Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Attack on our Rights, Closer to Home Than You Think

We all know about the Internet being shut off in Egypt, so I will not take this space to rant and rave but is this something that could happen in the United States? Most people would say , No Way! But don't be too sure. Read the article linked below :

While this is not exactly an imminent threat to our socially networked lives right now, it is very scary to think that such a violation of rights could even be proposed in our country. Goes to show how powerful social networking and the Internet really are and how afraid our government is to lose control over the information and news we receive. 

Home of the Free? How free are we really? 


  1. The situation in Egypt really speaks of the power that social media holds. Here we have a form of communication that did not exist 10 years ago that is being used in a rebellion. Seeing Web 2.0 used as an instrument to aid a revolt shows how easy it is to communicate to a large group of people, and how simple messages from everyday citizens can spark intense emotions and a will to pursue change. Other countries, such as China, have also recognized the "power of the Internet" and have restrictions on what content can be accessed.

    In regards to "could this happen in the United States," its a question of what exactly is protected by the First Amendment. (See for more: Hypothetically, if the government did hit the "kill switch" on the Internet imagine the effect it would have on the many people who work for websites or sales on sites like Amazon, and the economy in general.

  2. It would be a total disaster, and while I do not think they would ever impose those kinds of restrictions now, would they if Facebook fueled a huge rebellion in Washington? We are not in the same situation as Egypt. Social Media is very important in our country, but we are not on the brink of a revolution. Whether we should be or not is a different story. But once social media begins to serve as a tool that undermines our government, it is quite possible they will flick that switch, online entrepreneurs be damned, if it will keep the power in the hands of those with the power.

  3. Call me an optimist, but I don't think our government would do anything to prohibit Internet use during a revolution. Our country was formed because of a revolution, and our government revolves around a system of checks and balances. News and print media were established and are encouraged to criticize government if it isn't doing its job properly as a way to keep the authority in check. Web 2.0 extends the ability to ensure that those in power act responsibly to everyday citizens. In a democracy the voice of the people holds value. In a revolution Web 2.0 wouldn't undermine government, but is a tool to keep government in check just like newspapers have been doing since our country's formation.

  4. My understanding of Lieberman's initiative is that it was intended as a defensive measure against terrorist activity, rather than out of concern over a revolution. But of course, it is very hard to accept any limitation on freedom in American culture. Internet censorship does exist in other western societies, however, in moderate degree of course, say in Italy, or Australia.

    Great topic, good to see the discussion here!