War against the internet
The war against the internet refers to the efforts of various powermongers to diminish the democratizing effects of the internet by imposing regulations and technical obstacles in the path of those who are less politically powerful.
Ideally, the internet makes it impossible to suppress politically damaging news and other "controversial" information, since any individual can ultimately spread the word to an arbitrary number of others, instantly, at essentially no cost.
Although it was clear as early as the mid-1990s that the internet, because of this symmetricality and lack of centralized control, represented a grave threat to established power structures, the powermongers were initially slow to realize (or, at least, to act on) the extent of the threat.
It was only in the mid-to-late 200Xs, as internet usage became more ubiquitous and people came to depend upon it for information and daily tasks -- and less upon the more centralized and hierarchical traditional news sources -- that telecommunications companies began looking for ways to restrict "talkback" from non-privileged users and eventually to seek legislative retribution against dissenters and those whom they wished to "make examples of" (such as "media pirates").
- wikipedia:Scientology versus the Internet describes successful and often non-obvious tactics used to close down open discussion (in this case, by advocates of Scientology)
- PeaceFire is a dual-purposed site:
- shows how site-blocking software "for the protection of children" is subject to abuse as a device for censorship
- provides practical tips for circumventing such software
- Megaphone desktop tool allows individual users to "slave" their voting and posting to a central server, so that votes and posts are made on their behalf without exposing the users to the actual arguments under discussion. While participation is entirely voluntary, use of this tool (especially given that it does not offer users the choice of whether to take action in each case, much less which action to take) violates the "citizen participation" spirit of the internet.
- 2010-12-20 [Talk|Index] The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time § “The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality. The bad news is that draft regulations written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski don't do that at all. They're worse than nothing.”
- 2010-12-17 [Talk|Index] Governments shouldn’t have a monopoly on Internet governance § “...last week the UN Committee on Science and Technology announced that only governments would be able to sit on a working group set up to examine improvements to the IGF – one of the Internet's most important discussion forums.” The author has signed, on Google's behalf, an online petition condemning this.
- 2010-07-21 [Talk|Index] Google Tells FTC Enforcing "Hot News" Would Create a Hot Mess § “The draft document includes proposed changes to intellectual property laws to protect news entities from aggregators (such as Google News), a loosening of anti-trust laws to allow media outlets to collaborate on paywalls and other methods of charging for the news, as well as a proposal for government subsidization of the industry.”
- 2010-04-06 [Talk|Index] US Court Rules Against FCC on 'Net Neutrality' § “A federal appeals court has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks.”
- 2010-03-27 [Talk|Index] The war on WikiLeaks and why it matters § “A newly leaked CIA report prepared earlier this month (.pdf) analyzes how the U.S. Government can best manipulate public opinion in Germany and France -- in order to ensure that those countries continue to fight in Afghanistan.”
- 2010-03-24 [Talk|Index] ACTA Draft: No Internet for Copyright Scofflaws § “The United States is nudging the international community to develop protocols to suspend the internet connections of customers caught downloading copyrighted works, according to a leaked draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.”
- 2010-01-15 [Talk|Index] Obama confidant's spine-chilling proposal § “In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent" advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites -- as well as other activist groups -- which advocate views that Sunstein deems "false conspiracy theories" about the Government.”
- 2009-11-20 [Talk|Index] Britain's new Internet law -- as bad as everyone's been saying, and worse. Much, much worse. § “Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he's planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of.”
- 2009-11-18 [Talk|Index] How we discovered Verizon's Spamdetector could be twisted into a disguise for censorship! § “According to the laws of Verizon Central, once you've been labeled spam, there is only one course of action and it goes like this:...”
- 2009-09-29 [Talk|Index] Hanging citizen journalists out to dry - shield-law amendment excludes unpaid bloggers § The Free Flow of Information Act is intended to prevent journalists from being forced to divulge confidential sources, except in cases such as witnessing crimes or acts of terrorism -- but specifically excludes citizen journalists (aka bloggers) from being considered as "journalists", and would enshrine this definition in federal law.
- 2009-04-25 [Talk|Index] Pirate Bay case: Internet group attacks websites in "Operation Baylout" § “Anonymous, the loosely defined online activist group most known for organizing mass protests against the Church of Scientology, has begun a campaign against the websites of entities associated with the prosecution in the Pirate Bay Trial...”
- 2009-04-14 [Talk|Index] Cybersecurity Act would give president power to 'shut down' Internet § “A recently proposed but little-noticed Senate bill would allow the federal government to shut down the Internet in times of declared emergency, and enables unprecedented federal oversight of private network administration.”
- 2009-03-28 [Talk|Index] Canadians find vast computer spy network § “Canadian researchers have uncovered a vast electronic spying operation that infiltrated computers and stole documents from government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama...”
- 2009-03-17 [Talk|Index] Australian Government adds Wikileaks to banned website list § “The Australian communications regulator has issued a stark warning that websites who link out to 'banned' hyperlinks are liable to fine of up to Aus $11,000 a day.” This list now includes WikiLeaks, a site crucial in the fight against abuses of power.
- 2009-02-16 [Talk|Index] Join New Zealand Internet blackout protest against insane copyright law § “Reason didn't work and the Parliamentary process failed, which is why we in New Zealand now have arguably the world's harshest copyright enforcement law.”
- 2008-11-19 [Talk|Index] Iran blocks access to more than five million websites § “Iran has blocked access to more than five million internet sites, whose content is mostly perceived as immoral and anti-social, a judiciary official was has said.”
- 2008-07-03 [Talk|Index] Google must divulge YouTube log § “Google must divulge the viewing habits of every user who has ever watched any video on YouTube, a US court has ruled. .. The ruling comes as part of Google's legal battle with Viacom over allegations of copyright infringement. .. Digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the ruling a "set-back to privacy rights". .. The viewing log, which will be handed to Viacom, contains the log-in ID of users, the computer IP address (online identifier) and video clip details. .. While the legal battle between the two firms is being contested in the US, it is thought the ruling will apply to YouTube users and their viewing habits everywhere. Viacom, which owns MTV and Paramount Pictures, has alleged that YouTube is guilty of massive copyright infringement.”
- 2008-07-03 [Talk|Index] Bloggers And Blasphemy: Iran May Update An Outdated – And Outrageous – Law § “Nearly 55 years have elapsed since an American was executed for a crime that did not involve murder. However, just yesterday, the Iranian parliament opened debate on a bill mandating .. capital punishment for the crime of blogging about apostasy. ... Under Iranian law, rape, armed robbery and apostasy (the leaving of one's religion) are already punishable by death. However, if this new law passes, the act of using the internet to promote apostasy will also become a capital offense.”
- 2008-05-09 [Talk|Index] Report Pushes Passage Of Thought Crimes Bill § 2=“The Internet is now becoming a new front in the phony terror war. Legislation like the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 that is in the forms of HR 1955 and S 1959 which seek to give the government powers to define thoughts and belief systems as homegrown terrorism, is on the brink of being pushed down our throats. HR 1955 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 404-6 and now it appears as if the U.S. Senate is attempting to justify its future passage. ... First off, the threat of terrorist operated Internet sites is a complete fraud. IntelCenter, a CIA front group which supposedly finds all of these Al-Qaeda terrorist video and audio tapes on the Internet, never provides the source of where they obtain the terrorist propaganda. If these materials were real terrorist propaganda and they didnâ€™t want to reveal the source, why have we not seen warrants served, the web servers seized and people questioned? Why is it that the terrorist video and audio tapes that are released by this so called terrorist organization always seems to indirectly help the Bush administration? ... Al-Qaeda is a massive psychological warfare operation designed to make the American people believe that the war on terror is actually real.”
- 2008-04-23 [Talk|Index] More Internet content blacklisted in Europe § “The European Ministers of Justice and Internal Affairs have agreed to make publishing bomb-making instructions on the Internet a crime. The French authorities are discussing making the publication on the Internet of any alleged pro-anorexia information a crime.”
- 2008-04-09 [Talk|Index] How the iPhone is killing the 'Net § “Zittrain argues that todayâ€™s Internet appliances such as the iPhone and Xbox hamper innovation. Thatâ€™s because these locked-down devices prohibit the kind of tinkering by end users that made PCs and the Internet such a force of economic, political and artistic change.”
- 2008-03-12 [Talk|Index] Why We're Powerless To Resist Grazing On Endless Web Data § (alt) by Lee Gomes “What is it about a Web site that might make it literally irresistible? Clues are offered by research conducted by Irving Biederman, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California, who is interested in the evolutionary and biological basis of the human need for information. ... In other words, coming across what Dr. Biederman calls new and richly interpretable information triggers a chemical reaction that makes us feel good, which in turn causes us to seek out even more of it. The reverse is true as well: We want to avoid not getting those hits because, for one, we are so averse to boredom.” In other words, the internet is a drug and we're all addicted. Obviously we need another war to stop this insidious threat to our nation's morals. (Is this a trial-balloon to see how well this meme propagates? Or just harmless scientific hypothesizing? See if it pops up again elsewhere, in different forms...)
- 2008-03-11 [Talk|Index] GoDaddy Silences Police-Watchdog Site RateMyCop.com § “A new web service that lets users rate and comment on the uniformed police officers in their community is scrambling to restore service Tuesday, after hosting company GoDaddy unceremonious[ly] pulled the plug on the site in the wake of outrage from criticism-leery cops.”
- 2007-10-27 [Talk|Index] FOX News Labels Dissent As Anarchy § “As I continued to watch, the anchors mentioned the anti-war protester who confronted Condoleezza Rice and they went on to call these people/movements anarchists and fascists in a new and different form. They further commented on the internet as being a hot-bed of dissent and contributing to this very serious, growing problem in America.”
- 2006-09-23 [Talk|Index] Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat § “A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.” ... “It also examines how the Internet has helped spread jihadist ideology, and how cyberspace has become a haven for terrorist operatives who no longer have geographical refuges in countries like Afghanistan.”
- 2005-10-09 [Talk|Index] The World Wide Web (of Bureaucrats?) § “The Internet's long run as a global cyberzone of freedom--where governments take a "hands off" approach--is in jeopardy. Preparing for next month's U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society (or WSIS) in Tunisia, the European Union and others are moving aggressively to set the stage for an as-yet unspecified U.N. body to assert control over Internet operations and policies now largely under the purview of the U.S. In recent meetings, for an example, an EU spokesman asserted that no single country should have final authority over this "global resource."”
- 2005-07-16 [Talk|Index] How Comcast Censors Political Content § “We didn't know it, but for the past week, anyone using Comcast has been unable to receive any Email with "www.afterdowningstreet.org" in the body of the Email. That has included every Email from me, since that was in my signature at the bottom of every Email I sent. And it included any Email linking people to any information about the upcoming events.”