Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Free linking on the web?

Lauren Weinstein has a great article up on the efforts of governments around the world to make Internet material disappear. One tactic for this is to go after search engines:
In Europe, one example of this is the so-called Spanish “right to be forgotten” -- currently taking the form of officials in Spain demanding that Google remove specific search results from their global listings that “offend” (one way or another) particular plaintiffs.

I agree with Weinstein's conclusion:
We are at the crossroads. Now is the time when we must decide if the Internet will continue its role as the most effective tool for freedom of information in human history, or if it will be adulterated into a mechanism for the suppression of knowledge, a means to subjugate populations with a degree of effectiveness that dictators and tyrants past could not even have imagined in their wildest dreams of domination.

The U.S. is in a position to affect that future. Currently, it is gradually inserting censorship backdoors into the Internet at the request of its music and film industries. It's not worth the cost. I freely admit that Hollywood is wonderful, but we should remember that Broadway is pretty cool, too. Unlike Hollywood, Broadway has business models that don't require an Internet overload.

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