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Circumvention is not enough

Rebecca MacKinnon argues forcefully in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that merely funding circumvention tools is not enough if the State Department really wants to support Internet freedom around the world. Circumvention tools enable citizens to get around government censorship of the Net, but these tools are often imperfect, carry their own risks, and require more than average technical skill. Meanwhile, Rebecca argues, there are many threats to Internet freedom other than government blocking of access fo Web sites. She writes:

A range of fast-evolving technical problems requires an array of solutions. Activists around the world need technical assistance and training in order to fight cyber-attacks more effectively. We need more coordination between human rights activists, technology companies and policy makers just to understand the problems, and how they can be expected to evolve in the next few years.

What\\\’s more, existing research indicates that many of the problems aren\\\’t technical, but rather political, legal, regulatory and even social. Other obstacles to free expression are probably best addressed by the private sector: Social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter should be urged to adhere to business practices that maximize the safety of activists using their platforms.

2 Responses to “Circumvention is not enough”

  1. On the surface TBL goes slightly into different directions, but his article in Scientific American has many to do with the protection of the Web from variety of threats:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=long-live-the-web

    Great article

  2. >What\\\’s more, existing research indicates that many of the problems aren\\\’t technical, but rather political, legal, regulatory and even social.

    What about commercial threats? Also the potential death of web neutrality where business can buy users faster access to their site via ISPs.

    The picture seems pretty grim… or no?


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