Archive for October, 2011

High Noon for Internet Freedom

By Timonthy Karr, 30th September 2011

As democracy movements worldwide struggle to speak out via the Internet, many here in the U.S. may have overlooked an effort in Congress to undermine this basic freedom.

It takes the form of an arcane “resolution of disapproval” now wending its way through the Senate. If it passes, the resolution would void a recent Federal Communications Commission rule that seeks to preserve long-held Internet standards that protect users against blocking and censorship.

The resolution would remove these protections. It was put forth by industry-funded members of Congress who don’t mind letting the few corporations who sell Internet access in America decide what we get to see, hear and read on the Internet.

These senators are also hoping the resolution will appease the most paranoid among the Tea Party faithful, who equate any consumer safeguard put in place during the Obama era with myriad and shadowy government plots.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who pushed a similar measure through the House earlier this year,stoked these fears when she said, “the FCC is in essence building an Internet Iron Curtain that will restrict more of our freedom.”

Blackburn’s rhetoric puts her and other supporters of the resolution far outside of the mainstream of Americans, who believe that neither the government nor corporations should be able to censor lawful content online.

If Congress succeeds in passing this measure, it will go well beyond deciding whether the FCC’s recent rules are appropriate. The resolution will prohibit the agency from engaging in any effort to protect Internet freedom. The move opens the path for corporations eager to take a wrecking ball to the open architecture that has made the Internet a great equalizer for all users.

Lobbyists and lawyers working for the likes of AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have argued that these companies need to take control of your clicks in order to more efficiently–and profitably–manage the abundance of user-driven innovations online. They promise to be good stewards of this unruly medium if only regulators would take away the one network protection that ensures everyone’s right to connect with everyone else on the Internet.

That’s not what the Internet’s founders intended. They built the network to be free of gatekeepers, giving each user equal access to all the legal content and applications online.

These engineers couldn’t have envisioned that this open design would, in a relatively short time, evolve to make the network a potent political tool for freedom movements and democratic organizing worldwide.

But it has. Think of the explosion of Internet organizing and political expression that has swept the world in 2011, from Tunisia to Tehran to Beijing, and is now being embraced in America by protesters determined to Occupy Wall Street.

Americans cherish freedom of speech as much as people across North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. An open Internet allows all sides of contentious issues to be heard by anyone who chooses to listen. It opens up a global pipeline for protest movements, a window for millions to witness injustices and a platform upon which to organize for a better future.

So ask yourself this. Do you want Congress to surrender your right to choose online to a company whose sole motive is to generate as much profit as possible? Do you want to wipe away the only protection that prevents any entity–be it corporate or government–from blocking our right to connect with one another?

The hardliners in Congress who support this resolution have joined in a pact with powerful Internet providers and free-market extremists to kill off your most fundamental online right.

It’s now up to us users to use the open Internet to reclaim it.

Source taken from: Click Here to go to the original location I took this article from.

Princess’ Say: I’m a 50-50 on this. I know the importance of freedom of the usage of internet to allow us to expand our knowledge, think critically, know the politics and express our thoughts. However, I do feel that sometimes giving ‘us'(referring to citizens) too much of freedom may worsen the situation as there may be racial disagreements, and nation fights that may bring our country to a position we did not want to be in.

Conclusion, its good to control the information we access on the Internet, however, only in situations when the publicised content may trigger any types of riots or major disagreement/reaction that may lead to dreadful actions.

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Internet Blackspots

Some interesting information from Bryn Teesdale from Ogilvy on Internet Censorship. Hope you find this useful.

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The recent protesting in Egypt brought internet censorship firmly into the limelight. Reports from the country of internet access problems quickly circulated, suggesting that the government had a hand in the widespread take-down of social media sites and even a complete internet shut-down in many parts of the country.

However, its not just Egypt and their Middle-Eastern neighbours that have to deal with internet censorship. According to a recent report, many areas including USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Scandinavia and South America lack the internet freedom enjoyed by parts of Africa and Central America.

The report, undertaken by the OpenNet Initiative, should not be taken at face value, given that some of the ‘censorship’ in the Westernised countries prevents the illegal transfer of copyrighted material – but the findings still present an interesting comparison of global internet censorship.

The report may also surprise many inhabitants of countries like the US, where internet censorship is thought to be low.

The full graphic is below and more details can be found at Mashable here:http://mashable.com/2011/02/15/open-internet-infographic/

Source taken from: Click Here

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