Friday, February 25, 2011

2016 d20 Modern Campaign Primer (1/3)

On December 21, 2012, Congress revoked the two-term limit for the office of President, and made it a position that could only be vacated by resignation, death, or by a supermajority vote in both houses of Congress.  These changes were passed in closed sessions, and weren’t widely known by the public until months later when a private memo from the Secret Service was intercepted and leaked.

Shortly thereafter, social media sites exploded with links and tweets, putting #iranelection, #jan25, and #sudan to shame.  In an unprecedented move, the government allowed AT&T to buy majority shares in all of its US rivals in both the mobile phone and Internet markets.  AT&T then proceeded to merge all of the competitors into the AT&T brand.  In return for this allowance, AT&T agreed to authorize government agencies to censor or block certain sites.

Soon, the majority of online dissidents were silenced.

In June 2013, many sites were issued Cease and Desist warnings regarding anti-government posts and topics.  The sites were given a deadline of July 31 to comply with the demands.  Sites that failed to bow to the government’s commands had all access blocked by the government.  Few sites resisted, and the government made good on their word to shut down the ones that did.  Wikipedia, 4chan, Craigslist and similar sites were shut down, as well as file-sharing sites and foreign news agencies.  Sites running forums are allowed, but are populated with government agents monitoring content.

Most sites complied with the demands, and in return were allowed to resume business as usual.  Twitter and Facebook still exist but certain words and hashtags send red flags to the government.  A Twitter user tweeting about government conspiracies could expect a knock on his door in the next 2-3 days.  Initially, Google resisted, but changed course when the government throttled back their bandwidth to pre-56k speeds.

In addition to AT&T’s Internet dominance, their phone network nationwide is equally oppressive.  Government technology allows agents to eavesdrop on any call on the network, and employs thousands of agents solely for this purpose.  Mobile phone web access is restricted to a white-list of approved sites.

Around the same time, Comcast was allowed to purchase its domestic competition in exchange for the government being given complete control of content.  Talk shows and news interviews were no longer allowed to feature guests or opinions critical of the government.  In its place, more reality shows and game shows were created.

On February 9, 2014, a hacker group managed to successfully compromise Comcast’s servers and implant a special program disguised as a Super Bowl advert.  The first ‘commercial’ of Halftime featured a black screen with text being read by a distorted voice.  The three-minute ad recounted how the US had gotten to this place, from the revulsion of the term limit, to the fascistic monopolies of AT&T and Comcast.  The ad revealed that the two companies were planning a merger, which would undoubtedly restrict freedoms even further.  The ad ended by calling for revolutionary action in a revolutionary time.

Before the game had even ended, the creators of the video, as well as the hackers, had been executed.  For the government, though, the damage had already been done.


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