Internet Freedom Slipping

Internet Censorship Scenario in Europe
Internet Censorship Scenario in Europe (Photo credit:

This is very bad news indeed.

Much of the media in the United States is not to be trusted or not doing their job. And because of this the Internet while infested with danger is the new media that carries the weight of intellectual and significant thought and story telling.

The government and corporate power do not like a free internet. It is very sad indeed to see the United States with its claims of being a great free society establishing a truly incredible surveillance operation covering every aspect of the internet.

They have usurped Americans’ privacy with no penalty and little oversight.

But America is a great nation and we can hope the wheel turns round and that there will be change.

But the current crisis is important to business ethics for without an open internet, one avenue of corporate accountability is foreclosed. There are not enough counterweights to corporate wrong doing. Losing this one could be devastating.

James Pilant

Internet freedom in ‘global decline,’ report finds | Al Jazeera America

Internet freedom in countries around the world has declined sharply in the past year despite a pushback from activists that successfully blocked some governments’ repressive laws, according to a new report.

The study, by advocacy group Freedom House, looked at online trends in 60 countries, evaluating each nation them based on obstacles to access, limits to content and violations of user rights. It found that in 35 of the countries monitored, governments had expanded their legal and technical surveillance powers in regards to citizen’s online activities.

“Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content and growing arrests of social media users drove a worldwide decline in Internet freedom in the past year,” the authors of the report concluded.

Of the countries included in the research, Iceland came top in terms of giving its citizens the highest level of freedom. China, Cuba and Iran were listed as the most restrictive for a second consecutive year. The report noted that declines in online freedom in three democracies – Brazil, India and the United States – were “especially troubling”.

Revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have ignited a global debate about the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance activities, and the report says the changes in U.S. online …

(Please go to the site and read the whole article.)

via Internet freedom in ‘global decline,’ report finds | Al Jazeera America.

From around the web.

From the web site,

I participated today in a panel discussion at Voice of Russia London, on freedom of Web speech – the future of the Internet, possible restraints, what is and isn’t currently allowed. My angle was that on the unintended effects of censorship, based on research I have done in the last few years.

You may remember our ICCU (Internet Censorship and Civil Unrest) study, which I started with Antonio A. Casilli
during the summer 2011 English riots. We looked at the potential
effects on civil violence of restrictions to access to the Internet
–considered, though eventually not implemented, by the government.
Leaving aside issues of technical feasibility and legal and ethical
acceptability, would net censorship work? Would it stop the violence?

We show
that it wouldn’t. Its effect would be to interrupt coordination of both
unlawful agitation and community pacification efforts, if not even
policing: so neither “positive” nor “negative” social influences, so to
speak, would display their effects. Censorship doesn’t reduce the level of violence, but changes its pattern.
Specifically, it generates a steadily high level of violence, while its
absence produces only “picks” of violence, with periods of social peace
between them.

We conclude that Internet censorship is
ineffective and inefficient: its social cost (in terms of giving up
freedom of speech) is too high for such meagre results.

George Orwell Would Laugh

George Orwell Would Laugh

NSA surveillance goes beyond Orwell’s imagination – Alan Rusbridger

Guardian editor says depth of NSA surveillance programs greatly exceed anything the 1984 author could have imagined

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....
The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The potential of the surveillance state goes way beyond anything in George Orwell‘s 1984, Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian‘s editor-in-chief, told an audience in New York on Monday.

Speaking in the wake of a series of revelations in the Guardian about the extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations, Rusbridger said: “Orwell could never have imagined anything as complete as this, this concept of scooping up everything all the time.

“This is something potentially astonishing about how life could be lived and the limitations on human freedom,” he said.

Rusbridger said the NSA stories were “clearly” not a story about totalitarianism, but that an infrastructure had been created that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands.

“Obama is a nice guy. David Cameron is a nice social Democrat. About three hours from London in Greece there are some very nasty political parties. What there is is the infrastructure for total surveillance. In history, all the precedents are unhappy,” said Rusbridger, speaking at the Advertising Week conference.

I heartily share Alan Rubbridger’s concern about later governments. The possibilities for abuse are so incredible that it is difficult to wrap your mind around them.

But what about Business Ethics? What are the implications there?

The government is tracking all financial transactions, so they know who invests, in what and for how much in any and every American business. That’s power. Since they monitor all e-mails, they have every kind of inside information including promotion and firing decisions. They can do something no government has been able to do before: understand the inner workings of a corporation in detail and in real time. Since corporations have incredible power, this check to that power’s implications are hard to measure. But we could be on the edge of an era in which government management of data enables corporations both domestic and foreign to be brought to heel.

Of course, they know enough personal information to blackmail millions, discredit millions more and by implication of knowing silence tens of millions of others. I find these implications disturbing.

It may be that Obama will not abuse this power but where is the guarantee for those who will come in the future?

James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, Tech Crunch.

From July 3rd, 2013.

A number of high-profile websites will be taking part in an online protest tomorrow against the National Security Agency (NSA)’s surveillance of online activity and phone calls. The protest is organized by non-profit organization Fight for the Future, and will see participation from thousands of sites, including, Namecheap, Reddit, 4chan, Mozilla, Fark, TOR, Cheezburger, Demand Progress, MoveOn, and EFF, among others.

However, none of the tech companies – like Facebook or Google – whose cooperation with the NSA was outed in the PRISM reveal will be involved in tomorrow’s events.

From the web site,


Enhanced by Zemanta