Written by Mike Masnick
We’ve talked repeatedly of the blatant hypocrisy of many Western nations talking about the importance of internet freedom and condemning China (and others) for their internet censorship… while still wanting to censor at home. As we’ve warned, such efforts only give repressive regimes who censor the “cover” they need to continue. And, of course, with UK politicians looking to censor the internet to try to stop the riots, China has quickly used this as validation for its Great Firewall censorship:
Apparently the rioters used social media, like Twitter, Facebook and the Blackberry messenger system and Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday he’s looking at banning potential troublemakers from using the online services.
The British government, once an ardent advocate of absolute Internet freedom, has thus made a U-turn over its stance towards web-monitoring.
Communications tools such as Facebook and cellphones also played a delicate role in the massive social upheaval earlier this year in north Africa and neighboring west Asian countries, whose governments then imposed targeted censorship over message flows on the Internet.
In a speech delivered in Kuwait in February, the British prime minister, however, argued that freedom of expression should be respected “in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square.”
Learning a hard lesson from bitter experience, the British government eventually recognized that a balance needs to be struck between freedom and the monitoring of social media tools.
In other words, “look, the UK is doing the same thing we are.” You can argue how this is “different” all you want, and it won’t change a thing. Internet censorship like what’s being proposed in the UK only serves to make China more convinced that its own repressive censorship is the same sort of “balance.” The UK government has now completely lost any moral high ground in arguing against internet censorship.
Sourced from TechDirt
- Researchers Reinvent The Internet To Thwart Censorship (psfk.com)
- A New Way Around Internet Censorship? (revolutionwithoutborder.org)
- UK PM Advocates Censorship And The Cessation Of Free Speech… Of Course (underpaidgenius.com)
- Anonymity and social censorship in the UK riots (buzzmachine.com)
- Anonymity and social censorship in the UK riots (businessinsider.com)
- Arming the anti-censorship movement (theglobeandmail.com)
- British Prime Minister Does a 180 on Internet Censorship (eff.org)