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Internet Freedom Threatened

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Digital democracy is the last frontier of free and open expression, the only reliable independent space for real news, information and analysis – enabling anyone to freely express views on any topics.

Government censorship remains an ominous possibility. Last spring, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tory Manifesto called for Britain becoming “the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the Internet.”

She urged government control over what people write, post and share online, the end of UK digital democracy if enacted into law.

Britain’s Investigatory Powers Act requires Internet companies to maintain records on customers’ browsing histories, along with ministerial power to breach online privacy, including encrypted content – on the phony pretext of assuring no “safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online.”

Her scheme isn’t about “protect(ing) the security of people and ensur(ing) the fairness of the rules by which people and businesses (must) abide.”

It’s a sinister plan control online content, prohibiting what Tories want suppressed, government acting as gatekeeper.

In early September, international advocacy group European Digital Rights reported a leaked European Union document (dated August 30), revealing that Estonia (serving as EU president) “push(ed) (for) Member States to strengthen indiscriminate internet surveillance, and to follow in the footsteps of China regarding online censorship.”

“Standing firmly behind its belief that filtering the uploads is the way to go, the Presidency has worked hard in order to make the proposal for the new copyright Directive even more harmful than the Commission’s original proposal, and pushing it further into the realms of illegality.”

The proposal is a blatant attempt to end EU digital democracy, letting member states censor and control content if adopted.

Following last week’s London commuter train bombing, a possible false flag, not terrorism as claimed, Trump called for “cut(ting) off” the Internet because of extremists.

“Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner,” he roared. “The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!”

UK hardliners urged the same thing. Congressional Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers legislation (SESTA) proposes the wrong solution to a serious problem. Introduced on August 1, a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing is scheduled for September 19.

If enacted, it’ll weaken online free expression. It would shift blame for users’ speech to web platforms, forcing them to closely monitor and restrict content – censorship by other means.

Trump wants Net Neutrality eliminated, digital democracy’s holy grail. His extremist FCC chairman Ajit Pai advocates letting cable and telecommunication companies control, censor and discriminate against online users.

Digital democracy is threatened in America, Britain and other European countries. Trump, Theresa May, Estonia and likely other EU leaders want it eliminated – a free expression right essential to preserve.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.