31 January, 2011

Egypt and the rest of the world outside of AU

Warning: personal & political opinion below. Don't read if you don't like politics ;-)

While writing this, I'm in a plane somewhere above Iran, catching up to what happened in the rest of the world while I was at LCA 2011. And I am reading some weird stuff about Egypt. Their government took the Internet completely off line there. Funny, some USA senators wanted a kill-switch for the web. They've been taking cues from Iran and China lately when it comes to Freedom of Speech and how to deal with it, looks like they got another shining example of how to limit communication. Meanwhile, they are cracking down on Internet action group Anonymous. Interestingly enough, it's perfectly fine to demonstrate in front of the white house or block access to nuclear plants when they try to remove waste. If you do the same on the web, trying to defend freedom of speech (Wikileaks) they break in your house and take you, your family and any silicon-based device they can find. And they get away with it - as someone on osnews said: "[US citizens] wouldn't know it if aliens invaded and then simply took over. That would involve lifting their nose out of their kindle or iPad."

Unfortunately, it ain't just the usual suspects China, USA, Korea & most of the middle east countries. I understand Australia (where I just came from) has also seen several arrests of Anonymous members. And to think that we just listened to a keynote by Mark Pesce talking about how we're way to much under control of governments and large companies like Facebook and we need to start working on Mesh Networking and things like that so nobody can take away our communication... I hope the keynote video goes live asap on blip.tv. Warning, some profanity in there! Further at the conference, some experiments were done with a mobile phone (yes, just a normal android phone) attached to a balloon, providing mesh networking over several kilometers (!!!). Seems like we have the tech - now the incentive has arrived too!

I do see some bad sides of the little-too-extreme kind of transparency wikileaks promotes. And when I hear some people speak, I sometimes wonder if freedom of speech should be limited. But on the other hand - most of the things wikileaks has brought to light SHOULD have been brought to light. Their cables have already resulted in political fall-out in pretty much every country in the world (including my own Netherlands). And in a revolution which seems to be leading to more democracy in Tunesia, maybe in other countries too.

I know, I know. Politics doesn't belong on planet KDE, planet Suuuus or any other planet where I'm aggregated. But seriously. I'm pretty sure none of the regular readers hates to read this. Freedom of speech is something we all work on and care about, isn't it a central value behind Free Software? You, know, the "in a world where speech depends on software, Free Speech depends on Free Software". Looks like we need Free Networks too, now...

And those who didn't know about these events are most likely either interested or will continue sticking their nose in their shiny new iPad. I'm not fond of self-censorship so I speak up.