In case you haven't noticed, the Internet battle of the century has been shaping up this week. This will be, I believe - in this time and these concrete conditions, one of the most critical battles for the future of humanity and this planet in this century. That is because it concerns the future of the Internet and whether it will remain free and open. After Tunisia and Egypt I no longer have to harp on the power of the Internet as it is presently governed in making social revolution. After the uprisings in North Africa all are aware of that power.
It is against that backdrop that the Obama administration renewed it's two pronged assault on the free Internet this week. This time the measures they are seeking to implement are even more draconian that those that were thwarted in the fall.
On Monday 16/5/11, with a host of White House dignitaries present, including his Sec State & AG, the Obama Administration unveiled its "Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative." Without going into details, let me just say that they've now added some new 'features' to the plan they unveiled and I critiqued last year [Obama's Internet Coup d'état].
Also this week the Internet Blacklist bill that ran out of time in the last congress [Sweet Victory on Internet Censorship: Senate Backs Off!] was re-introduced as The PROTECT IP Act. This is truly COICA version 2.0. It goes further than the original by allowing corporations as well as the government to blacklist websites. More significantly, as I predicted last December in The Internet Takeover: Why Google is Next, this new bill will force search engines to alter results to the government's liking! Writing about the Justice department's seizure of domain names then I said:
all of the Federal government's violation of international trust and our rights with its draconian seizure of domains and attacks on domains will come to naught if Google continues to do what it has always done, deliver us search results as it finds them, without fear or favor.
I don't for a moment consider the other major search engines. Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo all bent over for the Chinese government without even being kissed first, I don't think the Obama Administration will have any trouble out of them. Google on the other hand, just might pose somewhat of a problem. They are coming from a different place. They have their roots in the Free Software Movement and they have opposed this sort of thing before with China and the Bush Administration. And most importantly, of all the forces that may oppose the Obama Internet takeover, Google has the money and the technical clout to make it a real ball game.
Well, yesterday Google threw down the gauntlet to the Federal government. Google CEO Eric Schmidt, speaking at a hacker conference in the UK likened the website blocking to China's restrictive Internet regime. He said that the search giant will fight against such attempts in the UK's Digital Economy Act and the US' Protect IP Act to restrict access to sites such as the Pirate Bay.
And he went even further, saying
"If there is a law that requires DNSs to do X and it's passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President of the United States and we disagree with it then we would still fight it," he told The Guardian at a London conference on Wednesday.
IMHO Google has already shown it's true colors by fine tuning it's Arabic translation facilities as the region was heating up, by strongly backing the Google exec. Wael Ghonim, who played a leading role in the Egyptian uprising, and by setting up the "Speak-to-Tweet" lines and supporting proxy servers [for circumventing Internet censorship] first in Egypt and then in Libya. [Google Goes Rebel, Supports Egyptian Protest]
Now Google is getting a lot of flack for Schmidt's statement. "Google seems to think it’s above America’s laws" was the comment from MPAA chief lobbyist, Michael O'Leary.
So this week, the stage has been set for a struggle of absolutely historic proportions, although I'm not sure many outside of the tech world have noticed.
Anyway I bring it up because it not just Google's fight. Hell, Larry & Sergey can bend over for Obama and still keep their billions, but if we lose the right to a free and open Internet, it might set back the struggle for human liberation by a hundred years. Your ass is in this too!
I wish that I was in a position to pitch-in on this struggle as I did with the one in the fall or the North African uprisings that followed. Unfortunately I am now starting to run out of money [again] so if I still want to be able to support the homeless without joining them, I am forced to turn my attention to more commercial pursuits at this time.
That brings me to he real point of this dairy, which is to encourage you to download by PDF sales flier here.