internet freedom and revolutionary cries

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As I recently wrote about here, Google is calling for us to join them in the fight to keep the Internet open and free from government censorship and control. I think this is a worthy fight that needs to be taken to governments and corporations everywhere.

There is the caveat, however, that Google has too much monopolistic power over how information gets served and accessed on the net. This worry is expressed by this comment on the Reddit thread that will be the excerpted source of this article.

moarmango

I’m wondering the same thing, seeing as how Google is also heavily involved in archiving every click and query. They are a business too, with business ideals. Maybe they are the lesser of two evils. But are they really champions of open, free, and anonymous?

So while I laud Google’s fight for Internet freedom, we must keep in mind that Google’s power over search must also be carefully monitored, controlled and censored :)

White House tightening its grip on Internet freedoms

A draft of the White House’s cybersecurity executive order has been leaked, and many activists say the newest copy is even more vague than some of the earlier attempts for similar legislation and harsher as well. Trevor Timm…

Here is Google’s latest attempt to reach out to the public in support of their initiatives for Internet freedom.

Keep the Internet free and open

December 3, 2012
 

Starting in 1973, when my colleagues and I proposed the technology behind the Internet, we advocated for an open standard to connect computer networks together. This wasn’t merely philosophical; it was also practical.

Our protocols were designed to make the networks of the Internet non-proprietary and interoperable. They avoided “lock-in,” and allowed for contributions from many sources. This openness is why the Internet creates so much value today. Because it is borderless and belongs to everyone, it has brought unprecedented freedoms to billions of people worldwide: the freedom to create and innovate, to organize and influence, to speak and be heard.

But starting in a few hours, a closed-door meeting of the world’s governments is taking place in Dubai, and regulation of the Internet is on the agenda. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is convening a conference from December 3-14 to revise a decades-old treaty, in which only governments have a vote. Some proposals could allow governments to justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or even cut off Internet access in their countries.

You can read more about my concerns on CNN.com, but I am not alone. So far, more than 1,000 organizations from more than 160 countries have spoken up too, and they’re joined by hundreds of thousands of Internet users who are standing up for a free and open Internet. On an interactive map at freeandopenweb.com, you can see that people from all corners of the world have signed our petition, used the #freeandopen hashtag on social media, or created and uploaded videos to say how important these issues are.

If you agree and want to support a free and open Internet too, I invite you to join us by signing the petition at google.com/takeaction. Please make your voice heard and spread the word.

Posted by Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist

Labels: policy and issues

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I believe we should support Google in this effort, but the point of his post is to have some fun viewing the passionate rhetoric assault on freedom brings out of people. This selection is from this thread on Reddit concerning Google’s post.

nighthawk1961

I think it should be fairly obvious by now that Governments hate freedom. All Governments. These Governments especially hate the Internet. Governments like to cheat and break the rules, to put things in a simplified way. They hate it when we call them out for it. The Internet has given people, all over the World, much more freedom to do this. Before the Internet and Computers a Government would simply either outlaw or outright destroy a printing press if they didn’t what was printed. As for Radio and TV, draconian laws ere out into place to make sure the public didn’t get too “uppity” (a crude but effective word). Now, the Governments want to fix things so that freedom is massively curtailed or outright banned. Dissent will be especially stomped on. Hell, a lot of the discussions here on reddit might be banned. This is not good. Soon the days of free speech the Net will disappear.

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PhotonicDoctor

And when the masses have had enough. All people will outright murder on the spot the officials and will fight with the police and military and guess what? All those people will win unless government decides to drop a nuke on a city. But that would be even worse in the long run for a said country. Never underestimate what citizens will do once everything is being taken away from you. Chaos incarnate. How do you think regimes fall, Kings get removed from throne. There will be a tipping point. Besides, locking down an entire planet is kind of hard. And government should be afraid of its people and not other way around. There are the crazies out there who would rise up and demand better treatment and will knock out all economy and the rich and powerful will wind up in prisons themselves for law abuse and human right abuse. Or, we nuke each other into oblivion and it will be the end of a human race. As George Carlin said: “The Planet is fine and has been here for 4 billion years.” We on the other hand will cease to be, cease to exist, its all the same. These are critical times right now. We either go forward and become like a Star Trek Federation where we all work towards the benefit of an entire planet and all life forms or we nuke each other which may explain why no one has found us. Because distance is only a part of an equation. As stated in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale many civilizations kill themselves in the process assuming they survive a tech advancement and become more intelligent cautious, open minded. Ours might be political and economical based. Greed and power.

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CruftRemover 1 point ago

All people will outright murder on the spot the officials and will fight with the police and military

No, they won’t. I hate to burst your bubble but that’s not how it works. These things are almost always started by a small but determined group. Moreover, things frequently do not change because the bureaucracy remains in place. The police stay the same. The military stays the same. Then the whole cycle begins over again. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that people hate thinking for themselves or depending on themselves. If an oppressive government is in power but provides enough food and a bit of entertainment, people will put up with anything because they never have to think.

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moarmango

. . . If you took a snapshot of internet public well being I would say it’s something like:

Ideal>>>Google>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Govt/???

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goneforaburton

It’s entirely driven by protecting their business interests. If Google had any moralistic drive or sense of social responsibility they wouldn’t be part of the group of Internet multinationals that are making billions and paying a pittance in tax.

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collin482

I tend to think it’s less that they [the government] hate freedom on any kind of principle and more that they want money and power. Just like any other organized crime syndicate they want their piece of the pie. Any business going on anywhere and governments will try and weasel their way in. The Internet makes this more difficult. They’ve been trying to get their hands on it for a while now, the DMCA was their first major success and I wouldn’t be surprised of they had another soon.

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DangerousIdeas

Now you are just being irrational.

A government is made up of people. Whether its a dictator regime or its a democracy, its going to be people making decisions for other people.

The problem is NOT government. The problem is education. We have let ourselves create a society where we let rulers make laws, and we just mindlessly follow.

Who needs to care about laws when you can just play on your iPad, or go to the mall?

Just like we delegate medical tasks to doctors, building design to architects, etc, we have said that our elected leaders will make laws.

Now, we can be active members of that field by continually voicing our opinions in politics, or we can just standby and let them decide.

By the way, this “zomg taking my freedom” bullshit needs to stop. If you want order in society, you need to take back on freedoms, to the benefit of society.

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Dfnoboy

fuck that. this is something I would die for.

many feel the same. The internet is the next step in our evolution as a species, and I wont see it fucked up because of greed.

BrockLanders34

I think this is the battle they lose though. They will no doubt try to censor and suppress the Internet, and they probably will succeed to some degree but I think it is too big, to hard to control.

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danielravennest

It’s a story as old as civilization. On the whole, humans act in their own self interest. If they already have some money or power, they will act to hold on to or increase it, for themselves or their families and friends. If that means making people afraid (OMG our enemy is going to invade!) so as to maintain power, they will tell that story. If it means instilling a myth in the general population (“The Gods have chosen me to lead our people”, or, “we must act as the world’s policeman, lest terrible things happen”) they will do so.

Then there is that whole loop of taxing the populace to pay the soldiers who enforce the taxes. Try not paying a tax. Eventually someone with a gun will show up to take your property or force you to pay. Those are the soldiers, whatever title they may have. Without money to pay the soldiers, the ones supposedly in control would be speaking to themselves. So that is a point of weakness in their control.

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Foucault has begun to alter the way we view power.

‘His work marks a radical departure from previous modes of conceiving power and cannot be easily integrated with previous ideas, as power is diffuse rather than concentrated, embodied and enacted rather than possessed, discursive rather than purely coercive, and constitutes agents rather than being deployed by them’ (Gaventa 2003: 1)

Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Foucault challenges the idea that power is wielded by people or groups by way of ‘episodic’ or ‘sovereign’ acts of domination or coercion, seeing it instead as dispersed and pervasive. ‘Power is everywhere’ and ‘comes from everywhere’ so in this sense is neither an agency nor a structure (Foucault 1998: 63). Instead it is a kind of ‘metapower’ or ‘regime of truth’ that pervades society, and which is in constant flux and negotiation. Foucault uses the term ‘power/knowledge’ to signify that power is constituted through accepted forms of knowledge, scientific understanding and ‘truth’:

‘Truth is a thing of this world: it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint.  And it induces regular effects of power.  Each society has its regime of truth, its “general politics” of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true; the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements, the means by which each is sanctioned; the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of truth; the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true’ (Foucault, in Rabinow 1991).
http://www.powercube.net/other-forms-of-power/foucault-power-is-everywhere/

Rather than seeing power as concentrated in a specific group of people, such as the “wealthy” or “politicians”, we should be more concerned with educating ourselves to view what we believe to be real and true with an analytical and critical mind, and realize our place in the construct of power. That a citizenry be educated and engaged is never more important that in a free democracy.

That is why, when government couches policies and laws in euphemisms such as “The Patriot Act” or “Quantitative Easing”, we must educate ourselves as to the true import of what lies behind the rhetoric.

Google may control 60+% of Internet search, but it is our perception of Google as an institution that will “do no evil”, and how we embody our perceptions in political action that will ultimately allow us to fight tyranny and preserve freedom in a meaningful way.

 

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