Sunday, October 3, 2010

Internet disconnect laws increasing'

We often operate under the illusion that the Internet is this wonderfully unrestricted egalitarian means of communication. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Increasingly, governments and their agencies are putting restrictions in place to govern how we may use the Internet. In China the communist government simply shuts down access to various websites it deems as being too liberal or whatever. Western governments monitor every bit that travels through cyberspace and flag you for the most innocent reasons. It’s an ego rush to think that there’s some poor intelligence analyst sitting in one of those seven underground stories at the CSIS building in Ottawa reading this now. NOT!  (Using those four letters though "cee-ess-eye-ess" probably would cause a flag.  :-)

On the commercial side, Internet service providers are imposing caps on how much material you can download unless you pay premium fees. They’re also tracking your every move on the Internet and working with government, they’re putting new rules in place that will seriously affect our access to the Internet unless we play by government and corporate rules.

Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, is warning of the "blight" of new laws being introduced across the globe allowing people to be cut off from the Internet. One example is a French law that comes into effect this year that threatens to cut people off if they illegally download from the Internet, and a new British law passed in April which could see similar action. "If a French family can be forcibly disconnected from the Internet by law for a year because one of their children downloaded something that some company asserts that they should not have downloaded, without trial -- I think that's a kind of inappropriate punishment," Berners-Lee said.

Dr. Berners-Lee says the US Senate is also considering a bill that would have the government create a blacklist of Internet sites that US ISPs would be required to block.

Big Brother is not just a TV show.

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