Archive for the ‘technology and change’ Category

Don’t balkanize the internet!

October 24, 2007

Unscrupulous people are currently playing on ignorance, nationalism, and knee-jerk anti-American sentiment to take away free access to the net!

The internet’s backbone resides with an NGO that is gradually becoming more and more internationalized (gradual because the internet is too big and important now to risk sudden systemwide changes). The American government has never controlled the internet (though it has tried).

The world wide web was created mainly by academics to promote a truly free exchange of information *without regard to borders* for the first time in human history. They very consciously avoided creating any semblance of national borders on the net – for extremely good reason! As long as there were no borders there could be no easy censorship, and as a result, people all over our planet enjoyed what was for many their first truly free exchange of ideas and information. Its no coincidence that the first thing the Burmese Junta did when they began their violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators was to shut down the internet. It is not coincidence that approximately a quarter of our planet has shaken off dictatorships without firing a shot during the internet era. Free access to information has played an important role.

Recently this unprecedented and important wave of freedom is being threatened – legislated and blocked out of existence – made possible by the breaking up of the internet into little piddly national chunks that can be, for the first time, easily controlled and heavily censored by local governments. And of course, they have not been slow to take advantage of this new weakness

The result is the destruction of one of the greatest gifts ever given to mankind. If its allowed to succeed, it will be a tragedy unmatched in scope by anything except global warming.

Right now, people are being arrested and silenced, news stories – and, more importantly, blogs about stories no newsmen ever get near – are being squelched, irreplacable information is being flushed, and the struggle for human rights is taking a giant step backward. .

Do not support internet balkanization.
Fight national firewalls! circumvent them wherever possible. Do not use services that promote censorship or allow it on their affiliates in places that are at high risk.
Do not use internet addresses with “local” designations!
Do not support censorship!