rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

How citizens are taking on old media bureaucracies: Thousands speak out against Internet censorship

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

It’s been less than a week since the Fair Deal Coalition launched its Internet Voice tool, and already thousands of citizens across the globe are speaking out to share their vision of what a fair digital future should look like.

This impressive response from Internet users comes as old media lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats prepare to discuss extreme new Internet censorship rules—rules that would invade your privacy, criminalize everyday Internet activity, and cost you money—at the next round of secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.

The contrast couldn’t be clearer between our open-door Internet Voice process that encourages everyone to participate, and their closed-door TPP meetings from which citizens are locked out entirely. As Internet Voice participant Daniel points out: “How do you plan to create rules that support the wishes of all the people using the Internet without consulting all of the people who use the Internet? Democratic process needs to be followed...”

It’s great to see thousands of active, engaged citizens taking the time to outline their vision of a digital future that works for all of us – not just for old media bureaucracies. Here’s just a flavour of what people have been saying so far:

On the importance of our free and open Internet:

  • Riese: “The Internet was created to share information, not suppress it! We deserve a #FairDeal”

  • Devyn: “Our lives are empowered by this extraordinary connection and relationship made possible through the wire and wireless. We should all protect this.”

  • Donald: “The Internet does not belong to the few and powerful, it belongs to the world that sustains it. The only reason for such an insane level of secrecy is to hide an outrageous deal that will harm the public to profit the few. Any agreement that decides the future use of the internet MUST include the public that uses it.”

  • Justin: “The internet is a information sharing network that was invented and designed with open minded and sharing ideals. These ideals should be upheld. Will be upheld. Any sort of further restriction only logically correlates to an interest from corporate entities for more capital revenue and invasion of privacy.”

On shaping copyright rules that work for all of us:

  • Monica: “As a part of the special needs community, I want to be able to continue sharing resources with others without the fear of sanctions - as a community we are often isolated and without the Internet, we would be even more so.”

  • Matthew: “As a university student, the fact that my professors are all worried about copyright law is frustrating. Their job should be to pick interesting materials that help their students to learn, not to pick from materials they have access to according to some arcane rules. We deserve a #FairDeal.”

  • Justine says: “Copyright law should benefit the creator and the consumers, not just the industry. Fair use should be a major part of copyright law allowing users to remix, create parodies and fan-generated works, critique, teach, share, etc.”

  • Haefen: “I don't want to see a world where we cling desperately onto the work we create, suing each other for the slightest infringement and cutting people off from the internet if they dare to think differently. This is how cures for terrible diseases and other great innovations are locked away from the public, where they would actually serve a purpose and do real good.”

  • Carl: “As both a consumer and content creator, I believe copyright is necessary to prevent 3rd parties from profiting off of original work. However, if someone is not profiting off of the content, they should not be affected by copyright law in any way, shape or form.”

On the extreme secrecy of the TPP talks:

  • Cy: “If you keep making decisions in secret then the corrupting principles of IP law may stop the Internet from being the most fantastic tool for human achievement ever invented. Stop trying to make these decisions in secret so these things can be discussed and fixed.”

  • Jennifer:  “I don’t want my digital future to be decided in secret. All voices should be represented. The internet should be as democratic as we claim to be as US citizens. #openTPP”

  • Colin: “Government leaders and business lobbyists cannot possibly provide a #FairDeal for the wider internet community. Only open dialogue can deliver this. As creator and consumer I would like to see fair legislation that protects all sides equally #openTPP”

  • Michael: “Lack of transparency by government and others in positions of power have led to the widespread mistrust of authority figures that currently exists. Without an open process, involving *ALL* stakeholders - including the users of services, materials and media - a further decline of confidence in sure to follow. We deserve a #FairDeal”

It’s still early days and your comments are still flooding in – but already we can see a striking contrast between the open and flexible digital future citizens want, and the locked-down digital future being cooked up behind closed doors at secretive TPP talks.

We’ll be pulling all of your input into a crowdsourced plan of our own – a plan for a fair digital future that decision-makers will find impossible to ignore.

Have you shared your vision yet? Don’t miss out on your chance to be part of something huge – have your say right now at http://openmedia.org/DigitalFuture.

 

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.