It would be refreshing if this industry group took a firm stand against the Great Firewall of China and other national government efforts to censor the Internet. I wonder if that is part of their agenda, as is implied by the main page headings?
I tried to look up the privacy platform page, but got a
502 Bad Gateway
error just now. They evidently still have both reliability and usability issues to fix on the association's own website before they go out to make the world a better place.
Oh, okay, when I go to the Protecting Internet Freedom page
"policies that protect and promote Internet freedom – information should flow freely across national borders, uninhibited by tariffs, regulations and government censorship that are fundamentally inconsistent with the transnational, free and decentralized nature of the Internet. To preserve the Internet’s role as a conduit for free expression, Internet intermediaries must not be held liable for the speech and activity of Internet users."
Opposing censorship is one of my causes, so so far, so good.
Exactly. I remember thinking when all of the big tech companies were asked by the Indian Government to give them access to some data or censor some posts (don't remember the details). But they pretty much all agreed, because they were too afraid they'd be the only company refusing. But if they all joined together to oppose it, I don't think there's much the Government could've done.
Same thing with China. Google suffered and still suffers the consequences of going against their government then. They should've allied with other companies first before deciding to pull out of China.
>> information should flow freely across national borders, uninhibited by tariffs, regulations and government censorship
Funny that they qualify it as government censorship. Because everyone knows that Facebook will censor the crap out of anything they find objectionable. Just a week ago they banned a cartoon of Adam and Eve because it contained nipples. http://tinyurl.com/d5tqnhk
It isn't a violation of free speech for a private publisher or forum to deny you publishing rights on their platform.
Facebook is a private playground. They are allowed complete discretion over what they allow and don't allow on their private network, and this isn't a problem because you can stop using it at any time.
It is much harder to "stop using" your country of citizenship, which is why many people feel that governments should be held to a much higher standard of openness, accountability and freedom.
I disagree. Should the New York Times leave their front door open and allow anyone to walk in off the street and write an un-vetted opinion piece and place it on the front page of tomorrow's paper? That would be ridiculous.
I don't see how you could then turn around and claim that NYT supporting freedom of speech is in any way a double standard. They aren't preventing you from creating your own paper, in which you can say whatever you like. When the government limits your speech, you don't have that option.
> Should the New York Times leave their front door open and allow anyone to walk in off the street and write an un-vetted opinion piece and place it on the front page of tomorrow's paper?
To elaborate, freedom of speech actually does mean the freedom to speak. If you're trying to speak and some asshole is yelling over you, you're being shut down.
> When the government limits your speech, you don't have that option.
More specifically, it's the government's job to protect that speech. When the government doesn't do that, it's nearly as egregious as when it actively censors speech. For instance, if you sent thugs around to threaten your critics, it's the government's job to stop that. There are a lot of angles by which they can justify doing so, and this is a relatively unused one (esp. because it's so abstract), but it's there.
It makes sense if you consider where their main revenues come from: Windows and Office, desktop products. Windows 8 features tighter integration with Internet services, but by and large they are firmly rooted in the idea that your desktop should be doing computation locally. The minute Microsoft calls itself an Internet company is the day that desktop software goes the way of the dinosaur.
I really do like the double scroll bar and the fact that even with the second scroll bar scrolled all the way up, the top of the blog is still cut off. Chrome, Windows 7. Overlapping elements as well as broken tumblr links. It's really quite embarrassing for such big names behind it.
So essentially they let themselves get blackmailed by the US government. Campaign donations all around!
I think that this was the actual goal of legislation like SOPA and PIPA, make the "internet industry" pay up by threatening to threaten their business model. It doesn't seem likely to me that they would really risk seriously damaging a largely US based multi-billion dollar industry, but Google, Facebook and Co. decided to play it safe.
It's good to see Facebook and Google working together on something positive. Probably going to end up doing more lobbying than advocacy. The same thing happened to AARP, so that's just an inevitably of American advocacy groups, I think.
There is a need for such lobbying, but it should be led by individuals as citizens (an international asociation), not by companies with varying degrees of interests.
Still, it's better than nothing (no godaddy in the association, I see!). I do believe Google mostly fights for a free, uncensored web, though once a conflict arises, between shareholders and freedom, as with any company, shareholders always win.
While this does seem like a generally great initiative and idea, I can't help but feel like WW3 or WW4 will be fought between tech companies.
Hopefully this is much less prediction and more science fiction plot.