How to recognize dictators from quite a long way away #37

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How to recognize dictators from quite a long way away #37

They attack any­thing that facil­i­tates the uncen­sored pass­ing of infor­ma­tion among peo­ple they rule:

Venezue­lan pres­i­dent Hugo Chavez has announced that he now con­sid­ers Twit­ter mes­sages and social net­work­ing as ter­ror­ist threats. He is quoted in this Spanish-​language news report as call­ing for more state con­trol over the internet.

via who else but Glenn.

Mean­while on the China Google front my favorite Free Speech Diva con­tin­ues to speak up con­cern­ing China. And she describers her dream speech on the sub­ject:

My dream speech would be about how the Inter­net poses a chal­lenge to all gov­ern­ments and most com­pa­nies (except those com­pa­nies like Google whose busi­ness is built around that chal­lenge). I would call on all gov­ern­ments to work together with cit­i­zens, com­pa­nies and each other to build a glob­ally inter­con­nected, free and open net­work that enhances the lives of every­body on the planet, enables com­merce and inno­va­tion by big and small play­ers alike, makes every­body richer and freer, and improves all gov­ern­ments’ rela­tions with their cit­i­zens by mak­ing gov­ern­ment more trans­par­ent, effi­cient, and thus more cred­i­ble and legitimate.

I would quote Ben­jamin Franklin, who wrote in 1759: “Those who would give up Essen­tial Lib­erty to pur­chase a lit­tle Tem­po­rary Safety, deserve nei­ther Lib­erty nor Safety.”

The speech would remind us all that all power cor­rupts and absolute power cor­rupts absolutely, and that Amer­i­can democ­racy was built on this assump­tion. The Inter­net empow­ers gov­ern­ments and law enforce­ment agen­cies as well as cit­i­zens, upstart can­di­dates, and dissidents.

Some­body ought to write a book about that. If you care about free speech then you should be read­ing Rebecca MacK­in­non.

Sean Penn
could not be reached for comment.

They attack anything that facilitates the uncensored passing of information among people they rule:

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has announced that he now considers Twitter messages and social networking as terrorist threats. He is quoted in this Spanish-language news report as calling for more state control over the internet.

via who else but Glenn.

Meanwhile on the China Google front my favorite Free Speech Diva continues to speak up concerning China. And she describers her dream speech on the subject:

My dream speech would be about how the Internet poses a challenge to all governments and most companies (except those companies like Google whose business is built around that challenge). I would call on all governments to work together with citizens, companies and each other to build a globally interconnected, free and open network that enhances the lives of everybody on the planet, enables commerce and innovation by big and small players alike, makes everybody richer and freer, and improves all governments’ relations with their citizens by making government more transparent, efficient, and thus more credible and legitimate.

I would quote Benjamin Franklin, who wrote in 1759: “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

The speech would remind us all that all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that American democracy was built on this assumption. The Internet empowers governments and law enforcement agencies as well as citizens, upstart candidates, and dissidents.

Somebody ought to write a book about that. If you care about free speech then you should be reading Rebecca MacKinnon.

Sean Penn
could not be reached for comment.