Sat 22 Jul 2006
National governments have chosen to block internet content using tools blunt and sophisticated. China has been working with Google and other companies to restrict access to content that it does not like. The UAE has blocked flickr.com and other general interest sites as well as all VOIP services such as Skype. India has blocked *.blogspot.com, *.typepad.com and geocities.com/* . This action caused a storm of protest among Indian internet users. Will this protest be blocked?
The United States government, “the land of the free”,has collected international phone records of millions of Americans. Will snooping and control of our internet use follow?
All this is done in the name of fighting terrorism. There is no protection from bombers in blocking access to websites. Anyone wanting to send secret terrorist messages would use encryption or steganography. Web based communications is used to reach the masses – to put together demonstrations or strikes. These are not the tools of terrorists – these are the tools of legitimate political participation.
Terrorists may need information to build better bombs, but anyone with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and some technical skills could build an IED from a garage door opener or radio control from a toy airplane. Anyone with enough uranium ore and a fine machine shop and enough money could build an enrichment facility.
The keys to stopping terrorism are stopping the money to terrorist groups, and getting the terrorists to join civil society.
Free interchange of information (and debunking of misinformation) is needed as a prerequesite for maintaining that civil society.
What can we, as internet users, do to inhibit this kind of shortsighted, intrusive and foolhardy attempt to control the flow of information. I don’t know – do you have ideas?
No Responses to “ Arrested Development ”
You must be logged in to post a comment.