Weekly Roundup: Internet Censorship and Occupy’s Hurdles

December 9th, 2011 12:45 PMBy 

This originally appeared in Dowser.org.

The World’s Largest Democracy Tries to Curb the Internet

#KapilSabil became one of the most popular hashtags this week on Twitter.  Ironic, considering that Kapil Sabil, India’s Communication and IT minister, called for Internet giants like Facebook and Google to remove “unacceptable” online content.  For a country with over a 100 million web users, Sabil’s comments created a fury as Indians took to Facebook and Twitter to express their frustration with the government.  In fact by the end of the week, #IdiotKapilSabil was just as circulated as the original hashtag.

London-based Tripathi writes in depth on India’s request to curb content, explaining that it’s not just about “unacceptable” images or provocative content: “While Mr. Sibal cloaks his censorship threat in terms of social harmony, political reputation may be more the point. In the first half of 2011, India made 358 requests to Google to remove content from the Internet, of which 255 dealt with criticism of the government. Significantly, India is now one of only four countries to ask to remove content critical of the government.”

Avaaz.org is calling on people to sign a petition to prevent governments from censoring the Internet.   Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton and other international leaders convened at a conference in the Hague on digital freedom.

Clinton said: “When ideas are blocked, information deleted, conversations stifled and people constrained in their choices, the Internet is diminished for all of us. There isn’t an economic Internet and a social Internet and a political Internet. There’s just the Internet.”

In the same week, one of Russia’s most noted anti-corruption bloggers was arrested.  Earlier this month, South Korea suggested that they’d like to consider removing offensive, immoral content as well from the web and mobile applications.

Occupy Movement Faces More Hurdles

More arrests this week at Occupy DC and Occupy Portland. While protesters cite a peaceful movement, local authorities are calling it a “hostile environment.”  A US District Judge ruled in favor of protesters, stating protesters in DC’s McPherson Square have to get a 24-hour notice before eviction.  Given that in recent weeks, countless Occupy movements have been evicted from their sites without notice and with force, this move came as a welcome surprise.

Representative Nadler of NY called for an investigation of the police’s violent behavior towards protesters; but Bloomberg dismissed it, referring to it as “ridiculous.”

And next semester, OWS goes to the classroom.  NYU is adding a course that’ll look at the movement not just in America but also its offspring elsewhere around the world.


Weekend Reads:

  • World’s leaders have been discussing the environment, but what are they missing?  WSJ says the answers lie in micro-level solutions for farming.
  • An LA Times OpEd calls for more support for unemployed Americans, by extending unemployment benefits to more people.
  • Could we see the end to malaria soon?  TIME profiles a new malaria vaccine that’s shown promise.
  • Working on a business for the BoP?  Might be interested in the new G20 Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovation – a call for new enterprising business models for the poor.
  • While we’re all familiar with social enterprise, what about cultural entrepreneurship? StanfordsSocial Innovation Review explains the difference between the two, depicting a new movement towards cultural entrepreneurship.
  • Cathy Clark of Duke’s CASE talks with WEF about the need for more data in social enterprise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s