During the renewal of the USA Patriot Act, the various communities on the Internets began frothing at the mouth. I recall one (alleged) Chinese citizen saying something about how China was more free than the United States. Which is (circa 200X) a pretty ridiculous thing to say. In response, I wrote something like “F@KK the President of the United States George W. Bush. Can you say that in about Hu Jintao in China?” He said, no.
In some countries, it is pretty dangerous to be a blogger with a free mind. Its ironic because, for me, that is what blogging is all about. Its sad that bloggers have to watch their collective mouths in countries like China, Iran and others
Apparently, searching for words like “women” in Iran will give you an “404 – Dear Subscriber” page. I’ve heard that searching from behind China’s legendary Great Firewall words like “Freedom” and “Democracy” are not allowed.
Other netizen controllers include (but are not limited to): Saudi Arabia, Syria and Pakistan
Governments with this level of blanket censorship do not understand the nature of the Internet. Organizations around the world like Global Internet Freedom Consortium, Voice of America, and Falun Gong conspire to get around the censorship. Devices such as Tor and Psiphon have been developed to go around the firewalls.
In the war of suppression of ideas, China has actually hired thousands of people to flood the Internet with government messages to out due dissenters.
The best thing China, Pakistan, Iran and other countries can do to control the flow of ideas is to take care of their people not suppress them. The unfortunate thing about taking care of the people is that it requires giving people freedom to speak which is dangerously close to democracy.
Inspired by NY Times article on the subject.