Sunday, 24 February 2008


I've been talking about Internet censorship in a few places over the last few days and here it is again - this time it looks as though Pakistan managed to pull YouTube over for an hour.

Pakistan's attempts to block access to YouTube has been blamed for an almost global blackout of the video website for more than an hour on Sunday From BBC
I think there are some real issues in amongst all of this. I live in a tolerant, Western democracy with few restrictions on what I can say, see or do yet an engineer somewhere on the other side of the world restricted my access to something while working on blocking a web site from the inhabitants of a specific country. Of course this isn't the first time such a thing has happened and the US, Canada, Algeria and others censor Al Jazeera. The news agency's web site is frequently targeted by lone hackers and political meddling.

Rheingold finishes "Virtual Communities" with this paragrah
If electronic democracy is to succeed, however, in the face of all the obstacles, activists must do more than avoid mistakes. Those who would use computer networks as political tools must go forward and actively apply their theories to more and different kinds of communities. If there is a last good hope, a bulwark against the hyper-reality of Baudrillard or Forster, it will come from a new way of looking at technology. Instead of falling under the spell of a sales pitch, or rejecting new technologies as instruments of illusion, we need to look closely at new technologies and ask how they can help build stronger, more humane communities--and ask how they might be obstacles to that goal. The late 1990s may eventually be seen in retrospect as a narrow window of historical opportunity, when people either acted or failed to act effectively to regain control over communications technologies. Armed with knowledge, guided by a clear, human-centered vision, governed by a commitment to civil discourse, we the citizens hold the key levers at a pivotal time. What happens next is largely up to us. -
I think that we, the citizens, must keep a close eye on what governments around the world are doing to try to curb our Internet access "for our own good"

0 careful considerations: