New strategies for fighting Internet censorship
.(1) Blogs and other websites that censor usually don't just censor individuals but censor ideas. Often, I found that I myself (when posting other false names) or other commenters were suspected of being me just because the ideas that were posted were not considered orthodox.
(2) The Psiphon program itself has problems and limitations. It is somewhat difficult to set up, you need to have one or more forwarding computers, and the forwarding computer must be connected to the Internet during use.
(3) There are other, easier ways of circumventing IP address blocking: (1) anonymous proxies, e.g., hidemyass.com (however, some blogs have developed the ability to detect anonymous proxies); and (2) at least one ISP, Time-Warner, changes a user's external IP address -- i.e., the IP addresses seen by other Internet users -- each time a user logs on (but it seems silly to change to another ISP just to avoid IP address blocks, and some determined censors block an ISP's whole range of IP addresses in order to block a single user).
(4) Some people consider gatecrashing websites to be unethical (though I have no qualms about it myself).
Here are the other means I am now pursuing or considering pursuing:
(1) -- changing the Internet culture so that arbitrary censorship is widely frowned upon, especially when the blog or other website is so big and popular that it has become a major public forum. I am amazed at how many people find arbitrary Internet censorship to be acceptable. If, for example, a government agency invited comments about an issue and then arbitrarily discarded some comments, that would be considered criminal. Our ethical principles are lagging behind our technology.
(2) -- discourage referencing of websites that arbitrarily censor. For example, I am now trying to discourage the listing of Panda's Thumb in a scientific database and the citation of Panda's Thumb in scholarly papers. I'd bet that if just one prominent organization or person stopped referencing Panda's Thumb because of the arbitrary censorship, PT would stop the arbitrary censorship sooner than you could say Jack Robinson.* The saying "if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem" applies admirably to organizations and people that condone arbitrary Internet censorship.
(3) -- discourage blog services from offering IP address blocking to bloggers. IP address blocking is particularly irresponsible and disreputable because large numbers of Internet users can be affected when an ISP's proxy IP address is blocked or when a range of an ISP's IP addresses is blocked. Also, ISP's should be encouraged to not use fixed IP addresses for their proxies. IP address blocking should result in an immediate boycott of the offending website.
(4) -- discourage the granting of web awards to websites that arbitrarily censor.
I know that many websites besides Panda's Thumb practice arbitrary censorship, but I am targeting PT in particular for the following reasons:
(1) PT is so big and popular that it is has become a major public forum.
(2) PT is listed in a scientific database.
(3) Jay Wexler has cited Panda's Thumb in a law journal article.
(4) PT received two major web awards.
I urge readers to join my campaign to fight arbitrary censorship by PT and other websites. If you wait until you yourself are censored, it will be too late to do anything about it. Below is a list of PT bloggers' email addresses (the ones I could find) and I suggest that you include them in protest emails that you send to third parties. When I sent the PT bloggers a copy of a protest letter to Jay Wexler, I got immediate angry responses from two of them, so I obviously touched a raw nerve! Let's add the motto "show them" to the "I'm from Missouri" motto "show me."
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
For your convenience, here is the other contact info that you need:
Boston University - School of Law
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston , MA 02215
The law journal that published his paper may be contacted at --
Washington University Law Quarterly
Contact: Editor in Chief
Postal: Washington University School of Law
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130 USA
Protests of Thomson Scientific's listing of Panda's Thumb in a scientific database called the ISI Web of Knowledge may be made by means of the contact information listed here. Several Thomson Scientific offices have toll-free 1-800 numbers -- the toll-free number for the headquarters office for the Americas is 1 800 336 4474. Contact information for the ISI (Information Sciences Institute) is here.
* I am always curious about the origins of common figures of speech. I used to think that the expression "before you can say Jack Robinson" was named for the pioneering black major-league baseball player who was a household name in Brooklyn when he played for the Brooklyn (now Los Angeles) Dodgers. However, one reference gives this explanation:
This expression originated in the 1700s, but the identity of Jack Robinson has been lost. Grose's Classical Dictionary (1785) said he was a man who paid such brief visits to acquaintances that there was scarcely time to announce his arrival before he had departed, but it gives no further documentation.
However, another reference says,
Grose says that the saying had its birth from a very volatile gentleman of that name, who used to pay flying visits to his neighbours, and was no sooner announced than he was off again; but the following couplet does not confirm this derivation:A warke it ys as easie to be done
As tys to saye Jacke! robys on.
An old Play, cited by Halliwell: Arch. Dict.
Labels: Internet censorship (1 of 2)