Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Support a free and open web

This video from Google urges people around the world to tell our governments that we support a free and open web. This really ought to be something the Left and the Right can unite on.

Says Google:
Starting December 3rd, the world's governments are meeting behind closed doors at the ITU to discuss the future of the Internet. Some governments want to use this meeting in Dubai to increase censorship and regulate the Internet.
As I said, this ought to something that the Left and the Right can unite on because the only people who will win from censoring the web are the forces of repression, and all points along the political spectrum depend on a free and open web to express opinion, debate the issues of the day, and organise for democratic action: Elections, protests, and citizen campaigns for reform, for example. Sadly, some denizens of the ends of the spectrum only value freedom in the first person (my freedom) and oppose it in the second and third persons (your freedom, their freedom), and they simply cannot see that that freedom denied to one is freedom denied to all.

Beyond politics, there’s also a lot of money behind efforts to regulate the Internet, starting with the media conglomerates who want to be able to control what entertainment and news people can access, and to charge them for all access. We’re not just talking about protecting copyright, but more about stifling creativity and freedom of artistic expression.

Google, pretty much the biggest name on the Internet, obviously has a huge stake in this. I first saw this Google YouTube video on their Google+ platform, and now I’m sharing it on Google's Blogger platform. Some argue that Google itself is a threat to a free and open web. I disagree. Google, like Facebook, Twitter, and everything else, depends on a free and open web to exist, so their self-interest is also humanity’s self-interest. The solution to pretty much any question is to stand on the side of freedom—no matter who is standing beside you.

Google signs off their video description:
Tell the world's governments you support a free and open web at http://www.google.com/takeaction. Then spread the word with #freeandopen .
That truly is something that the Left and the Right should unite on—and they must.

Related: "Do not ask for whom the panopticon watches, it watches for thee" – Edited text of the presentation given at Kiwicon 2012 ("New Zealand's Hacker Con") by Tech Liberty co-founder, Thomas Beagle. Well worth a read!

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