Here Come The Censors:
Sen. Exon's Toxic Spill, and
Other Threats to the Online Environment
The Internet is the greatest free speech medium ever created. For this reason,
it is feared by those in power who would prefer a little more social control
and a little less freedom. Thus, we must all remain vigilant against all
their attempts to undermine Internet freedom, either in one heavy blow or
chipping it away in little pieces. Here are some resources to help you.
As of New Years 2012, it's now illegal
in Belarus to access any foreign website, presumably including this one. So welcome, any Belarusians reading this... and go
straight to jail, don't pass Go or collect 200 rubles!
It has been reported that the FBI has ordered
a US-based Web hosting company to allow the authorities in the United Kingdom to confiscate Web servers owned
by independent network IndyMedia. Facts are very scarce as to what
justification they had for this First Amendment violation which is akin to various repressive governments
confiscating the presses of politically-opposing newspapers. Updates
are in the Indymedia site.
Stuff "THEY" don't want you to see! Who are "they"? Anyone
who acts as a censor, anywhere in the world, to control the
dissemination of information they don't like. This page
contains links to various sites that are likely "censor bait."
In some repressive places, they might be able to put you in jail
for following these links. Do so at your own risk!
The Wiesenthal Center has
urged online providers to censor their content to eliminate "hate speech."
Some anti-censorship people are concerned at such bullying tactics from
a group that normally stands against tyranny. (And they're yet another
nonprofit that stupidly uses a .com domain as its primary Web address...)
The ACLU is one of the organizations
fighting attempts at Internet censorship. They may be politically-correct leftist
in some unsettling ways on some other issues, but on this issue they're on
the correct side!
The Center for Democracy and Technology gets involved
in some political battles involving Internet freedom.
Electronic Frontier Foundation -- A
well-established group supporting cyberspace freedom.
Electronic Privacy Information Center
The Nuremberg Files controversy -- Should this anti-abortion site that "names names" be protected, or does
it count as threats against the named persons which should be shut down legally?
Voter's Telecommunications Watch was an
important resource to track and oppose efforts to limit free speech in
cyberspace, but it's no longer active.
regarding the Exon bill to take away free speech rights on Internet,
is rather old by now, but its topic is still relevant as Congress grapples
with various Internet-censorship-related bills.
Censorship in Germany --
no longer limited to neo-Nazis or pornographers, the Germans are demanding
blockage of entire Internet providers' sites to stop the availability of
political sites they deem improper. XS4ALL,
a major Internet provider in the Netherlands, is the present target of
German authorities, due to a left-wing radical political e-zine there.
The power to tax is the power to destroy... so when a government monopoly provider has
control of all Internet connections in a country, they can stifle Internet freedom by imposing
a prohibitive tariff. That's apparently what happened in
Poland a while back... I'm not sure what came of it (there used to be a site about it, but
it's not up any more).
Go Censor Yourself!
Self-Censorship Programs and their Controversies
Looking to do-it-yourself censorship programs to "protect" your family,
your students, or your employees from "evil" on the net?
Read this article
for the "dark side" of these programs. (You might not be able to if you're
running such a program, since some of them have included sites critical
of them on their "ban list"!)
Peacefire, a teen anti-censorship
group, has had its site banned by CyberSitter for having the temerity to
criticize this program.
My own take on the CyberSitter deal.
Solid Oak Software, the
maker of CyberSitter.
How to get yourself banned!
Here's a public institution that actually accomplished the task of self-banning...
the Flesh Public Library (named after a benefactor named Mr. Flesh) in Ohio set up
its Web site at www.fleshpublic.lib.oh.us, but when its management tried to proudly
show it off to visitors, they found that their own censorware program blocked it due to
the "naughty" word "flesh". Rather than reconsider this censorship stupidity, they simply
changed their domain name to www.piqua.lib.oh.us.
This article shows the
ambivalent attitude to freedom that's ingrained in the culture of much of the world. The point
of the article is to decry American cultural imperialism and advocate that Europe set up its own
computer network that isn't US-centric like the Internet. The author validly criticizes some
U.S.-imposed oppression such as the insistence that foreign countries help in the enforcement
of overly-broad copyright laws, but goes on to opine that the more "European" network structure that he wants would
facilitate more government intervention, e.g., to enforce "hate-speech" laws, which is blocked
by the American imperialists now due to our obsessive insistence in adhering to a Constitution written
by dead white males. He thinks the distrust of government and the desire for absolute freedom of
speech is a perverse Americanism that should be suppressed.
This page was first created 02 Sep 1996, and was last modified 02 Jan 2012.
Copyright © 1995-2012 by Daniel R. Tobias. All rights reserved.