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Quotes on internet censorship

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Quotes on internet censorship
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Quotes. Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy and security lawyer and executive director of, argues that educating children.

Internet Quotation Appendix

This is a listing of quotations as a complement to my paper� Why the Internet is Good. It is not the end all and be all of cyber quotations. Instead, it is a selection of quotations that I believe in some sense capture the governance of memes as social norms on the Internet.

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"Architecture is politics." Kapor, Mitchell. (EFF) [source: confirmed by Kapor, estimates it was first said in 1991.]

"Inside every working anarchy, there's an Old Boy Network."

Kapor, Mitchell. (EFF) [source: John Perry Barlow likening Burning Man to "another working anarchy, the Internet." Confirmed by Kapor: "It was something I came up with during my EFF era, early 1990's. I used it a lot in speeches, but have no record of specifically where/when I came up with it.I was marvelling at how the pre-commercial Internet managed to operate. I found out it was because folks like Steve Wolfe and the NSF, Rick Adams at UUNET, and Vint Cerf used to reach agreements about what to do." ]

"We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code."IETF Credo. David Clark (MIT). [source: confirmed. Clark says, "This is a quote from a talk I gave to the IETF in 1992. The actual quote, printed on lots of t-shirts, is ... "]

"As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from government intrusion." Judge Dalzell, CDA panel. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." John Gilmore (EFF).� [source: Gilmore states: "I have never found where I first said this. But everyone believes it was me, as do I. If you find an appearance of this quote from before March '94, please let me know." Also in NYT 1/15/96, quoted in CACM 39(7):13. Later, Russell Nelson comments (and is confirmed by Gilmore) that on December 05 1993 Nelson sent Gilmore an email stating, "Great quote of you in Time magazine: 'The net treats censorship as a defect and routes around it.'"]

variant: "The Internet interprets the US Congress as system damage and routes around it." [source: apparently Jeanne DeVoto.]

related: "You can't take something off the Internet - it's like taking pee out of a pool." NewsRadio. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway." Tim May. [source: primary. (May's signature circa 1996 as found in many archives.)]

"How many of you have broken no laws this month? That's the kind of society I want to build. I want a guarantee -- with physics and mathematics, not with laws -- that we can give ourselves real privacy of personal communications." John Gilmore (EFF). [source: Gilmore says: "Another memorable part of my speech on Privacy, Technology and the Open Society from the First Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy in 1991."]

"In Cyberspace, the First Amendment is a local ordinance."John Perry Barlow (EFF). [source: Kapor in forward to Big Dummies Guide to Internet.]

"On the Internet, Nobody Knows You�re a Dog." Peter Steiner. The New Yorker, page 61 of July 5 (Vol.69 (LXIX) no. 20), 1993. (graphic) There are many variants, including cartoons. [source: primary]

"Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge." A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. John Perry Barlow. Davos, Switzerland. February 8, 1996. [source:primary]

"You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions." A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. John Perry Barlow. Davos, Switzerland. February 8, 1996. [source:primary]

"We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before." A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. John Perry Barlow. Davos, Switzerland. February 8, 1996. [source:primary]

"Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds." John Perry Barlow (EFF). In Decrypting the Puzzle Palace. Communications of the ACM. Vol.35, No. 7 (July 1992), pp. 25-31. [source: primary]

"[The Internet,] A Superhighway through the Wasteland?"Mitchell Kapor and Jerry Berman. New York Times Op-Ed Page, Wednesday, November 24, 1993. [source: primary]

"The Internet isn't free. It just has an economy that makes no sense to capitalism." Brad Shapcott. Rule $19.99 of Usenet Rules. [source: Net.Legends FAQ]

"Cyberspace undeniably reflects some form of geography." Justice O'Connor. [source: none]

"Technology is neither good nor bad, nor even neutral. Technology is one part of the complex of relationships that people form with each other and the world around them; it simply cannot be understood outside of that concept." Samuel Collins. [source: unconfirm, quotation page]

"Congress will pass a law restricting public comment on the Internet to individuals who have spent a minimum of one hour actually accomplishing a specific task while on line." Andrew Grove, Intel Corp CEO, NY Times, 1/2/96. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Cutting through the acronyms and argot that littered the hearing testimony, the Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation. The Government may not, through the CDA, interrupt that conversation." Judge Dalzell, CDA panel. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Your clickstream is your vote." Joseph Reagle (W3C). [source: Guest lecture at MIT's 4.195: Designing Electronic Commerce and Online Government class. Later publically expressed in correspondance (9/98) with Stanton McCandlish (EFF) on the Australian links list.]

"Just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so the strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects." Judge Dalzell, CDA panel. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The single unifying force is what we don't want government running things." Joe Simms (ICANN counsel.) [source: Lessig, Governance and the DNS Process.]

" a powerful defensive weapon for free people. It offers a technical guarantee of privacy, regardless of who is running the government... It's hard to think of a more powerful, less dangerous tool for liberty." Esther Dyson, EFF. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

Metaphors and Similes

"Usenet: the Global Watering Hole." EFF's Extended Internet Guide. [source: primary?]

"Describing the Internet as the Network of Networks is like calling the Space Shuttle, a thing that flies." John Lester.[uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant." Mitch Kapor. [uncofirmed source: Adam. (Reagle: I know this expression existed prior to its application to the Net because it was originally about MIT and was coined by Former MIT President Jerome Weisner, "Getting an Education from MIT is like taking a drink from a Fire Hose.'' In 1991 students captured the expression in a clever hack.) Kapor says it, "sounds like something I'd say. As you note, it's simply a variation on an old theme."]

"In case you haven't heard, the Internet is not a superhighway." Bill Washburn, Internet World, Feb 95. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Internet mailing lists are like Fox television shows. They have really cool previews, and they get you all excited about them, but they just don't live up to their promises." John Dobbin. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet is like a gold-rush; the only people making money are those who sell the pans." Will Hobbs, IUMA. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet is like a large jellyfish. You can't step on it. You can't go around it. You have to go through it.." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet is the most powerful magnifier of slack ever invented.." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The net's a cross between an elephant and a white elephant sale: it never forgets, and it's always crap." Nemo, writing for Suck, on the nature of the Internet. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea -- massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind- boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it." Gene Spafford, 1992. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"The Internet is a telephone system that's gotten uppity." Clifford Stoll. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]


"There's a lot of weirdos on the Internet." Miss Texas Teen USA (during 1998 pageant) [source: unconfirmed web pages]

"We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." Robert Wilensky [source: unconfirmed web pages]

variant: "There's a statistical theory that if you gave a million monkeys typewriters and set them to work, they'd eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Thanks to the Internet, we now know this isn't true." Ian Hart. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

variant: "There ARE 1 Million monkeys sitting at 1 Million typewriters... they can be found right here on the Internet." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web.... Now even my cat has its own page." President Clinton, during announcement of Next Generation Internet initiative, 1996. [source: unconfirmed web pages]

"Some jerk infected the Internet with an outright lie. It shows how easy it is to do and how credulous people are." Kurt Vonnegut. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"America Online customers are upset because the company has decided to allow advertising in its chat rooms. I can see why: you got computer sex, you can download pornography, people are making dates with 10 year-olds. Hey, what's this? A Pepsi ad? They're ruining the integrity of the Internet!" -- Jay Leno. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Clearly, the greatest obstacle to the Internet's mass acceptance is its nonportability. Put bluntly: it can't be browsed while relaxing on the toilet. A shame really, considering how well suited much of its content is for precisely that arena." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"I think the Internet is underhyped. We think Java is bigger than Inet; so if Inet is even bigger than the hype, and Java is even bigger than that, well, you see where this is going." Sun CTO Eric Schmidt. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Internet users are flocking to the Vatican's new Web site (so they say). It turns out though, that most visitors are there to confess after visiting the Cindy Crawford site. Now, the faithful don't have to kiss the Pope's ring - you just double click on it.." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"On the Internet, some people find love at first byte.." [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet, of course, is more than a place to find pictures of people having sex with dogs." Philip Elmer-Dewitt, Time Magazine, 7/3/95 p 40. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Unfortunately, it seems that the way Usenet is set up, women are the zebras, and men are the lions, and the Internet is one big Serenghetti." Chris Zelek. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Well why don't you call the Internet and ask their techincal support personnel for help?" AOL tech support person. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"[The Internet provides] a delivery system for pathological states of mind." Phillip Adams. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Spending an evening on the World Wide Web is much like sitting down to a dinner of Cheetos [sic]," says Cliff Stoll, a Berkeley astronomer who has been using the Internet since 1975."Two hours later your fingers are yellow and you're no longer hungry, but you haven't been nourished." WSJ, 1/25/96. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"If some unemployed punk in New Jersey, can get a cassette to make love to Elle McPherson for $19.95, this virtual reality stuff is going to make crack look like Sanka." - Dennis Miller [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"This is the snobbery of the people on the Mayflower looking down their noses at the people who came over ON THE SECOND BOAT!" - Mitch Kapor, on Usenet elitism. unkown [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]


"Angela has no friends or neighbors who can identify her, because for four years she has lived entirely on the Internet." Caryn James reviewing The Net. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"For the cost of a burger and fries, every family can now join the Internet community, said Tim Oren, vice president and general manager of CompuServe's Internet Division." M2 Presswire 161095. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"The Internet is a shallow and unreliable electronic repository of dirty pictures, inaccurate rumors, bad spelling and worse grammar, inhabited largely by people with no demonstrable social skills." Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/11/97. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

Techie Culture

"Many web generations ago, the ARPA knights started a revolution against the telco circuit-switching empire and determined to destroy the death stars and their twisted pairs. I was one of those knights when our leader Vint Cerf, Father of the Internet, crossed over to the telco side of the force. Cerf Vader and legions of imperial stormlawyers are now defending the death stars against the insignificant ispwoks. The previous speaker in this forum series, the Father of the Web, Tim-Berners-Lee-Po -- who speaks over 6,000,000,000 dialects -- has been captured by Java the Hutt. You are Luke and Leia. The death stars must be destroyed and I foresee it." Bob Metcalfe (Ethernet inventor, 3Com founder, now VP at IDG). Probably first used at the MIT Enterprise Forum satellite broadcast from MIT's Kresge Auditorium, June 26, 1997. [source: confirmed from author.]

"Ring around the Internet, A packet with a bit not set, ENQ ACK ENQ ACK, We all go down!" Allon Stern, first written around 1990 while at the University of Maryland. [unattributed at source: Adam, confirmed by author.]

"The Internet is full. Go away." Networld/Interop '95 t-shirt. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Greater Internet Ladies' Knitting Circle and Terrorist Society." Leslie Devlin. [uncofirmed source: Adam]

"Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others." Jon Postel. (IETF) IETF networking protocol design maxim. [source: USC]

"Usenet is 'the last uncensored mass medium.'" Steve Crocker <[email protected]> [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

The New Testament offers the basis for modern computer coding theory, in the form of an affirmation of the binary number system. But let your communication be Yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. -- Matthew 5:37 unknown. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." John von Neumann. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"It was a typical net.exercise -- a screaming mob pounding on a greasy spot on the pavement, where used to lie the carcass of a dead horse." unkown [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"You couldn't get a clue during the clue mating season in a field full of horny clues if you smeared your body with clue musk and did the clue mating dance..." Edward Flaherty. [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

"Don't anthropomorphize computers. They don't like it." unkown [uncofirmed source: Eclipse]

Web Sources:

Quotations about censorship and freedom of speech, from The Quote Garden.

Barack Obama criticises internet censorship at meeting in China

quotes on internet censorship

Barack Obama criticised internet censorship as he spoke to students in Shanghai today and praised freedom of expression and political participation.

The US president told the gathering of 400 young people that his country regarded such liberties as universal values. But he stopped short of direct reference to human rights abuses in China, as some activists had urged. Aides have said that Obama, who arrived tonight in the capital, Beijing, last night, will raise them in his meetings with Chinese leaders.

He will hold a joint press conference with President Hu Jintao and visit the Forbidden City on a brief sightseeing break in the bilateral discussions. The two men met for dinner tonight.

Sinologists in the US have long encouraged Washington to reach out to the Chinese public, as well as its leaders. But yesterday's meeting underlined the difficulties of doing so.

The event had been billed as a town hall-style meeting, but Chinese officials rejected US proposals that 1,000 people should attend and that it should be broadcast live nationwide.

Instead, it was streamed on the White House site, broadcast live on a local Shanghai television channel and transmitted in text form on state news agency Xinhua's website. Most Chinese citizens will have seen only brief extracts – not including the remarks on censorship.

Although Obama selected questioners from the audience, those in the hall were picked by officials at Shanghai institutions. At least two of those who spoke were thought to be student officers of the Communist Youth League. Other questions were posted by internet users.

One issues raised concerned arms sales to Taiwan – in a question Obama did not directly answer – another about the president's Nobel Peace Prize.

It was the US ambassador Jon Huntsman who read out the question about China's "Great Firewall" and the blocking of Twitter, posted on a US government site. "I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable," Obama said. "They can begin to think for themselves."

He described himself as "a big supporter of non-censorship" and said criticism made him a better president.

The comments on web censorship were carried on Xinhua, though bloggers reported that they disappeared from another news site.

One Twitter user wrote: "I will not forget this morning; I heard, on my shaky internet connection, a question about our own freedom which only a foreign leader can discuss."

But influential Chinese blogger Michael Anti wrote: "Except for the internet freedom Q&A, Obama was too soft, carefully avoiding confronting China, so it made his town hall fail."

In brief opening remarks Obama repeated earlier assurances that America welcomed China's rise, saying co-operation had made both countries more prosperous and secure. He also said that the US did not seek to impose any system of government on other nations.

But he continued: "These freedoms of expression, and worship, of access to information and political participation - we believe they are universal rights. They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any nation."

His predecessors Bill Clinton and George Bush were more explicit in highlighting concerns – while praising Chinese advances – when they spoke to students.

Nicholas Bequelin, Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Obama had framed liberties as a question of political culture rather than international legal norms.

"What's important is to put a degree of pressure on the Chinese government for its repressive practices," he said. "You cannot do that without a degree of straight talk. That's not what happened at this meeting … What was needed was to include things relevant to what is happening in the country –as he did in Cairo, for example."

Campaigners reported that dozens of activists, petitioners and dissidents have been detained ahead of Obama's arrival. Such round-ups are common during major visits.

The US president also suggested the two countries now shared the "burden of leadership".

"There are very few global challenges that can be solved unless the US and China agree," he told a questioner, citing climate change.

"There are very few global challenges that can be solved unless the US and China agree," he told a questioner, citing climate change.

Officials still hope for progress on climate change in the bilateral talks, despite Obama's acknowledgement this weekend that time had run out to secure a legally binding deal at Copenhagen.

Economic and trade issues will also be a high priority, as will North Korea and Iran's nuclear programmes and the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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The Best Quotes About Censorship

quotes on internet censorship

(Credit: Facebook)

Earlier this month, NCAC wrote a letter in support of Miranda Taylor, a student at Richmond Early College in North Carolina, whose school canceled their yearbook, in part, because of her senior quote: “Build that wall”, attributed to President Donald Trump. The school claimed that because of their discovery of "inappropriate comments", the yearbook would not be distributed this year and copies already released would be taken back. NCAC wrote to the Principal to criticize the decision, underlining that a school has a responsibility to prepare young adults “to exercise the responsibilities of citizenship by promoting democratic values such as free expression, tolerance, and diversity—including diversity of opinion.”

After the letter was sent, Taylor wrote to NCAC to thank us for our support and so we decided to interview her, to hear her perspective on the incident.

Note: Interview edited for length and clarity. 

How did you first learn that the yearbooks would be cancelled, and how did you react?

I was at home, and one of my friends texted me that she had heard that the school was taking the yearbook back because of my quote. I was sitting with my mom and told her what my friend told me, and my mom said, “There’s no way, no they didn’t.” And I was shocked and felt like it was a joke.

How do you know that your quote was responsible for the cancellation?

I knew a girl had complained to the principal about my quote. I knew two others, who were against Trump, had also complained. The principal never mentioned [the Trump quote] specifically to me. There was also another quote involved. We had the central office come speak to our school as a whole. They mentioned another student’s quote was “hair bigger than your future” or something. He has an afro. They mentioned that one. They did never mention my quote specifically. However, the majority of students believe the yearbook was pulled because of me.

Why did you select ‘Build the wall’ as your yearbook quote?
I’ve been a big Trump supporter since he started running. This is the first big election I’ve been involved in. I liked a lot of his policies and how outspoken he was. I liked his immigration policy.

Have there been any other cases of censorship at your school regarding political expression?

Students were once called into the central office, where we were told that we were not allowed to wear political apparel that might offend someone from then on. There had been one guy who had worn a Trump shirt to support his candidacy. He had worn it all year long. The office called his home to have someone bring a different shirt for him to wear.

What would you like to see your school do to make sure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again?

I think with this whole situation, it’s important for the school to know that some other people have different mindsets. And that’s okay if it’s not what they personally like. I would like to see the school take steps to realize that people have different opinions and different views and have the right to support who they want to.

You mentioned in local newspapers that you stand by your quote. Why is this important?

Because I do have the right, under the First Amendment, to support who I want to. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been involved in politics for the past three years and have been a big supporter of Trump. Several of my friends knew I was going to put in a yearbook quote about Trump or about America, because those are things I feel strongly about, and I should be able to express what political opinions I want to.

Oct 31, 2015- Explore muttaqiena's board "Anti Internet Censorship" on Pinterest. See more ideas about Me quotes, Quotes and Sayings.

German Journalism Practice Raises Censorship Question

quotes on internet censorship

LONDON — Score one for the censors.

In the battle over what limits should be imposed on online free speech, regulators worldwide are on the offensive.

France has proposed banning so-called fake news during the country's future elections, while in Germany, new hate speech rules impose fines of up to €50 million on social media companies that don't delete harmful content within 24 hours of being notified.

The growing push to control what can be published online will again take center stage this week when the European Commission publishes its biannual report Thursday on how Facebook, Google and Twitter are handling the hate speech lurking in social media's darker nooks and crannies. (The likely outcome: EU policymakers will complain that companies aren't doing enough, and threaten them with more regulation.)

Not to be outdone, U.S. lawmakers are also getting in on the action, with Congress expected to rake tech executives over the coals Wednesday for dragging their feet when clamping down on extremist and terrorist material. (Congress already berated Big Tech last year for allowing Russian-backed content to be widely shared online during the 2016 U.S. election).

Let's not forget the role tech companies played in getting us here.

Freedom of speech advocates warn of an Orwellian digital dystopia where government apparatchiks dictate what we can read and write on the web. For those worried about online safety, the new rules will force tech companies to finally take responsibility for what is posted on their platforms, which have more users, collectively, than countries have citizens.

* * *

Whatever side you're on, these developments offer a glimpse at the future of the internet: one in which more online messages, videos and posts will be deleted because of legislative decrees or, more likely, preemptive censorship by tech companies that fear regulatory reprisal.

Call it the rule of self-preservation. Social media companies talk big about free speech. But if it's a choice between irritating free speech advocates by taking down a few arguably tasteless posts or facing furious politicians angry over online content, there's only going to be one outcome.

Don't just blame politicians for the coming era of online censorship. Let's not forget the role tech companies played in getting us here.

In outsourcing the monitoring of speech to tech companies, politicians are doing both Big Tech and their citizens a disservice.

For years, social media companies have hidden behind claims that they were merely owners of "neutral" platforms whose technology — and increasingly large profits — could not be held responsible for what was posted there.

It took extreme events (like Russia's involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the online bullying of recently arrived refugees in Germany) for Big Tech to admit the blindingly obvious: They are media companies. And that, just as traditional media companies are responsible for what they publish, social media companies are answerable, in the end, for what's posted on their platforms.

To be fair, Facebook, Google and Twitter have taken steps to combat the worst content offenders, using artificial intelligence to automatically block terrorist propaganda or hiring reams of so-called "content moderators" to manually check for illegal material online (arguably the worst job in tech). Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, even made "fixing" the social network his New Year's resolution for 2018.

And, to a degree, it's worked: Social media companies removed 59 percent of suspected hate speech across Europe last May compared with just 28 percent in December 2016, according to a recent EU-wide study. But that's like saying a city's fire department successfully put out just 59 percent of all suspected local fires — it's a good start, but nothing to write home about.

* * *

There's a more serious problem, though — one that lawmakers should acknowledge as they develop new censorship laws.

As strong as the case may be for expunging repugnant material, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to decide what social media posts are actually illegal, especially whenthe definition for illegality can vary between countries.

U.S. lawmakers are also getting in on the action | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

What's legitimate free speech to some represents harmful material to others. The recent (temporary) blocking of Beatrix von Storch, a far-right German politician, on Twitter after she posted an anti-Muslim message is just the latest example of tough decisions social media companies must now make to placate local lawmakers.

In outsourcing the monitoring of speech to tech companies, politicians are doing both Big Tech and their citizens a disservice.

Facebook, Google and Twitter may have more technical prowess and manpower dedicated to dealing with the problem. But these companies — whose quarterly earnings and investors' demands often run counter to governments' content policing plans — should not be the ones having to decide what can be allowed through digital safety nets.

In this new era of global online censorship, tough calls will have to be made between free speech and online safety, and elected officials, not opaque tech companies, must be the ones to judge what content crosses the line. If you're going to censor the web, you better make sure those doing so are accountable to voters.

Mark Scott is chief technology correspondent at POLITICO.

Related stories on these topics:

I was marvelling at how the pre-commercial Internet managed to operate. "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

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