Censorship is state terrorism

Paul Gobbins is the Home Office Minister responsible for internet crime. In an interview with the [url=http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,16376,1595599,00.html]Guardian[/url] today, he attempts to justify his proposals for internet restrictions and monitoring. His vision of the internet is pretty terrifying – he says "We know we can't just say 'there's nothing we can do about it, it's the internet and it's just got to carry on'. We know we have to find ways of placing limitations on the use of the internet for criminal purposes, and then to be able to police it."

Let me repeat that last little gem "to be able to police it". Just as they do in China? Just as they do in North Korea? Burma? Once the legislative framework is in place to enable any specific type of monitoring, like "terrorism", it will only take a few keystrokes to broaden the remit to include everyone else. This means that eventually the state will record our every internet movement, our every email, shopping purchase, news preference, subscription, blog – every click, pop-up, banner, virus, spam will be recorded against our name. Once they are able to do this for "exceptional" circumstances, then they eventually will find more and more exceptions – it is a process that cannot be stopped.

My little blog is a perfect example of of how the internet works – it's a platform to have my say. I'm not imposing my views/rantings, I'm just offering what I have to say to anyone who chooses to read it. Those of you that do read it can fully trust that my views have not been censored or edited – you might not agree with my views but at least you know that they are my views. I am inviting discussion and an exchange of opinion so that we can collectively learn together what it is to live in a civilised society (though I doubt that the lack of comments is an indication of agreement!).

This is freedom of speech and if these publications become subject to restriction by an authority, then the freedom and trust is lost. You will have no way of knowing if what you are reading is complete and genuine.

The justification of this proposed internet policing is, yet again, "terrorism". All ministers have been made to repeat the same spin until we believe it. Paul Gobbins states "Freedom of speech is important. It's enshrined in our culture and is something we guard fiercely. But the right to life is the most fundamental human right". Blair uses this tactic very often: state how passionate you are about something so much that when you immediately and subtlety contradict yourself, your audience still has the initial plaudits echoing in their ears. If freedom of speech is so important, how come he's wanting to curtail it? History has shown that every state that restricts civil liberties are the states that abuse human rights. That is why communism was never successful because it removed accountability by the people. This leads to a broadening of the gap between the higher and lower classes – the rulers and the ruled. It is difficult to respect those with whom you are not in touch, and even harder to recify once you have removed their voice.

Yes, there are bad people out there wanting to infect us with filth, fraud and greed, but the police should use the internet to their advantage and restrict the perpetrators but not the medium itself.

If this government really beliefs in civil liberties, then stop pretending that terrorism will go away just by gagging people. They should try understanding what makes people want to blow themselves up in the first place – usually an overwhelming sense of frustration of having their views and beliefs repressed.

One Response to “Censorship is state terrorism”

  1. other Says:

    So if you want no policing, are you arguing that all the crime that is carried out on the internet – for example child pornography, should be allowed. Also there is no such thing as true freedom – one person's freedom will at some point impede on anothers. One person's right to enjoy sexual images of children will take away the rights of a child to self decency.