Operation Chokehold fails as it succeeds (and vice versa)

David Coursey, PC World

Operation Chokehold, the coordinated attack on AT&T's wireless network, was both a success and failure on Friday. The success was in further highlighting the complaints of iPhone users against the carrier; the failure was that it didn't appear to have much effect on the AT&T network.

"We saw no impact," AT&T told ABCNews.com.

To many, the failure to disrupt the network was a success, too. At least it was for those of us who -- along with the FCC -- consider a malicious attack on essential infrastructure to be irresponsible. (If you need to read about how the event got started, here's our story).

The failure of the attack was also good news for businesses that rely on AT&T's data network, but may have provided valuable emergency planning experience for some.

Expressing anger toward a wireless carrier is one thing, but potentially disrupting people's livelihoods is something else entirely. And no, there is nothing funny about that, even if it was started as a joke.

The ABC News story does, however, quote some of those involved in the protest as saying they believe it managed to slow data traffic for a time. Others, however, reported no slowdown.

Regardless, the protesters made their point and again cast AT&T in a bad light. Whether AT&T is actually so bad is subject to conjecture. Some believe the iPhone itself is part of the problem, due to its software and hardware design.

Others place the blame for slow data throughput and dropped voice calls squarely upon AT&T, which says it is aggressively improving its network to improve speed and reliability.

My take: Some of my fellow iPhone users really need to grow up. And Dan Lyons, whose "Fake Steve Jobs" blog started this mess, could, perhaps, be a tad more responsible in how he incites his readers to future acts of malicious behavior.

Fortunately, Operation Chokehold generated more bluster than service disruption. And if it caused business to consider how to deal with a real wireless disruption, as might occur during some emergency, then the protest might have had actual value as a training exercise.

David Coursey has been writing about technology products and companies for more than 25 years. He tweets as @techinciter and may be contacted via his Web site.

Reprinted with permission from


For more PC news, visit PCWorld.com.

Story copyright 2008 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon