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Consider the case of the Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari. After using Twitter to express some thoughts about the Prophet Muhammad which some considered blasphemous, he fled to Malaysia, apparently fearing for his life. Over the weekend the Malaysian government put him on a plane back to Saudi Arabia, ignoring the pleas of liberal Muslims in their own country.

Compared to the rage against anti-piracy measures, this is a fairly muted protest so far.

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Does Free Speech really matter, as long as Piracy survives?

Nice to know the Loons have their priorities straight.

#1 Posted by pete_mw on Feb 13, 2012 9:27 AM

Upvoted, but I’d argue that you’re seriously misrepresenting some of those 'anti-piracy’ measures.

Holding service providers accountable for the behaviour of their users gives anyone who wants to censor anything a soft target.

People have already taken advantage of this: http://www.badscience.net/2007/06/ucl-and-colquhoun-a-victory-for-common-sense/

#2 Posted by DrLoser on Feb 13, 2012 9:49 AM

@Pete:

Oh, I am, and I admit it. Furthermore, I don’t necessarily agree with any of the “anti-piracy” measures, and I strongly support peoples’ rights to protest.

But that’s not the point, and I’m not about to muddy the main text with a complicated discussion. (I’ll leave that to Kurkos, who — non-sarcasm — is widely read in the field.)

Point is, I’m all for tens of thousands of people out on the streets protesting about Internet Freedom when it comes to government control of websites.

When I see an equivalent number of people in Eastern Europe protesting about Internet Freedom (in this case, Twitter) when it comes to direct human rights abuse, I’ll happily listen to their other points of view on the subject.

Otherwise, sorry, just looks like a mob of self-centred pirates to me.

#3 Posted by Linsuxoid on Feb 13, 2012 1:19 PM

To be fair, western people probably don’t protest because it doesn’t concern them directly. If any of that (charge for blasphemy/departure) happen in Europe/US – I would fully expect people to protest.

PS Did Eastern Europe ever protest for “Internet Freedom”?

#4 Posted by DrLoser on Feb 13, 2012 2:24 PM

It didn’t happen for Salman Rushdi; I doubt it will happen for some poor random sod on Twitter.

If anywhere, I would expect it to happen in Eastern Europe, which apparently cherishes the freedoms it fained when the Berlin Wall came down.

I don’t know that “fairness” has a place here. If you’re going to be intellectually honest about outside agencies blocking Net freedom, surely “blocking by threatening to saw your head off” is somewhere near top of the list?

#5 Posted by ReverseControllerSE on Feb 13, 2012 2:51 PM

“PS Did Eastern Europe ever protest for “Internet Freedom”?”

Sure, in plenty of places; some eastern European countries now block EU wide Acta acceptance.

#6 Posted by Linsuxoid on Feb 13, 2012 3:53 PM

I didn’t mean to call it intellectually honest – just tried to rationalize their behavior. People are lazy – that’s the explanation.

> Sure, in plenty of places; some eastern European countries now block EU wide Acta acceptance.
I’ve meant street protests – sorry for confusion. I’ve seen some anti-anti-piracy internet petitions and so on, but I can’t remember anyone to care enough to actually go to the streets (or maybe it’s just that street protests don’t really work in the East: more to the east – less chance street protests would work).

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Regardless street protests and laziness, even on the internet alone reaction to the real human rights issues is nowhere close to the SOPA.

#7 Posted by DrLoser on Feb 13, 2012 5:28 PM

@Linsuxoid:

Lazy is fine.

Lazy and following the herd is slightly less fine, but excusable.

Lazy yet defending yourself through some sort of intellectual cop-out (“I didn’t read it, but someone who knows this stuff told me to go out on the streets”) is bleeding obnoxious.

Lazy, copping out on argument, following the herd, and still not being bothered to pay attention to people who are actually standing up to tyranny and being shipped back to a possible death sentence ….

WHICH IS ENTIRELY PREDICATED ON THEIR USE OF INTERNET FREEDOM IN THE FIRST PLACE

... is, IHMO, worthy of Dante’s sixth circle of H3ll [sigh]. Simple thing Catalano and Loderingo as our friend oianutter would say.

A single person doing this is mildly annoying. Ten thousand people choosing to ignore real issues and piss around with something that will almost certainly be struck down by the court is deeply disturbing.

#8 Posted by Linsuxoid on Feb 13, 2012 6:20 PM

Yep, I’ve agreed with you after some consideration. People don’t “protest” even in their lazy way – right from the chair to the twitter (not at the same scale as anti-anti-piracy “internet riots” anyway). No Wikipedia blackouts, no Google Doodles – no nothing.

And what’s especially disturbing is that guy’s tweet didn’t actually have any blasphemy. It was along the lines with “Dear Mohammed, I refuse to treat you as a god because there should be only one of those, I would gladly shake your hand as an equal”. Death penalty for that?!!

#9 Posted by Gesh on Feb 14, 2012 3:30 AM

“PS Did Eastern Europe ever protest for “Internet Freedom”?”

Bulgaria did for sure – on the streets. AFAIK Hungary did too. I haven’t checked the other ones.

#10 Posted by Gesh on Feb 14, 2012 3:31 AM

Oh, but Hungary is more like Central Europe, isn’t it…

#11 Posted by administrator on Feb 14, 2012 4:01 AM

One thing I will say, more people press the “like” button on facebook each day than people vote in the US.

We’re at a point where voting could be done on a per-person basis. The need for political representatives is fading pretty fast. Why vote for someone to represent you when we have the technology to tally millions of votes in a few milliseconds?

Sure, twitter protesting is lazy, but real impartial voting on the internet seems like inevitability to me.

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