September 16, 2005


Don't Let the GENI Out of the Bottle,1895,1855037,00.asp
By Sean Carton September 1, 2005

"Opinion: A new initiative, dubbed Global Environment for Networking Investigations, wants to build censorware into the Internet."

But what if the Internet changes? What if it becomes possible to control access to content at the infrastructure level? "What if," as Seth Finkelstein said in a retort to Gilmore's aphorism, "the censorship is in the router?" Up until now that really hasn't been the case. GAIN might change that and, by extension, might change the freedoms and anonymity that most know and love, even if sometimes while cringing at the consequences.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in press | on September 16, 2005 02:07 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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If there was censorship at the router in North America ...what content would be censored for what purpose and by whom ?

This would be important informationto provide a context to create meaning for this kind of asertion.

Posted by: Bob Turner at September 18, 2005 09:09 AM

There's a saying, "Everyone wants to censor something". Remember, it's not just sex - copyright is now a big driver of restrictions. There's various categories one could imagine. I something think that one more 9/11 type event could have us looking like China in terms of banning "terrorist" websites.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at September 19, 2005 01:58 PM

Hey lets face it, those in power want to stay in power and they will do whatever they think it will take. So if it is possible to censor at the router you can bet your bottom dollor that those that are in power will want to control the routers.

Posted by: Robert T Childers at September 19, 2005 07:33 PM

Seth and Robert

Illegal activities will always be censored by definition. Copyright (regardless of your position) is a matter of law. Terrorism most certainly is. There are arguments for
changing the perception (law) of copyright and also terrorism. One mans terrorist is an other mans “freedom fighter”. Personal point of view will probably have to yield to the rule of law (a local political consideration). Distributing an illegal product is do-able but you might get shut down (censored).

Can these reasons be the “right reasons” for doing the wrong thing . Absolutely !

Censorship is always about power. Filtering is no different. The parent who wishes
to filter the Internet for his child is using his “power” as head of the institution of family. The employer filtering the net is exerting his power over “employees”.

The government that filters it's citizens is using a similar power. Their reasons may or may not be benevolent in the long run or even in the short run.

The kids will grow up and and they may leave home and get their own unfiltered (free from parental power) computers, the employee is free to get another job perhaps free of censoreing interference.

The citizens are in a tougher situation. Good government would be the ideal. However that is a matter of opinion. Republicans may seem to think current government is “pretty good”. Democrats “hate it with a passion”. Some will think filtering the router is a good idea (usually rationalized as for security)...some will not.

The filtering debate has moved about 1 inch since it started (if that). The technology will always be inadequate. The technology will always get better. Filtering is in some sense like a gun or a largely depends upon what end you are on.

Most would think it is better to give than receive.

Posted by: Bob Turner at September 20, 2005 04:54 PM