Information still wants to be free
Corante - Boston,MA,USA
By Rolf Kleef
Amnesty International started their "Irrepresible.Info" campaign, including a
call to help circumvent censorship and filtering by adding controversial content
to your own website or blog. You might then want to add your blog to the CiviBlog aggregator, an initiative of the
CitizenLab in Toronto, Canada. It includes a concise handbook
for bloggers and cyber-dissidents from Reporters Sans Frontiers, with tips and resources
on for instance anonymous blogging.
It reminded me a bit of the work of contrast.org in The Netherlands, from around a
decade ago. Back then, it wasn't so much about censorship by the usual suspects,
like China, Iran, or North Korea, but it was about governments such as Germany,
trying to stop publication of the "Handbook of Communication Guerilla", or
Spain wanting to ban the Euskal
Herria Journal. It took the legislators and Deutsche Bahn almost a decade to
finally get to the person who put a copy of Radikal online in The
Netherlands, and people (for the first time?) walked in a demonstration with a
banner holding just a web address (obviously before we all became concerned with
easier URLs for our campaigns).
Contrast set out to offer "political asylum" to web content, in a world where
the sources would be under attack. By now, it seems clear that it is ...
hard to take the sources offline. So, the focus shifts toward the users of the
information, making it harder to find or access the information. I wonder how
long that will work in the world of "Web 2.0", where we might try to
find general information through a search engine, but try to
connect through blogs and social networking sites, to get to
real information we trust.
The genes of the internet are encoded with a will to get the data from the
sender to the receiver, regardless of barriers. Nature or nurture, will it be
possible to "tame" the Net, or have we devised a technology to allign with our
own desire to freely communicate with each other?