April 12, 2005

Censorware Is About Controlling People Not "Filtering", Again

My DMCA opponent David Burt (censorware activist / PR flack ) makes a telling point in a quote in the following newspaper article (annoying registration required) "Snuffing out Net's benefit to democracy":

David Burt, a spokesman for Secure Computing, said the company sells "neutral technology," that customers can use as they see fit. SmartFilter allows a customer to block Web sites in 62 different categories, including religion and ideology.

A company trying to keep employees from spending hours shopping on eBay or reading online newspapers can use SmartFilter and other software programs to block access to those sites. But a censor in Iran or Uzbekistan can do the same to keep the population in the dark.

"We sell to ISPs [Internet Service Providers] all over the world. It's up to them how they employ the technologies," Mr. Burt said.

He said it, not me. Censorware is about controlling people, not "filtering".

To repeat myself: If it works for employers to controls employees, it works for governments to control their citizens. And conversely, if it cannot work for governments to control their citizens, because "The Net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it" (but "What if censorship is in the router?"), then it cannot work for employers to controls employees. Pick one.

Don't reply: "In my personal value system, I think employers have the right to control employees, while governments do not have the right to control citizens". That wasn't the question. It's an issue of architectural implications.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on April 12, 2005 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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In my personal value system, I think employers have the...

Oh wait.

Posted by: Bill Godfrey at April 13, 2005 08:07 AM