Just As US Gov't Was Giving Back The Blog It Illegally Censored For Over A Year, Hillary Clinton Speaks Out Against Internet Censorship
from the left-hand,-right-hand? dept
At nearly the exact time that Dajaz1 was getting its domain back, after the US government wrongly censored its domain for over a year with absolutely nothing resembling due process (and actively stifling attempts by the site to get its day in court and get its domain back), US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was giving a speech in Europe about the evils of internet censorship.
This is an urgent task. It is most urgent, of course, for those around the world whose words are now censored, who are imprisoned because of what they or others have written online, who are blocked from accessing entire categories of internet content, or who are being tracked by governments seeking to keep them from connecting with one another.
Of course, we don’t even have to look “around the world.” We can just look right here at home in the US, where ICE and the Justice Department seem to have no problem doing the same thing. Or we can look to SOPA and PIPA and their plan to expand the ability to censor the web in the US.
In Syria, a blogger named Anas Maarawi was arrested on July 1st after demanding that President Asad leave. He?s not been charged with anything, but he remains in detention. In both Syria and Iran, many other online activists ? actually too many to name ? have been detained, imprisoned, beaten, and even killed for expressing their views and organizing their fellow citizens. And perhaps the most well known blogger in Russia, Alexei Navalny, was sentenced on Tuesday to 15 days in jail after he took part in protests over the Russian elections.
In America, a blog named Dajaz1, was seized last November after posting music sent to it by various copyright holders for the purpose of promotion. It was never brought up under forfeiture rules, but the domain remained in detention… Now, clearly, having a site seized is not in the same category as being “detained, imprisoned, beaten or even killed” but if we’re against censorship abroad, it seems pretty crazy to be ignoring it when it happens at home.
It seems like the State Department should issue a message calling out ICE and DOJ for doing the exact same thing Clinton is complaining about in other countries.
But when ideas are blocked, information deleted, conversations stifled, and people constrained in their choices, the internet is diminished for all of us. What we do today to preserve fundamental freedoms online will have a profound effect on the next generation of users. More than two billion people are now connected to the internet, but in the next 20 years, that number will more than double. And we are quickly approaching the day when more than a billion people are using the internet in repressive countries. The pledges we make and the actions we take today can help us determine whether that number grows or shrinks, or whether the meaning of being on the internet is totally distorted.
Well, given the blatant wrongful censorship of Dajaz1, do we include the 245 million or so online Americans in the count of the number of people using the internet in repressive countries? I certainly want to believe that we’re not a repressive country, but with a story that horrifying…
So right now, in various international forums, some countries are working to change how the internet is governed. They want to replace the current multi-stakeholder approach, which includes governments, the private sector, and citizens, and supports the free flow of information, in a single global network.
Not just in international forums….
The United States wants the internet to remain a space where economic, political, and social exchanges flourish. To do that, we need to protect people who exercise their rights online…
Unless you promote hip hop music. Then, too bad.
… and we also need to protect the internet itself from plans that would undermine its fundamental characteristics.
Unless it means protecting campaign donations from Hollywood. Then we can change the fundamental characteristics of the internet with a snap.
Our government (inaudible) will continue to work very hard to get around every barrier that repressive governments put up.
But will it still censor at will at home?
Honestly, it’s tough to see how Hillary and the State Department can legitimately support SOPA and PIPA after that speech and the evidence of direct US censorship.