The Internet Under Attack?
Posted on November 17th, 2011

So apparently yesterday was American Censorship Day and sites like Mozilla put a censorship bar across their logo to make a point of what potential pitfalls could come from Congress passing a bill that could create greater restrictions to the internet and thus give government the power over the internet and its users. I won’t go into too much detail about it as you can easily Google it yourself or follow the link image below to read more about it.
Ultimately, as a writer and freedom fighter of the internet, I felt the need to participate and share some of my thoughts here.

Overall, the outward plan is to prevent and stop piracy and illegal activity on the internet, but in truth it is way to contain and break the wild mustang that is the internet, penalizing anyone remotely associated with the rebel nature of the internet.

If anyone has followed any part of the ‘Occupy…’ movement, you know that the general idea (despite its lack of structure and cohesiveness) is that there is a small elite group that controls all, the 1% or “they that shall not be named”. Honestly, this is not breaking news or a recent development as history has shown that those with money and power make the rules, wrong or right. While I support the efforts of the ‘Occupy ‘movement, it is sort of all for not. Unfortunately, we live in a country where the rules have already been established and the players set. Corporations rule and control, whether they are good or bad and few know that their reach extends way beyond their sub-companies and affiliates. Trace back almost any government representative in power and you’ll see a tie, either directly or indirectly, to a major corporation. So while the goal of democratic government and our constitution is to be for the people, the real goal is self-preservation and continued growth in wealth. At first glance and in speaking with any ‘Occupy’ protestor, you’d say this was wrong, but in all honestly most of these things are perfectly legal and “right”. This type of system is definitely immoral, but totally acceptable in our democratic and capitalistic society. Why? Because it was made right by those in power, much in the same way Prince John was totally justified in taxing the crap out of everyone in Sherwood.

Now, we know from that story there was another side of the coin, Robin Hood. A rebel, thief, vigilante, and bandit, but he stood for something greater than the law. He STOLE from the rich and gave to the poor. Was he legally right to do so? Hell no, but it was the right and moral thing to do. Did Robin Hood probably have a few “merry men” who were probably less than merry and possibly more violent or extreme? Most likely. So where does that leave us today?

The internet is that rebel, the uncaged and untamed dragon that has shifted the balance since its creation. In a world of corporate greed and gluttony, the internet has been the great unstoppable force that has caused those in power to realize they are not gods after all. No longer can someone be threatened into silence or censorship without a backlash. If anything, the internet and social media have proven the more you try to hide something or stop it, the greater the volume and viral spread of that thing you’re trying to stop or hide.

Of course I know for all of the good and justice fighting power the internet has, it equally has powers of darkness and filth. Identity theft, online predators, cyberbullying, malicious hackers, etc. all give one reason to not worship the internet as Savior. Like I said, it’s an uncaged and untamed dragon. Despite that, I feel there have been real internet purists who have fought for the safety of those on the internet without infringing on personal freedoms. This brings me to the next group I personally favor, the good hackers and Robin Hoods of the internet. These are the people who find ways of getting things out to the masses that we all deserve, whether it be software or information. Some may debate this and I will agree that the lines of freedom and piracy blur quite a bit, but I personally feel that if I purchase something and own it, I should have a right to do with it as I see fit as long as I do not harm or infringe on the freedom of others. Whether it’s letting my X-Men, Batman, and Ninja Turtle action figures play together as a kid, “rooting” my cell phone to get rid of pre-installed software I have no use for, or downloading free software that does the same thing that another company wants me to pay $50 - $100 for, I should have that right. Like I said, the lines get blurry, but I think for all of the internet’s dark corners and seedy back alleys there is a true “checks and balances” system that exists to keep the rich and powerful (government) at bay.

Finally, I think this issue applies to me as a writer. Long before the internet, books and print media were the rebels of the world. Authors who challenged the system or defied the rules of the day found ways to get the word out and fight censorship. Whether it was the use of pen names or creating stories that symbolized society, government, or religion, these writers were rule breakers… and some even lawbreakers. Again the system tried to tell us all what we had the right to and what we could and could not read. Freedom was under attack. Unfortunately, the power to fight against it was limited to the extent of one’s immediate physical network or power as a print media source. Authors and writers could be silenced, books could be banned or burned, and newspapers could be shut down or sued. Now, the moment a site is asked to take something down, dozens if not hundreds of other sites and thousands of other users are prepared to repost the content, keeping it alive and running.

People say that soldiers fight for “our” freedom and that the founding fathers fought for freedom for “all”, but who is this freedom for, an elite few or for everyone? The internet isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but if there are those who can immorally acquire greater and greater amounts of wealth and power, sometimes at the cost of human life and our planet, then the internet must remain free to keep the world in check. The tides may never turn and honestly they’re not destined to, but the world must know that no one can have absolute power.

Posted in Life, Writing, World    Tagged with Freedom, Censorship


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