If this is not censorship…. than tell me what it is?

It is quite common to hear or read in western media, politicians, academics and intelligentsia dividing the “Internet world” between the free and uncensored “north”, and the censored and balkanized Internet “south” of the world.Internet frredom, from Reporte without border


In countries like China, Iran, Russia and others, the Internet is influenced or censored for political reasons by the state; more or less directly or brutally, with various degrees of legal legitimacy.


In Europe and in the US the Internet is much more heavily influenced by the market.    But does this make itmore free?

A couple of days ago when The Pirate Bay was taken down, we experienced  the umpteenth attempt to suppress and intimidate the sharing culture, community and economy. This is just another of those actions that the copyright lobby undertake from time to time… Very much like the MegaUpload raid in 2012 and many others between and before. I think it’s important to remember that behind this organizations there are always people who might eventually end up in prison or who’s life get completely ruined, and in certain situation consequences can be even worst.

These actions performed by the public force on behalf of the copyright industry are inspired to techniques such as “Unum castigabis, centum emendabis“, also known as Strike One To Educate One Hundred.   The first and most wanted effect of such a behavior is to discourage people from actively or passively infringe copyright. This kind of mechanisms undubetly have the ultimate aim to prevent copyright infringment promoting self censorship among the public.


In some countries media companies pushed it even further, in fact in Germany at the moment is widely in use the practice of law firms sending speculative letters, on behalf of some large entertainment companies such as Sony, Universal or WB, asking torrent users for money and threatening them with fines.          This as much as I know is the most effective self-censorship practice (since it is currently working on me). Law firms might eventually give up but it takes a few letters and quite a bit of stress. If you are looking for more information in english check this out).

Another kind of more evident censorship is visible on some on-line video platforms…


Even if copyright driven censorship is most of the time backed up by law, unjust laws exist, and laws have to evolve with society. I do not whant to live in a world where my personal data can be traded, shared and exploited by unknown actors without my consent, while copyright infringment can even be a criminal offense, where bills enforcing IPRs are passed in record time[1], while privacy legisletion takes decades to be drafted[2].

I believe that we can not define the Internet Free as long as some pressure groups can lobby governments pushing  them to take down websites or entire infrastructures, without worrying at all about about users.


[0]:Attribution: Internet “Freedom” Map from Map Reporter Without Borders http://en.rsf.org/

[1]: DMCA, TTIP, TRIPS, Directive 2001/29/EC etc..

[2]: EU, General Data Protection Regulation, it the law that hopefully shoul replace the Directive 95/46/EC.