Bloggies, bloggers, and internet filtering

15 Jan

A bit of a grab bag this. You’ll note I do have a position on the black comedy the Rudd government is into on the last of those three. Via the Arts & Letters Daily a few days back comes a broader treatment of the issue: Not Your Father’s Censorship by Harry Lewis.

While my father was in the Army during World War II, he sent my mother letters and photos from Belgium. Each document arrived with the censor’s approval stamp, certifying that no harm would come to our nation if those depictions of life at the front fell into enemy hands.

That was the censorship of another time. Everyone understood why it was important and knew that the government needed to control the communication channel from the war zone. But Americans also understood that wartime censorship was anomalous. Though the United States has a history of banning books, Americans generally don’t like having the government intercept their communications or decide what they are allowed to know.

Now, with almost everything digitized, new communication technologies have led to a global proliferation of censorship agents, methods, and rationales. Ironically for the American pioneers who expected the Internet to foster unprecedented information freedom, its rapid and ubiquitous adoption has created a flexible and effective mechanism for thought control.

Governments love and fear the Internet….

The Internet is different from publishing, in fact if not in theory. Were one publisher as dominant as Google or YouTube, its corporate judgments might have a very big impact on the free flow of ideas. And the DMCA protocol presents opportunities for the powerful to suppress speech by spurious invocation of copyright law. In the United States, the Internet is still the "most participatory form of mass speech yet developed," as a federal judge, Stewart R. Dalzell, wrote in overturning an early Internet-censorship law. For the Internet to remain so, more legislation will be needed to guarantee its openness.

Which brings me to the Bloggies.


For what it’s worth, or to satisfy your curiosity, do click on that and explore away. There is something more than a little parochial about a system that allows only two categories of “political blog” — “conservative” and “liberal”.  These awards are determined by vote, but the participating voters do tend to have rather predictable tastes. Check Best Australian or New Zealand blog, and Best Science Blog.

If you’re Right you’re right, right? Right on…

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Posted by on January 15, 2009 in blogging, other blogs, web stuff, www


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