|By Alan Hall, originally published in the June 2011 Socionomist|
The U.S. Congress continues its campaign to control the Internet. The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (“PROTECT IP Act”) threatens “domain seizures, ISP blockades, search engine censorship, and cutting funding of allegedly copyright infringing websites,” taking Internet censorship to the next level.3
In the U.K., the conflict is evident in a pitched battle between privacy legislation advocates and those who support Internet freedoms. “Super-injunctions” are legal gag orders that prohibit the British press from reporting details of secret information or even the existence of the injunction. “Hyper-injunctions” go a step further and prohibit divulging information to journalists, lawyers or members of Parliament. But try getting Twitter and Facebook users to play along:
The internet backlash against super-injunctions continued to grow yesterday as the identities of celebrities who are said to have taken out gagging orders were revealed on Facebook.4
Amid calls for Parliament to develop stronger privacy laws, anti-authoritarian sentiment is plain to see:
One [Facebook] poster said it was “wrong” that wealthy celebrities were allowed to use Britain’s courts to hide details of their private lives. He said, “It is awesome that they are being exposed.”4
In China, according to USA Today, the government has recently started an “office to control 457 million Internet users.” The country already blocks Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. One expert on Chinese media says the ruling Communist Party now wants “to reassert the party’s monopoly on news.” Another expert says the new State Internet Information Office “will give leaders a greater degree of comfort that everything is under control.”5■
3U.S. to introduce draconian anti-piracy censorship bill. Torrentfreak.com, Retrieved from http://torrentfreak.com/u-s-to-introduce-draconian-anti-piracy-censorship-bill-110511/ on May 24, 2011.
4Porter, A. (2011, May 11). Super-injunctions: Web ‘making mockery’ of privacy laws. The Telegraph, Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/8505126/Super-injunctions-web-making-mockery-of-privacy-laws.html on May 24, 2011.
5MacLeod, Callum (2011, May 10). China starts office to control 457 million internet users. USA Today, Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-05-09-china-Internet_n.htm?csp=YahooModule_Money on May 24, 2011.
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