Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Can the Internet still route around censorship?

US Supreme Court
I'm in the US this week for Computers, Freedom & Privacy in Washington DC and then the Privacy Law Scholars' Conference at UC Berkeley. Yesterday I spoke at a CFP session organised by Wendy Grossman. John Gilmore famously observed in 1990 that "the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." Is this still true?

My position, explained in much greater detail in a recent book chapter, was that even the more sophisticated filtering technologies of the last five years can be trivially circumvented by skilled users, absent a totalitarian state that will break down doors in response. However, they provide the ability to impose mass censorship on the vast majority of Internet users. States that value freedom of expression should therefore think very carefully before starting off down this road.

Derek Bambauer has more at Info/Law.

2 comments:

Fernando said...

Ian:

Thanks for the post. I'll recommend to read your paper for a lecture in Chile.

Elisa said...

The articles on your blog are really good and informative.