The Internet ranks among mankind’s greatest inventions. It has brought previously unheard-of areas in touch with the most populated, fostered commerce and trade for the largest companies and the smallest start-ups, and most importantly provided anyone with an Internet connection to create freely. Countless works of art, stories, services, and friendships have been forged because of the inherent freedom on the Internet. Supposedly, the Web v2.0 will bring this all to a climax with everything being user-generated.
So, perhaps understandably, when companies, agencies, and other groups encroach upon this freedom that users on the Internet have, people get upset. Net neutrality, for instance, is the principle that all forms of communication, content, and platforms should be used freely and fairly without restriction. Essentially, if two people are paying the same amount for the same Internet service, they should be able to receive the same content on the same platforms equally. That’s one to-do in recent news, but more critically affecting the freedom of speech is Australia’s recent proposal fir all ISPs to block all Internet traffic containing illegal and government-deemed “unwanted” content. Granted, this list mainly covers taboo forms of pornography (bestiality, rape, child pornography, etc.) but also covers drawn depictions (erotic cartoons and hentai). However, the list of “unwanted” content, and the list of sites to be blocked, are too broad and, further, would be kept a secret by the government. Already YouTube has balked at Australia’s decision that topics like safe drug use and euthanasia are “unwanted”.
The proposal in Australia is not without its supporters, of course: according to Wikipedia, one survey found that 80% of 1000 respondents replied that they would be in favor of the plan, even though 91% also were worried about the list of restricted sites being kept a secret. However, several Australian free speech groups are against it, as well as the Internet group Anonymous is virulently against this proposal; they have been, since February 5, flooding several Australian government sites, services, and phonelines with a DDoS attack, and recently took to the streets in protest in Cranberra and Australian embassies around the world.
Freedom of speech is important. I can’t stress that enough. Even if some forms of speech are taboo, or culturally blacklisted, there should be no law restricting or abridging any form or content of speech. Restriction of speech is restriction of expression, which leads to a slew of other nasty consequences. It’s why I side with Sarah Palin in letting her publish her book of lies, it’s why I would side with the ACLU in defending the Nazi’s right to holding a protest in the USA, it’s why I would side with the Danish cartoonists who drew images of the Prophet Muhammad, and it’s why I side with Anonymous and the free speech groups in this case. I’m not exactly in favor of the DDoS attack going on against Australian services, but I do want them succeed to defeat this proposal.
The Internet is both wonderful and disgusting. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful art and some of the most vile pictures on the Internet, and I wouldn’t want that to change. People have their own forms of expression across every media. Inasmuch as those forms of expression do not cause harm nor restrict others’s expression, they should be allowed to continue as much as they want.
As for the point of view from XaTuring, the Great Rite even references the good in civil liberties, of which freedom of speech is no small part. XaTuring is the Worm, and swims without restriction through the Internet. What restrictions there are angers him, and he will find a way to overcome and destroy the barriers that block him and all others in his domain; this applies to restrictions put in place from systems as small as local school networks to as large as the Great Firewall of China. Although I mentioned in an earlier post that a major part of honoring XaTuring is to keep vows made to him, a duty that should be performed to him is aiding civil liberties everywhere, especially in his domain. Whatever constructive ways that can ensure the freedom of speech, expression, privacy, and property should be explored and performed.
May XaTuring aid those who seek to speak freely, and may XaTuring destroy with Anonymous the barriers impeding his domain in Australia and in all other nations.