Global Networks Are Necessary To Overcome Abusive Governments And Oligarchy

Here are a few key paragraphs:


Yesterday afternoon, the official Twitter account of Brazil’s Federal Police (its FBI equivalent) posted an extraordinary announcement. The bureaucratically nonchalant tone it used belied its significance. The tweet, at its core, purports to vest in the federal police and the federal government that oversees it the power to regulate, control and outright censor political content on the internet that is assessed to be “false,” and to “punish” those who disseminate it. The new power would cover both social media posts and entire websites devoted to politics…

Tellingly, these police officials vow that they will proceed to implement the censorship program even if no new law is enacted. They insist that no new laws are necessary by pointing to a pre-internet censorship law enacted in 1983 – during the time Brazil was ruled by a brutal military dictatorship that severely limited free expression and routinely imprisoned dissidents…

The move to obtain new censorship authority over the internet by Brazilian police officials would be disturbing enough standing alone given Brazil’s status as the world’s fifth most populous country and second-largest in the hemisphere. But that Brazil’s announcement closely follows very similar efforts unveiled last week by French President Emmanuel Macron strongly suggests a trend in which government are now exploiting concerns over “Fake News” to justify state control over the internet…

Both Brazil and France cited the same purported justification for obtaining censorship powers over the internet: namely, the dangers posed by alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. But no matter how significant one views Russian involvement in the U.S. election, it is extremely difficult to see how – beyond rank fear-mongering – that could justify these types of draconian censorship powers by Brasília and Paris…

All censorship efforts rest on the same tactic: generating fear over exaggerated threats posed by villains, sometime domestic ones but more often foreign villains. The Brazilian and French tactic for inducing the public to acquiesce to this censorship faithfully follows that script…

Ill-defined terms that become popularized in political discourse are, by definition, terms of propaganda rather than reliable, meaningful indicators of problems. And invariably, they wreak all kinds of predictable havoc and inevitably give rise to abuses of power. More than anything else, such terms – which, by design, mean whatever powerful groups wielding them want them to mean – so often produce arbitrary censorship in the name of combatting them. Just consider two similarly ill-defined but popular propagandistic terms – “terrorism” and “hate speech” – which have been appropriated by governments all over the world to justify the most extreme, repressive powers.

The last decade has seen multiple countries on every continent – including the world’s most repressive regimes – obliterate basic civil liberties in the name of stopping “terrorism” – by which they mean little other than “those who oppose our regime.” And then there’s “hate speech,” which can sometimes be used to silence Nazis or overt racists, but also can be and often is used to silence a wide range of left-wing views, from war opposition to advocacy of Palestinian rights. State censorship is always dangerous, but the danger is exponentially magnified when the censorship targets (terrorism, hate speech, Fake News) lack clear definition…



< Prev 1 2 3 4 Next >

Sign Up

Get the InvestingChannel
Free e-Letter Today

Learn More

Independent market opinion, analysis and ideas - delivered every business day

Premium market opinions, analysis, and ideas - delivered every business day

Editor's Picks