Thursday, January 12, 2006

All Governments Are Trying To Censor Or Control The Internet

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

All across the planet, governments are striving to trim the Internet's sails, to control or restrict what is written or posted in this biggest Agora on earth, the great Forum to end all Forums, the crossroads where everyone and anyone could exchange news or information or speculation or accusations.

From CNet:
Q: So what does the rewritten law now say?
The section as amended reads like this: "Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

Q: But that section is titled "Obscene or harassing telephone calls." Doesn't that mean only voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is now going to be covered by the law?

That's one interpretation. But that's not how Congress actually wrote the law, however, and precise wording matters.

Eye on Washington
Click here to find more columns by Declan McCullagh on the busy intersection between technology and politics.
If politicians wanted to limit the law to VoIP, they could have followed what they did in other bills and actually used the term. They could have also limited the "annoy" requirement to contacting an individual person.

But they didn't. The law instead covers any types of "communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet"--not just VoIP conversations. Also, it covers any person "who receives the communications" rather than a narrower definition that could have been written as "an individual intentionally targeted as the recipient of the communications."

At the very least, Congress has an obligation to clear things up and fix the ambiguities in this law.
There has been a lot of debate about the meaning of this bill but the main thing is, the courts get to decide and we have, thanks to the GOP, been getting a nastier and nastier court system bent on increasing corporate power and decreasing individual rights and privilages. So expect the worst.

The Internet has changed a lot over the years yet not changed all that much. Way back in 1989, people posted open lies about me on the budding internet. A computer expert at Lehigh University flagged me down and I did what one does in such a situation: posted the truth and let the audience decide for themselves. Since the facts at hand were all on my side, it was a simple matter. Of course, people have this psychotic need to cling to lies for whatever reasons, it isn't my problem.

During the nineties, we used the various news forums to discuss things. Early on, the media decided to pretend we didn't exist so they never read their own forums nor responded after a while to any of us so we basically took over and would often savage the news media on their own forums, pestering them mercilessly and slowly then quickly, they shut them down, one by one until virtually all were gone.

By then, we birds of a feather found new roosts in the blogger universe. This has made us 1,000 times stronger for now, with Google, we could dominate the search engines and spread information via a crazy quilt of interlocking blogs and we could press information the media was concealing, into public view. We broke or carried forward many important stories such as the Downing Street Memos or other government whistleblower leaks. When various governments tried to punish whistleblowers by savaging them in the regular press, we would marshal facts and information and connect the dots, destroying all that lovely propaganda and lies and vilification.

So of course, after trying to scare away the public with the ridiculous, "Bloggers have no morals (hahaha, whores whining about wives!)" they have joined up with the ruling elite to pass and endorse laws clipping our civil rights to be published and to be heard.

This law is one of many appearing all over the earth. I read today, this: From Australia Net News:
The Anti-Terrorism Bill passed through both houses of Parliament late last year, so treason and sedition laws, together with seven-year prison terms, are now part of the law of the land in this country.

When ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope made the first cut of this Bill public via his website, against the express wishes of the Prime Minister, I held his actions up as an outstanding example of e-democracy, illustrating how the web has given an enormous boost to democratic processes by enabling immediate and widespread public access to information critical to the public interest.

Had Stanhope not done it, the general public would have been locked out of the debate, civil liberties groups and law associations would not have been able to prepare submissions, and the Bill probably would not have been amended.

Australians probably didn't get much democracy for their money in the end, given the minimal parliamentary debate, lack of ticker on the part of Labor and the fact that so many proposed amendments were simply dismissed out of hand, but they got something.
Like here, the rulers didn't want long hearings, any feedback and certainly no on-line discussion before implimenting draconian laws allowing them to control content on the internet.

Right now, Bush and his evil minions are asserting they can spy on Americans at will and for whatever they want. Like with this group: From Kurt Nimmo:
As further evidence the Bushcons are not interested in snooping “al-Qaeda,” and in fact there is no “al-Qaeda” threat in America, consider revelations that the NSA snooped the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore, a Quaker peace group. “The National Security Agency has been spying on a Baltimore anti-war group, according to documents released during litigation, going so far as to document the inflating of protesters’ balloons, and intended to deploy units trained to detect weapons of mass destruction,” reports the Raw Story. “According to the documents, the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore, a Quaker-linked peace group, has been monitored by the NSA working with the Baltimore Intelligence Unit of the Baltimore City Police Department.” Of course, it is completely absurd that the NSA and the Baltimore police would actually believe a small group of Quakers have weapons of mass destruction, that is unless they believe the Bill of Rights is a weapon of mass destruction.
Those pesky Quakers, online or off, obviously piss off many rulers. Hitler tried to murder all of them and this murderous attitude still exists within the warmongering mad dogs in any empire.

Speaking of which, China has elisted American Corporate interests to harrass Chinese online. From Yahoo:
Microsoft Corp. has shut down the Internet journal of a Chinese blogger that discussed politically sensitive issues, including a recent strike at a Beijing newspaper.

The action came amid criticism by free-speech activists of foreign technology companies that help the communist government enforce censorship or silence dissent in order to be allowed into China's market.

Microsoft's Web log-hosting service shut down the blog at the Chinese government's request, said Brooke Richardson, group product manager with Microsoft's MSN online division at company headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
Tools of the rulers, Microsoft doesn't want freedom any more than they want competition. The only protection we all have, is ourselves. We, together, are a considerable mass of writing, talking, acting humanity and we are the mind and voice of the internet and shutting us up will kill the internet for people go here because this is where the discussions, the news, the truth resides and all rulers, naked, don't want little boys pointing this out, do they?

The older forms of media are our enemies. They hate our energy, our desire to know what is really going on behind the scenes, the secrecy whereby they know what is happening and can do as they will while we get to play catch-up, this is all spoiled by the free speech forum of the internet.

In the sixties, we shut down the University of California over the issue of free speech. The Free Speech Movement was a very strong and important one for us, we knew that all things democratic grow on the Free Speech Tree and without it, the tree dies and is a blasted ruin. Yet, the temptation to kill this tree, to kill the Goose which lays the Golden Eggs, is irresistible for the rulers.

Therefore, we have to fight on. I do note here that the bills in question often target ANONYMOUS writers. They have civil rights, according to the Constitution which was written by people who often published anonymously before and during the Revolution so they recognized its necessary subversity. This is why the present rulers want it strangled.

I use my real name. Of course, I can't get a job in corporate America because of my body of writing, I talk about verboten things and connect very verboten dots, but then, I am not expecting to get rich quick, anyway.

Stop the censorship!
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