Amid the wave of censorship and attempts to censor the Internet and our web freedom – we can mention briefly the Azeredo law or AI-5 Digital (# AI5digital) in Brazil, HADOPI in France, open censorship in China, Saudi Arabia and Iran – nothing more consistent than the promotion of a day to protest against these initiatives and preach the exact opposite, web freedom, our freedom of not being censored or restricted in our access to information.
In this spirit, the organization Reporters Without Borders promotes today the World Day Against Cyber Censorship, an initiative with a global reach and that should be widely disseminated by all. It is the ideal opportunity to resume the discussions, in Brazil, over the Azeredo Law and also the other projects that aim to create barriers to free access.
At this point I am not speaking only of explicit censorship, but also about issues related to monopoly, the quality (or lack thereof) of services and projects that prevent an Internet of quality and for all.
In Brazil, for example, not only we live in the shadow of censorship or we’re just victims of illegal searches of our data and of the DRM’s, but we also pay a high price to navigate – in every sense. Poor quality of Internet services, limited scope, exorbitant prices … All this can be puttted together as a form of capital to censor on our freedom to navigate, to let us inform ourselves.
It fits in this date, also, in the Brazilian case, to defend a national program that delivers free broadband access to with decent prices for the entire population. A state program that encourages healthy competition between companies in the sector and curb the abuses which we are already accustomed.
The World Day Against Cyber Censorship should mark the beginning of a joint struggle, worldwide, without borders and solidarity. We can no longer tolerate states to the block citizens’ access, that they restrain the discussion and the exchange of ideas in the 21st century. States – with good reason – fear the power of the internet, but cannot, under any circumstances, censor it. That we fight fire with fire, information with information, action with more actions and never with the old attitude of the stubborn boy owner of the ball.
It seems a silly comparison, but it has validity. The censor state is the one who dictates the rules, which do not accept losing, which only allows access to its friends and yet, under strict conditions. When get’s tired or no longer suits them, they block, censor, expell, kill. But censorship is not limited to the state: companies that employ mechanisms to verify data without permission from the user or to use and promote anti-copying technologies (DRM) also contribute to the censorship to prevent the sharing of knowledge and free access to information .
For these and other initiatives such as the debate on the Civil Mark of the Internet, the Mega Não (# Meganao – Big No) and the Forum of Digital Culture should always be reminded, encouraged and disseminated. Above all, the popular pressure must be constant. More than once we have shown that we have power.
The Internet is the tool most feared today by the elites, the media and by the power. It empowers those who otherwise would remain forgotten, oppressed. It is a weapon that gives ammo to those who are protesting for justice, equality and freedom and that shakes the structures of the state – and of companies – which sees no other choice but to censor.
And censorship, I recall, comes in several ways, takes several forms. Not only as a filter, but also is the limited bandwidth, lack of infrastructure, the need of registering to access certain websites or even to access at all the web, for policing, collusion with the software with DRM and so on.
Any way found by the state and business to make it difficult for users to access the web is a form of censorship. And it must be fought in tough.
To not only combat but also to publicize the fighting against censorship is that this particular day in defense of freedom of en on the web demonstrates its relevance.
The struggle for web freedom should be broad, unrestricted, must be brought to all corners of the world. Cyber activists from all corners must unite to combat the intransigent attitude of governments and companies, no matter where and by what borders. Minority groups cannot be patrolled, democrats and freedom fighters cannot be compromised in their right to inform and share, ordinary users may not have checked his steps and followed by any instrument or organization.
Finally, the fight for freedom is a struggle.