US Senate Debating Law to Censor Internet, Effectively, At World Level – Avaaz Campaign
APPEALS, 5 Dec 2011
Unlike Internet censorship in China or Iran – which the US denounces vociferously – the fact that the US is such a hub of servers for the whole world means that any censorship to its cyberspace has worldwide repercussions. We report here on a campaign by Avaaz to resist new censorship legislation at present being debated in the Senate.
“Incredible — 800,000 signers in days, Congress is hesitating, and one Senator will block the vote by reading out our petition for hours!! Let’s get to 1 million – sign below and forward this email to everyone —
Right now, the US Congress is debating a law that would give them the power to censor the world’s Internet — creating a blacklist that could target YouTube, WikiLeaks and even Avaaz! Free speech champions in Congress say our outcry will help, and one Senator is even going to block the vote by reading out our petition names for hours! Click below to build an unprecedented global petition for a free and open Internet
Under the new law, the US could force Internet providers to block any website on suspicion of violating copyright or trademark legislation, or even failing to sufficiently police their users’ activities. And, because so much of the Internet’s hosts and hardware are located in the US, their blacklist would clamp down on the free web for all of us.
The vote could happen at any time now, but we can help stop this — champions in Congress want to preserve free speech and tell us that a global outcry would strengthen their hand, and one of them — Senator Wyden — says he will “filibuster” or block any vote on the bill by reading out our petition names until the clock runs out! Let’s urgently raise our voices from every corner of the world to build an unprecedented global petition.
For years, the US has condemned countries like China and Iran for their clampdown on Internet use. But now, the impact of these new censorship laws could be far worse — effectively blocking sites to every Internet user across the globe.
Last year, a similar Internet censorship bill was killed before reaching the US Senate floor, but it’s now back in a different form. Copyright laws already exist and are enforced by courts. But this new law goes much further — granting the US government and big corporations enormous powers to force service providers and search engines to block websites based just on allegations of violations — without a trial or being found guilty of any crime!
Free speech advocates have already raised the alarm, and some key senators are trying to gather enough support to stop this dangerous bill. We have no time to lose. Let’s stand with them to ensure that American lawmakers preserve the right to a free and open Internet as an essential way for people around the world to exchange ideas, share communication and work collectively to build the world we want.
In the past months, from the Arab Spring to the global Occupy Movement, we’ve seen first hand how the Internet can galvanize, unify and change society. Now, if we stand together, we can stop this new attack on Internet freedom. We’ve done it before — in Brazil and Italy, Avaaz members have won major victories in the fight for a free Internet. Let’s galvanize our global web community to crush the most powerful censorship threat that the Internet has ever seen.
Silvia Swinden – Author of “From Monkey Sapiens to Homo Intentional: The Phenomenology of the Nonviolent Revolution” – Adonis & Abbey, London 2006
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