This has never happened before. I’ve been perusing The Financial Times for as long as I can remember, and not once have I ever read something that scared me. Or maybe not scared—struck fear in my heart. Until today.
Meanwhile, Reuters is the one place on the web I know I can find at least one article that makes me stop and say, “Fuck…no.” Actually, Reuters is kind of like the nasty older brother I never had, who would occasionally slap me in the face for laughing at the wrong part of the joke. Whenever I’m in a good mood, or maybe too good of a mood, I check myself by clicking on the Reuters bookmark. Mood = destroyed. The Associated Press is like that, too; in fact, the majority of bulk news cooperatives are nothing more than shit parades of disturbing information.
It is not surprising who is pushing for global regulation of the web: those fucked-up, backward, Stone Age psychopaths, i.e. China, Russia, and the entire Arab world, whose governments maintain a vice-like grip on their respective peoples by restricting access to information. See? I can make such a statement and put it on the web because I live in a free society. What scares the shit out of me, and should scare anyone who values the freedom of free speech, is that there are shadowy governmental entities that can and will make life-changing decisions while undercover of darkness and completely beyond the reach of the general public.
Do I believe the U.S. would ever allow this to happen? No, I don’t. But I do believe that eventually, they won’t be able to stop it. Admittedly, what I know about the nuts and bolts of internet communications would fit nicely in a small Ziploc baggie; about a dime bag’s worth. However, we should all be intimately familiar with how to use the technology, and aware of the implications of global regulation. This is something you should care about. Forget climate change and fiscal cliffs and all that other distracting shit; none of that will matter if our access to information is restricted.
Consider this. [From Wikipedia] Amnesty International notes that (The People’s Republic of) China “has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world.” The offences of which they are accused include communicating with groups abroad, signing online petitions, and calling for reform and an end to corruption. The escalation of the government’s effort to neutralize critical online opinion comes after a series of large anti-Japanese, anti-pollution, anti-corruption protests, and ethnic riots, many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages. The size of the Internet police is rumored at more than 30,000. Additionally, the apparatus of the P.R.C.’s internet repression is considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country in the world. The governmental authorities not only block website content but also monitor the Internet access of individuals.
The P.R.C. defends its right to censor the internet by claiming that the country has the right to govern the internet according to its own rules inside its borders. [Author’s note: This is absolutely true and just—they can do whatever the fuck they want.] The white paper, released in June 2010, called the internet “a crystallization of human wisdom.” But in the document the government lays out some of the reasons why its citizens cannot get access to all of that wisdom. It says it wants to curb the harmful effects of illegal information on state security, public interests and children.
Now, ask yourself, is this what you want for your children? Do you really want the Chinese to have a say in your access to information? Because that’s what’s going to happen if global regulation comes into effect.
My intention is not to motivate action. I’m not saying you should drop everything and fire off a letter to your Congressmen; first of all, they don’t read or care about what you think; nor am I calling for a million-mouse march on the Pentagon’s website. All I’m saying is that you should be aware of what’s going on, so that when it actually goes down, you’ll be prepared for the worst.