Saturday, December 04, 2010

Is it game on, then?


The late 20th century stereotype image of the defecation intersecting with the rotating blades -- popular revolt, coup d'etat, or state suppression of either -- is the interruption of regular television and radio programming, usually with "patriotic music" substituted for that programming.

I generally eschew alarmism, but what we've seen over the last week or so may be the opening shots in the 21st century's Internet version of the same phenomenon.

In less than ten years, the US has gone from something resembling due process of law, to the USA PATRIOT Act and "National Security Letters," to "Joe Lieberman's office called -- give them whatever we think they want."

COICA is stalled in the US Senate, but "Homeland Security" seized dozens of domain names on spurious "intellectual property" grounds anyway.

Whether Amazon and Paypal acted under government pressure (as seems obvious) or on their own hook (as they claim) to suppress Wikileaks is an interesting question, but it's a distinction that doesn't make a lot of difference -- freely or under compulsion, they've sided with the state and against the truth and the people in a big and high-profile way.

In the US, the right would love nothing more than to suppress the left (including the libertarian left) under the guise of "national security." President Barack Obama is objectively allied with the right on this, if for no other reason than that he'd like to get the real left off his ass, or at least shut them up, on foreign policy and civil liberties issues.

If Amazon and Paypal have already swung into action to serve the state in its new war -- the war on YOU -- what makes you think your web host, payment processor, et. al won't?

Unless you were smart and located that kind of stuff offshore (and possibly even if you did), you're vulnerable. If you think you're not in violation of any Terms of Service, you obviously haven't read them -- ToS is in the eye of the provider, bubba.

Don't be surprised if you see pro-freedom web sites disappearing from the web over the next few weeks as their hosts suddenly "discover" ToS violations that only became violations with the change in political climate.

And if not sites, perhaps authors. How hard do you think it Homeland Security would find it to sweet-talk the major ISPs into closing the accounts of customers who have (for example) accessed Wikileaks?

I could be wrong, but I think that the times are about to get ... interesting.

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