Push Up And Back For Internet Freedom!
SOLO-International Press Release: Push Up And Back For Internet Freedom!
August 4, 2008
Is there any difference between the authorities in China and those in America? That's the question posed by SOLO Principal Lindsay Perigo in the wake of the FCC's decision to penalize Internet Service Provider Comcast for its blocking of customer access to BitTorrent.
"The former country have their Great Firewall of China, now being patrolled with redoubled rigour lest the Beijing Olympics become a springboard for subversive ideas," Perigo notes. "This Hadrian of hardware and software seeks to prevent, deter and detect anyone who reads, downloads or publishes reports deemed to challenge the government and its authority in any way.
"In addition, tens of thousands of human censors trawl through forums and blogs, erasing references to banned or sensitive topics such as sex and politics.
"Words like 'condom' and 'underpants' are not permitted. Neither are 'freedom' and 'dictatorship.' Use such words and you're a candidate for a re-education camp.
"The Chinese are fighting back via the humble push-up. 'I'm doing push-ups' has become a way of saying, 'The government and its restrictions suck,' without risk of retribution, though the courageous TV presenter who has just posted images of himself doing push-ups naked is undoubtedly pushing his luck as well as his pecs.
"In addition to the push-up, the Global Internet Freedom Consortium says its anti-censorship software tools are ready to help journalists and tourists during the Olympics to circumvent China's Internet blockade. Software enabling users to thwart the Chinese communists can be downloaded for free onto a hard drive or USB drive. (See http://www.internetfreedom.org)
"But what about the communists in Washington? The FCC's persecution of Comcast is a violation of an ISP's right to offer its services on its terms, which may include the blocking of access to competitors or to sites it disapproves of or doesn't wish to associate with or patronise for whatever reason. Would-be customers who don't like the terms are free to say "no thanks" and take their custom elsewhere (or set up their own ISP). They are not entitled to have the government wield a gun on their behalf forcing providers to comply with their demands. Freedom of speech doesn't mean the suppliers of microphones must dispense them to everyone.
"The Comcast ruling is a further reminder of why the FCC should be abolished and how the totalitarian impulse is not confined to overt communists. It's an especially Orwellian twist that sees the FCC justify its decision in the name of freedom.
"The answer to making access illegal is not to make it compulsory, in any instance," Perigo concludes.