Pirates of the Internet23 Nov 2004
Since we didn't actually talk that much about press freedom at the discussion, I didn't get a chance to use the line I came up with. So I'll have to give it here.
If we're talking about press freedom in a place where it can really make a difference, we're talking about a place that doesn't have it yet. And a government interested in controlling the press is going to be controlling the internet was well. The internet runs over wires and cables, and a poor country is not going to have that many cables coming in. And big IT companies like Sun, Cisco and IBM are going to be more than happy to sell the the equipment and know-how to control everything going in and out.
That's no problem if you're going to be sending secret messages, you just use encryption and let the spooks spin their wheels. But weblogs are public messages, and once a weblog becomes bothersome, it's easy enough for a government to shut them down, or block them if they are hosted abroad.
There are, however, a group of internet entrepreneurs that creatively and successfully work around such filters. If webloggers want to deliver a message to a place where the powers that be do not want that message to be heard, they have to start thinking like those entrepreneurs.
That's right, webloggers have to start thinking like spammers, pornographers and file traders. That's the way to route around censorship.
(Insert code for distributing web content through national firewalls via a Firefox bittorrent plugin here.)