March 18, 2008


On the masters of our domains, the Great Firewall of China and a glitch in Pakistan:
Susan Crawford, a visiting law professor at Yale and a leading authority on Internet law, said the fact that many large domain name registrars are based in the United States gives the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, control “over a great deal of speech — none of which may be actually hosted in the U.S., about the U.S. or conflicting with any U.S. rights.”

“OFAC apparently has the power to order that this speech disappear,” Professor Crawford said. [Source. Mezzoblue wrote, "Got any domains registered or hosted with US-based companies? You may want to read this."]
China aims at Tibet, shoots self in foot. YouTube is there. From CNET:
Protests break out in some nation around the globe and one of the first things a media-shy government does--just after sending in riot police--is pull the plug on YouTube.

The latest example is China's handling of protests in Tibet. The Chinese government has blocked access to YouTube in that country after scores of clips showing violence between police and protesters were posted to the site, according to hundreds of reports found on Google News [...]

In an example of YouTube's influence, blocking access to the video-sharing site is now a sort of scarlet letter for governments. The site, which allows individuals to communicate with mass audiences, has become a symbol of free speech to many, and governments that forbid it are immediately branded around the world as repressive.

This kind of image can't be welcomed by China as it prepares to host this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.
No kidding. This doesn't look too good, either.

Snafu in Pakistan:
Perhaps the poster child for bans gone wrong is Pakistan. The government there was angered over videos it found disrespectful to Islam and demanded YouTube be blocked. An ISP in Pakistan goofed and erroneously shut down access to YouTube around the world.

Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition... But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas... that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. [Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.]

No comments: