Waging Peace on the Internet

| May 6, 2002

O ne of the greatest promises of the internet is the opportunity to disseminate information freely among people, without the interference of government or the influence of corporate media. However, governments across the globe have found ways to protect their interests by putting up firewalls and threatening Web publishers. According to Oxblood Ruffin, writing in The Register UK , censorship is a "spreading sickness that plagues cyberspace." Most offending countries practice censorship by claiming to protect their citizens from pornography, but ultimately use it to keep challenging opinions and information from the people. But a movement is afoot to stop Web censorship in all its forms. The Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) and their subsect Hacktivismo are working to subvert censorship with "disruptive compliance" rather than civil disobedience, with an ultimate goal of creating careful networks of users who can trust each other and work together to preserve online freedom. There is evidence to suggest the effectiveness of these networks. Ruffin describes a collaboration between Chinese hackers and human rights workers which has been productive. "The main challenge for hackers," Ruffin concludes, "is to keep focused on the goal of liberating the Internet."
--Maria Opitz
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