once you start seeing FCC and other govt agencies commenting, you know things are spinning out of control. If this does have an impact it will simply justify to the FCC, AT&T and everyone else that we use to much data, and will support caps on data. This could very well backfire.

      This issue is very visible right now in the press, the point has been made. Oh and all the people supporting this on facebook with their names, personal data...seriously? Does the name cisco fatty ring a bell? People lose jobs/denied jobs for what is on their facebook...and once on the internet, always.

      I think the chokehold will continue as planned, and good luck to all who participate. I'm done.
    1. Sol Munition's Avatar
      Sol Munition -
      Heated topic huh? If this is the only way to get At&t's attention, so be it - will it work? Dunno. Buut it seems like the point is being lost:

      "AT&T isnít investing in a network to support the iPhone and future mobile computing platforms even though they have the resources to do so, and are maximizing short-term shareholder profits over long-term share-holder and customer value"
      but I thought these bits of info from Gizmodo were pretty enlightning





      oh and here's the link to AT&T's financial sheet
      http://www.att.com/Investor/Growth_P...ster_Q3_09.pdf
    1. pwntbywombat's Avatar
      pwntbywombat -
      Chokehold

      go to that on iphone. and let the raping of ATT begin!
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Windmeel View Post
      Well, the gas prices going up 2 weeks later to the "Gas Boycotts" that takes place is just coincidental. See, if everybody didn't buy gas for one day, it doesn't hurt anyone. It just doubles the gas pumped the following day.
      The "Gas Boycotts" do nothing but delay when you get gas. Just like you say they raise the price the following day or week because people will need the gas at some point just not on the day of the boycott. Not going to the pumps for one day does nothing. You still need gas at some point. To hurt them more you see the people actually putting up more fight by using public transportation, bikes, walking, carpools, etc. Those items actually use less gas than not going to a pump for one day.

      This "Operation Chokehold" will do nothing also. It may just be a small connection issue here or there in big cities but most people and places will not even notice. Like I said before it takes a disaster to bring communications to it's knees in an area. Heavy use by several users will not have a great impact on them. Remember T-Mobile going down completely? People just brushed that off also and that lasted 5+ hours.

      Att will probably just say whatever to this and move on with the everyday business. Because they will know if the system is bogged down it was because of an "attack" and not the normal use of the customers.