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U.S., Japan, EU push for open internet amid rise of authoritarianism

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opposes the use of digital tools to repress freedom of expression and deny other human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In Japan internet censorship already started few years back, of course there is reason for that. Still it will start with other things.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/04/24/national/japans-ntt-block-websites-links-pirated-manga-anime-content/

1 ( +6 / -5 )

You could be forgiven for asking 'what is this, and where did it come from'?

"Digital authoritarianism" is broadly defined as:

[T]he use of digital information technology by authoritarian regimes to surveil, repress, and manipulate domestic and foreign populations."

{Brookings policy briefing at https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/FP_20190826_digital_authoritarianism_polyakova_meserole.pdf]

Simple?

Well . . . Maybe.

An interesting perspective comes from The Hindustan Times, an India-based newspaper in a country that has not signed on to the agreement.

In an 28 April 2022 article, entitled "Group of 60 nations back US push for an ‘open’ internet," the HT begins:

The Internet must remain open, protect the human rights of all people, and should not be used to further digital authoritarianism, a group of 60 mostly Western countries said on Thursday in a joint declaration, calling for efforts to ensure “the use of digital technologies reinforces, not weakens, democracy and respect for human rights”, offers “opportunities for innovation”, and helps societies connect.

It then continues:

A senior US administration official indicated that the declaration was aimed at combatting a growing “splintering” of the Internet, with countries like Russia and China on the other side of the spectrum with policies that censor swathes of the cyberspace for their citizens.

“On the international front -- what we’re talking about today -- we have seen a trend of rising digital authoritarianism, where some states have been acting to repress freedom of expression, to censor independent news sources, to interfere with elections, promote disinformation around the world, and deny their citizens other human rights,” the official said, citing recent example of Russia’s “disinformation” and internet censorship.

“Russia, however, is hardly alone but just one of the leaders in a dangerous new model of Internet policy along with the People’s Republic of China and some of the other most censorial states in the world,” the official added.

On India, the official said, “the hope remains that time isn’t fully passed yet for India to join. But we’ve been engaged in -- in very intensive efforts to have all of these - all of these countries join”, also referring to others that were not a part of the declaration.

+++

“In 2021, authorities deliberately shut down the internet at least 182 times across 34 countries,” the report said. “India is the world’s largest offender, and blacked out the internet at least 106 times.”

“For the fourth year in a row, India implemented shutdowns more than any other nation — at least 106 times. Indian authorities’ bold and unwavering pounding of the kill switch must stop,” said Raman Jit Singh Chima, Asia Pacific Policy director at Access Now.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/more-than-50-nations-back-us-push-for-an-open-internet-101651159077792.html

What Access Now report?

Here is a link: https://www.accessnow.org/cms/assets/uploads/2022/04/2021-KeepItOn-Report-1.pdf .

They describe it as:

This #KeepItOn report looks at incidents of internet shutdowns documented

by Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition in 2021. While we try to build a

comprehensive database, our data relies on technical measurement as well

as contextual information, such as news reports or personal accounts.

Access Now told the HT [same article as linked, above]:

“Of course we support calls in the Declaration, like refraining from shutting down the Internet and reinvigorating an inclusive approach to internet governance, but we have seen so many global principles and statements come and go without meaningful progress,” said Jennifer Brody, US advocacy manager at Access Now. “The burden is on the Biden Administration and allies to do more than talk the talk.”

Now what?

Good question.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The west with its usual hypocrisy so I wonder why some Wikileaks pages are not available.

By the way, what happened to Julian Assange?

20 ( +23 / -3 )

The fact that all these governments trying to assert more controls over the Internet has already proven that they are leading towards more authoritarian. Promoting “democracy” is a façade used to manipulate gullible people. Life, safety, and security should be above all else. Right now the so-called democratic countries fail in all these aspects. Without the above there would be no human rights. A government that lets so many people die of preventable causes, such as Covid and gun violence does not deserve to use the word “democracy”.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

This is hypocritical nonsense. Both the EU and UK are introducing state censorship and border-based restrictions courtesy of 'regulations'. Western governments are taking steps to control the internet just like China have done, whilst pretending they are supporting a default to access.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

By the way, what happened to Julian Assange?

Currently in a maximum security prison, facing extradition to the US and 175 years in jail for doing his job as a journalist and exposing American war crimes. The hypocrisy in this article is simply beyond belief.

human rights group Freedom House

CIA-linked, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID and Smith Richardson. Propaganda mouthpiece, regime change tool, blah blah blah.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

How could anyone write, read, or dare I say “post”, such an article with a straight face????

11 ( +12 / -1 )

At the same time, the “open and free” internet is being used by the Russian military to plant malware within Western critical infrastructure, and by China to steal corporate trade secrets, innovative, and intellectual property.

In fact, “China has a bigger hacking program than that of every other major nation combined. They have stolen more of Americans' personal and corporate data than every nation combined. It affects everything from agriculture to aviation to high tech to healthcare, pretty much every sector of the U.S. economy. Anything that makes an industry tick, they target.” (FBI Director Christopher Wray, 60 Minutes, 24 April 2022).

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This is the world's first webpage.

http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Hilarious given what these countries have been doing in practice... now imagine what it's going to be like if they bring in digital IDs too. Every single action and movement online and offline will be tracked... unless you stop it

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Who wrote this article? Have they ever used the search function in the western controlled internet??? Even US Govt is threatening Musk over his plans to de-censor Twitter.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Currently in a maximum security prison, facing extradition to the US and 175 years in jail for doing his job as a journalist and exposing American war crimes. The hypocrisy in this article is simply beyond belief.

Nice statement, except you forgot the facts, that Assange colluded with Russia, so much for freedom eh?

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Russia has aggressively promoted disinformation at home and abroad, censored internet news sources, and blocked and shut down legitimate sites, among other acts, the official said.

But I'm afraid, no, I'm glad that Russian war propaganda seems to fail many including active Russian-speaking media consumers. I only trust publication dates :)

By the way, what happened to Julian Assange?

Luckily he's not yet been poisoned :p

It also reminds me of Edward Snowden. He was granted permanent residency in Russia.... is he still there?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Typical of presidents who don't want to be president. Always ambitious goals, nothing ever materialize.

The proposal requires demarcation between open internet and authoritarian internet, and this is not the first time the idea is floated either, will nevervhappen. I would even say the proposal is deceptive given the FAANG's power (and profit) relies on no demarcation.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sh1mon M4sadaToday 08:40 am JST

Currently in a maximum security prison, facing extradition to the US and 175 years in jail for doing his job as a journalist and exposing American war crimes. The hypocrisy in this article is simply beyond belief.

Nice statement, except you forgot the facts, that Assange colluded with Russia, so much for freedom eh?

Such sweet irony, a smear attempting to link Assange with Russia on an article about disinformation. Congratulations, you've won a signed photo of Mike Pompeo.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Such sweet irony, a smear

Interesting terminology, because Assange tried to smear Clinton using hacked emaiks from a Russian source, AND he traded wikikeaks classified info for Russian smears.

Heck if you believe in so much press freedom, why not try what Assange did and see how fast and long you will be locked up.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Noakes,Assange is a slob,he trash the Embassy,he was staying in Google Assange Trashy Stay In The Embassy

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Interesting terminology, because Assange tried to smear Clinton using hacked emaiks from a Russian source, AND he traded wikikeaks classified info for Russian smears.

he’s a journalist. He didn’t smear anybody, he just reported the facts. Like US war crimes etc.

BTW, where did the Russia bit come from? Proof?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Push for open internet? Does anyone else see the irony? US government-controlled media, Youtube and Twitter have been censoring anything and everything that doesn't conform to their agenda. Free speech as long as it doesn't go against their narrative?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Funny that this joke of an announcement comes on the same day that Biden proposed a "Ministry of Truth." (“Disinformation Governance Board”). And, as Assange has shown us, one need not be a US citizen, or have even visited the USA, to be locked up under US orders for saying the wrong things. I don't think even China has gone that far.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

"Elizabeth Warren calls for new 'rules' to govern 'unregulated' social media"

Looks like the American government wants to get in the game

1 ( +2 / -1 )

he’s a journalist. He didn’t smear anybody, he just reported the facts. Like US war crimes etc.

BTW, where did the Russia bit come from? Proof?

LOL, he got wikileaks press classification AFTER he was charged. Don't you find it strange he never leaked anything bad about Russia/China/Iran?

Where? Are you admitting you live in a cave, or that you lack basic search skills?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-senate-idUSKCN25E1US

NOTE, Russian/Assange collusion was aired continuously on both sides of politics during the 2016 presidential election.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

he got wikileaks press classification AFTER he was charged. 

Only authoritarian governments require that journalists be licensed. Journalists are defined by what they write, not by some authority. Otherwise, you negate the entire premise of a free press.

And, by the way, there is no international law against "collusion with Russia", even if it were true. People can "collude" with whomever they wish.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Suppose a reporter in Singapore reports on Chinese war crimes. The CCP could accuse him of "colluding" with the US, and could arrest him and try him in China. Those are the rules the US plays by.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Journalists are defined by what they write, not by some authority.

LOL, Assange disagrees with you then. Why else would his posse lobby so hard for the classification?

But to entertain your notion for the time being. The Journalists, at least the ones I know, and my daughter is married to one, are proud of journalistic standards of the west, and they want and need protection of title.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Okay, but they don't need to look far from home to start with. Ask Assange. Or just try checking out RT on that free and open internet. And no, I don't think RT is a good news source at all, but it shouldn't be banned either. Especially not if you are going to talk about the freedom of internet with the same breath.

I am not saying governments shouldn't necessarily protect their own interests, but at least be up front about it. Don't try to pass it off as being a champion of freedom.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Commanteer,you can generally raise more hell ,in America and suffer any consequences

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I can imagine what the US, the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, would consider "open". Do they really want Russia Today back on Youtube? Search for Russia Today on Youtube and see what comes up. Compare it with a search for Fox News.

To the US "open" does not mean "open". It means under US control.

You can find this on Youtube.

"Disappeared": Chris Hedges Responds to YouTube Deleting His 6-Year Archive of RT America Shows

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Bbc has resumed short wave radio broadcasts to Ukraine and Russia. Any effort is much appreciated to reach behind the Iron Curtain of Cold War era.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The United States, Japan and the European Union on Thursday endorsed a declaration to promote an open and free internet amid concerns over what they view as "digital authoritarianism" seen in countries such as Russia and China.

Pot, meet kettle.

Because there has been absolutely NO censorship at all in the USA, JP, & EU

for at least the last 2+ years!

Starlink means never having to say you're sorry.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The west with its usual hypocrisy so I wonder why some Wikileaks pages are not available.

By the way, what happened to Julian Assange?

Exactly....

Free Internet push huh....that must be why certain' Russian friendly ' news sites are suddenly magically available on Google search again after being blocked?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Commanteer,you can generally raise more hell ,in America and suffer any consequences

I seem to remember an America where the bar was higher than "at least we are generallly freer than China and Russia."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There is indeed work to be done in the West too regarding censorship, an obvious and well recognized fact as stated by many above, but at least these declarations of shared principals regarding freedom of speech do a lot to concrete what’s truly important. It’s a recognition of what we hold as dear and worth fighting for, and also a recognition of the forces on the horizon that threaten it. Fighting for the rights of others to say things that we dislike, disapprove of and disagree. The most mature and sophisticated mindset that we know. At face value almost counter intuitive, until you know where the path of restriction and censorship really leads. Frustration, stronger convictions of the ideas being suppressed and Hell. If the ideas are wrong let them stay out in the public forum to be proven so. Have a little faith.

Think about it though, who ever really lives up to their own ideals? But to use the imperfections of others as an excuse NOT to bother trying yourself is a ‘slight of hand’ trick (also a trap ) by often bitter, cynical bad faith actors, that often hide their true intentions from themselves. Very Jungian I know, but it’s true. None of us are 100% transparent to ourselves, and we need to be on constant guard not to fall into the many traps that life sets. Nations are exactly the same.

By signing up to this freedom of internet declaration they draw an important line.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

yeah sure, neither side have the moral grounds to protest, what they want is to monopolize the authoritarianism.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Typical misdirection to divert attention away from what is really going on in the media and online. Disinformation and misinformation are two way overused terms, not even properly defined and subject to massive abuse in order to censor or delete information.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Russia has [...] blocked and shut down legitimate sites

You mean Facebook and Instagram which specifically said they will not delete any anti-russian comments/posts calling for brutal killings of Russian soldiers & civilians?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Whatcha mean internet freedom ? I cannot even post here without going off the elites' point of view.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"...amid rise of authoritarianism"

Has there been less authoritarianism in the past or is it just becoming less shy about exposing itself? "Authoritarianism" is a disease of all areas of the Human political color wheel and is simply the product of inadequate self education in the realities of Human life on this planet. "Authority", the Authoritarian personality, knows ONLY ITS TRUTH and is terrified of other truths taking the spoils it works hard to amass only to itself and attempts to suppress, fatally if possible, anything that is not IT. Examining recorded Human history, we see that this is the most 'normal' part of Human social behavior even in the recording of the 'facts' of such history. Again, has there been less authoritarianism in the past or is it just becoming less shy about exposing itself?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If I took terabytes of classified material from where I work and dumped it onto the internet I would be arrested, sent to trial, in all likelihood convicted and sent off to jail. I signed a nondisclosure agreement that says I will not divulge classified material and know what happens if I do. Chelsea Manning soldier working for US Army intelligence, had a security clearance (cleared a heck of a lot higher than I ever was) and signed the same sort of nondisclosure agreement I signed promising to never divulge the nation's secrets. But instead of honoring his commitment he conspired with Julian Assange to hack US government computers, steal classified material and publish this material on the internet. That is a crime. It is not as if Mr. Assange discovered this data through investigative journalism. He conspired with a soldier to hack US government computers to steal the data. That falls well outside legitimate journalism.

And obtw, the material in question remains classified and thus much of it is no longer available on the internet. It might seem wrong to those who have never worked in around classified material but "spillage", meaning having classified material appear in an unclassified setting such as the internet doesn't instantly make the material unclassified. It remains classified and remains illegal to possess. If you have it posted up on the internet you can go to jail. You have no right to post anything classified on the internet. Period. Now vote me down into oblivion but that is how the real world of classified information works from someone who has some hands on with it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So here is something to ponder. I live in a desert region where the aquifer is being sucked dry. It is a major problem but the owner of one of the two local newspapers is of the opinion there is no shortage of water and that the aquifer is being replenished with water flowing through cracks in a massive nearby mountain range and thus there will never be a shortage of water. Doesn't matter what any geologist or hydrologist says, that is her opinion, shared conveniently with the local real estate industry and she is highly critical of any contrary information. She claims there are not enough studies of the basin to justify limiting water use. You can write letters to the editor naming dozens of studies of the groundwater basin going back 100 years that contradict the owner on every point and those letters will never be published. It's her newspaper and she publishes what she wants. The First Amendment protects her right to do so.

Before the internet all anyone had to express an opinion was a letter to the editor, getting on a soap box with a megaphone or putting up paper flyers around town. Newspapers, TV and Radio stations all had "editorial policies" and made their opinions known through their media outlet. Contrary opinions were not welcome. Go publish your own newspaper with your own contrary point of view would be the natural reply. And obtw, your letter to the editor had to use good grammar, be 600 words or less and use acceptable language or the publisher would reject it. That was their legal right and from a business sense a newspaper would lose customers and their good reputation if they published ranting letters full of insults and foul language.

So why should this same philosophy not apply to the internet? Why is an internet discussion board under any obligation to permit any post someone wants to write? Why are news media allowed an ideological point of view that is protected by the First Amendment, but not internet sites? Why can a newspaper filter letters to the editor for content but not an internet discussion board?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The EU is for an open Internet? Don't make me laugh. These people feel congenitally compelled to regulate anything and everything they can get their hands on. Control freaks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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