Sunday, April 15, 2012

Give Me Blazing Broadband, Or Give Me, Give Me

Sergey Brin's Is The Right Stand

I once said there is a direct correlation between Sergey's parents having to flee Russia and Sergey's principled stand on China. Some of us are free speech bigots. I am one. Now I am extending that metaphor. Only now it's not about China, it is about America. And it is still about free speech.

A lot of people I admire in the tech industry wrongly frame the debate in that they suggest if only people on Capitol Hill knew, if only lobbyists did not have this much unfair power. I think more than that is at stake. The Internet turns the entire world into one country, and the nation state as we know it feels threatened. The Internet sends a clear message that Capitol Hill is not the center of the universe. The universe has no center. And that suggestion riles Galileo's enemies.

The Internet is a country. It is the new country. It is the newest country. I said this back in 1999 when I was with my first serious startup while at college. America is Europe. The Internet is America now.

Tim Berners-Lee: The Internet Is Not A Country

Although I'd not put China, Saudi Arabia and Iran in the same category as Facebook and Apple. Facebook's "walled garden" exists because people choose to keep many things private on there. Although I would argue services like Google should have ready access to stuff people publicly share on there, as well on Twitter. API level success, don't need nobody's permission kind of access. Immediate access. Apple's iPhone apps go away when HTML5 and wireless broadband become mainstream just like desktop apps have given way to the cloud. Although one can argue there has got to be a better way to search though the hundreds of thousands of smartphone apps.

The Guardian: Web freedom faces greatest threat ever, warns Google's Sergey Brin
the threat to the freedom of the internet came from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry attempting to crack down on piracy, and the rise of "restrictive" so-called walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly controlled what software could be released on their platforms. ..... he was most concerned by the efforts of countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and Iran to censor and restrict use of the internet ...... the intensifying battle for control of the internet that is being fought across the globe between governments, companies, military strategists, activists and hackers ....... From Hollywood's attempts to push through legislation allowing pirate websites to be shut down, to the British government's plans to monitor social media and web use, the ethos of openness championed by the pioneers of the internet and worldwide web is being challenged on a number of fronts. ....... In China, which now has more internet users than any other country in the world, the government recently introduced new "real identity" rules in a bid to tame the boisterous micro-blogging scene. In Russia there are powerful calls to rein in a blogosphere that was blamed for fomenting a wave of anti-Putin protests. It has been reported that Iran is planning to introduce a sealed "national internet" from this summer. ........ Ricken Patel, co-founder of Avaaz, the 14 million-strong online activist network which has been providing communication equipment and training to Syrian activists, echoed Brin's warning, saying: "We've seen a massive attack on the freedom of the web. Governments are realising the power of this medium to organise people and they are trying to clamp down across the world, not just in places like China and North Korea; we're seeing bills in the United States, in Italy, all across the world." ...... Brin said he was not surprised by the effectiveness with which China had so far managed to create a technological barrier against the outside world. "I'm more surprised by the acceptance," he said. "I had imagined people would be more rebellious." ........ it would be hugely difficult for any government to defend its online "territory". ........ He reserved his harshest words for the entertainment industry, which he said was "shooting itself in the foot, or maybe worse than in the foot" by lobbying for legislation to block sites offering pirate material. ...... the Sopa and Pipa bills championed by Hollywood and the music industry would have led to the US using the same technology and approach it criticised China and Iran for using. ...... "I haven't tried it for many years but when you go on a pirate website, you choose what you like, it downloads to the device of your choice and it will just work – and then when you have to jump through all these hoops [to buy legitimate content], the walls created are disincentives for people to buy"

CNet: Google's Sergey Brin: Facebook and Apple a threat to Internet freedom

Al Zazeera: The UK government's war on internet freedom
Despite declaring early on in his term that internet freedom should be respected "in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square", his government is now considering a series of laws that would dramatically restrict online privacy and freedom of speech. ...... would allow the government to monitor every email, text message and phone call flowing throughout the country. Internet service providers (ISPs) would be forced to install hardware that would give law enforcement real time, on-demand access to every internet user's IP address, email address books, when and to whom emails are sent and how frequently - as well as the same type of data for phone calls and text messages. ....... Because many popular services - like Google and Facebook - encrypt the transmission of user data, the government also would force social media sites and other online service providers to comply with any data request. ....... "In a terrorism investigation, the police will already have access to all the data they could want. This is about other investigations." The information gathered in this new programme would be available to local law enforcement for use in any investigation and would be available without any judicial oversight. ....... "A cross-party committee of MPs and peers has urged the government to consider introducing legislation that would force Google to censor its search results to block material that a court has found to be in breach of someone's privacy." ...... a Scottish oil company obtained a super-injunction against Greenpeace to keep photographs of the environmental group's protest off social media sites. Within hours, unaffiliated users posted hundreds of the pictures, effectively nullifying the order. If the recommendation by the MPs were followed, Google, Facebook and Twitter would have to proactively monitor and remove such results from their webpages. ........ Despite the enormous backlash over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US, the UK government is reportedly trying to broker a backroom deal between ISPs and content companies in which search engines would start "voluntarily" censoring sites accused of copyright infringement. The deal would force search engines to blacklist entire websites from search results merely upon an allegation of infringement, and artificially promote "approved" websites. ....... recently, one man was forced to pay 90,000 pounds (plus costs) because of two tweets that were seen by an estimated 65 people in England and Wales. ...... Britain is home to many of the companies exporting high tech surveillance equipment to authoritarian countries in the Middle East, where it is used to track journalists and democratic activists. The technology, which can be used to monitor a country's emails and phone calls, is similar to what the UK government will have to install to implement its own mass surveillance programme.

Fred Wilson: Life Liberty and Blazing Broadband
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