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Gabriel Tane

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Posted on Techdirt - 5 February 2011 @ 12:00pm

Gabriel Tane's Favorites Of The Week: Censorship At Home And Abroad

This week’s list of “favorite” posts of the week is handed off to Gabriel Tane

Friends! Countrymen! Techdirt-ians! Lend me your… eyes! It’s my turn to stroke my ego and pretend that anyone cares to hear what I have to say about issues. But, if you’re still reading (and keep on reading), then I’ll assume you’re at least interested. So, read on and thanks for your attention.

First up, we’ll start with a whole slew of related articles that show how the DHS/ICE domain seizures have some serious questions that need some answers. This week, we’ve seen stories that discuss what does the situation mean to our international relations. The question of jurisdiction has been batted around in the comments as a matter of technicality, but not a lot was said about how far-reaching of an effect this may have if other countries decide they don’t like how we seem to be rather bully-ish about how our laws are more important than others’. I don’t know the answer to that question, but since our actions so far have been to pull our plug out and thumb our noses, I don’t think I want to know the effect.

Further, we’ve seen where the technical understanding and legality have been called into question by more than just bloggers and interested lawyers. Now, have the questions been raised in such a way that will force the hand of DHS/ICE? Probably not; but the fact that so many people are raising their eyebrows about it means there is something going on that needs to be looked at. And it will, sooner than later I hope.

Second, I also got quite interested in the patent-vs-innovation article that was posted. It seems that the status-quo is being questioned even by those “inside” the system. In a very broad way, I wonder how long until actual common sense is going to win over the juggernaut of established bureaucracy. Hmm…

Third, I was very interested to hear about the situation in Egypt. Actually, I heard about it here first. I didn’t follow it completely and thoroughly, but I did have a face-palm moment at this story about the timing of American legislation that people said included an “internet kill switch.” I was worried about someone posting comments from a tin-foil fort about how Egypt was some kind of warning about what would happen if the US increased its censorship… and here comes the government showing how such a claim wouldn’t be too far of a stretch. sigh. At least China was worried about the implications.

Further on the face-palm front… I was glad to see the TSA getting a clue with new scanners that don’t show you naked, and realizing the people who write the paychecks are not happy with their actions — and not surprised to see them completely ignore the need for effective screening that actually does something other than justify a paycheck.

Fourth and finally, ain’t technology grand!? Seeing Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric discover the internet was fun. Now, much like the rest of you, I found this to be an amusing view on how technology has grown and how silly we see ourselves then, 20+ years later. I was, again like most of you, sadly not surprised when a major news corp followed this up by completely overreacting to the situation, firing the person responsible and, thus, creating the much-loved Streisand-effect. I wonder how long it’s going to take before the reality of the internet’s openness and, well, immortality sinks in to the people who think they can just wish information away.

There were so many fun stories this week, I know I didn’t get them all covered. I think I covered the ones that echo strongest with me: the fact that our government seems to want to censor what’s on the internet (arguably, at the beck and call of the entertainment industry) while another country (our ally?) faces some very serious consequences for that very action.

I think we’ve seen the start of a trend towards people wanting real answers to what’s going on. I know that as I read the comments from both sides (at least, those on either side that choose to provide data), I learn more and more about how these things do and should work. For that, I would like to take a purely-selfish moment and thank all the commenters — regulars, ACs, insiders and outsiders — for helping me broaden my knowledge about the world around me.

And, of course, I do so love to see how far technology has come in the last few years… and if anyone wants some authentic AOL coasters, let me know ;).

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