Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Beginning of the End of the Free Internet . . . Unless . . .

As if considering ending "net neutrality" and proposing licensing people before they can have an website/blog/account where they can express their first amendment rights wasn't enough, the internet is now embroiled in a global "cyberwar" over the pressure being put on the organization "Wikileaks." Are they heroes or villains? Traitors or patriots of humanity? Terrorists or freedom fighters? Although only time will fully answer these questions, my concern is how the U.S. government (as well as others) and financial institutions are using this crisis to 1) consider and/or propose legislation to bring the internet under government control AND 2) punish an institution for what constitutes whistleblowing.

Yes, they may not be angels (although whether release of the information will compromise the United States or its allies remains to be seen) they are still the primary vehicle for people to anonymously pass on information that may prove governments complacent in murder, gratuitous espionage (on allies!), manipulation of facts, terrorism, and human rights abuses.

Jesse Ventura said (paraphrased) - I love my country, but I don't always love my government. I echo that sentiment.

If laws were broken, then go after the the lawbreakers. But once information is in the public domain, any attack on the "messenger" (e.g. Wikileaks in this case) will be seen as an attack on freedom of speech and the free internet.

As a result, the group "Anonymous" is now formulating Operation Avenge Assange under the broader Operation Payback that is an attack on financial institutions and other entities that are interfering with Wikileaks either by denying them services or dropping their financial relationship with them. That these same entities are also potential responsible for the horrible economic downturn that is shattering so many families and businesses may or may not be a coincidence.

If you remember from January 2008 , Anonymous is the collective organization of activists, hackers, and p.o.'d average citizens that attacked the Church of Scientology because they tried to claim a copyright infringement on the dissemination of a video showing Tom Cruise saying some pretty fanatical views about Scientology's worth in society. The result was numerous online exposes and protests at Church of Scientology locations that brought much unwanted attention to some of their questionable practices.

Since Anonymous is a collective of individuals with varying motives, scruples, and capabilities, their tactics have varied from the questionable to the noble to the just plain childish. However, they are overall simply an organization devoted to the protection of freedom of information especially having to do with internet access. Whether you agree with their tactics, you must agree that they are fighting for what all true patriots believe in . . . freedom of speech.

Documentary on Wikileaks -

Next a video from Anonymous explaining why they are supporting Wikileaks -

Finally, a video of Ron Paul defending Wikileaks on the Senate floor.

Whether you praise or criticize Wikileaks, please DON'T let anyone use this as an excuse to bring a free internet under government control.

The Meaning of WikiLeaks