Thanks Alan for the link. I originally thought it was a blog post and unsuccessfully went through the list of your IE blogs trying to locate it.
"What would you do if you ran RIM or Twitter?"
I probably would have done what they did under the prevailing circumstances just as you pointed out in your latest vblog. In as much as we are al strongly in support of individual's right to free expression, there is also no denying of the fact there is a very strong business case forcing these companies to oblige to such requests. And I particularly like the your concluding statement that Twitter should not be seen as the enemy of freedom in this context.
There isn't any "perfect" freedom anywhere. And what is "perfect"? Should the U.S. have not gone after Wikileaks and, instead, respected its right to post those disclosures?
If the Germans and French consider it a crime to post specific information about the Nazis or the Thais consider it a prison offense to make fun of their royal family, can those countries claim to uphold freedom of speech? And then there's the U.K.'s super injunction law....
One of the greatest advantages of the Internet is that in many situations it can route around government censorship of ideas.
Alan, you convinced me that Twitter is taking a reasonable and measured approach. I'm afraid we're not going to get anything like perfect freedom of expression on the Internet in the foreseeable future. It's worth remembering that the First Amendment is a purely local phenomenon!
You bring up a very good point -- what type (if any) of potentially dangerous corporate behavior is acceptable and for what reasons? With RIM, India (and other countries) have demanded access to data, and RIM has acquiesced in certain cases. RIM didn't agree to censor the data, but, rather, allow access to it.
With Twitter, it's a bit of the opposite -- Twitter could deny access to the data to the public in individual countries.
However, both RIM and Twitter are agreeing to government demands that could potentially harm users and political causes. So in that respect, the actions are similar. Both companies faced/face the prospect of not being allowed to do business unless they agreed to the demands.
I guess I could have made a case for Twitter not agreeing to censor tweets on a country-by-country basis, and also on a worldwide basis.
In its announcement, Twitter said, as I recorded, countries will either just ignore tweets they don't like or block the entire service without telling Twitter. I agree that blocking tweets could create more unfavorable publicity. But governments make decisions all the time about whether to take action against individuals/companies -- and risk bad publicity -- or ignore certain actions.
And, I would be surprised if the Twitter community and the Internet community in general didn't respond aggressively if important tweets were blocked. One way or another, information generally gets out in the open.
How is your reaction different to Twitter's caving to censorship to that of RIM? I was unable to locate the IE post but I remembered you were highly critical when RIM caved to demands by some Middle Eastern government to censor the blackberry. But I saw in this vbog you somehow provided a defense for Twitter for virtually doing the same thing. So I am just curious to know whether the way Twitter caved in was different from that of RIM.
"I'm sure that the countries that want something taken off don't like that the tweets would still be veiwable in other countries."
Too true, dcuperus. Also, I bet some developers are already figuring out a workaround -- some way to broadcast the censored Tweets from countries that can see them back to countries that can't. It's getting more and more difficult to stay ahead of the medium and block the message.
Businesses helped neighbors with Internet access and mobile device charge-ups during Sandra. Following that example, enterprises should consider preparing Internet disaster plans to help the public during disasters.
The US government is funding controversial projects to collect daily Internet activity, including Web searches, Twitter messages, Facebook and blog posts, and the digital location trails generated by billions of cellphones. Its goal is to map these interactions to predict social behavior, such as protests.
What can users today do to protect their online privacy? The simplest and most obvious option is to not use the Internet – at all. However, once all digital information is consolidated over the Internet, trying to protect digital identity by simply unplugging from the Internet becomes impossible – a fact that has manifest implications for civil liberties, Saunders says.
By 2011 the number of Internet-connected sensors will exceed 1 trillion, making your chances of doing anything or going anywhere unnoticed pretty much zero. Saunders talks about how the 'sensortization' of the Internet is eliminating the traditional divide between online and offline populations.
The 20th Century Internet was characterized by the ability to interact with other people and information on the Internet largely without anyone knowing who you were. The Internet of this century, conversely, will be defined by identity. Saunders explains how Internet users are unwittingly contributing to the demise of the anonymous Internet.
Facebook has more than 5 million deceased members and policies for how to handle their accounts. But, one problem: After people pass away, it's too late for them to decide whether they want their social media accounts preserved, "memorialized," or deleted.
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