Rebecca MacKinnon: Let’s take back the Internet!

Rebecca MacKinnon: Let’s take back the Internet!

So I begin with an advertisement inspired by George Orwell that Apple ran in 1984. (Video) Big Brother: We are one people with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will fight them with their own confusion. We shall prevail. Narrator: On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984.” Rebecca MacKinnon: So the underlying message of this video remains very powerful even today. Technology created by innovative companies will set us all free. Fast-forward more than two decades: Apple launches the iPhone in China and censors the Dalai Lama out along with several other politically sensitive applications at the request of the Chinese government for its Chinese app store. The American political cartoonist Mark Fiore also had his satire application censored in the United States because some of Apple’s staff were concerned it would be offensive to some groups. His app wasn’t reinstated until he won the Pulitzer Prize. The German magazine Stern, a news magazine, had its app censored because the Apple nannies deemed it to be a little bit too racy for their users, and despite the fact that this magazine is perfectly legal for sale on newsstands throughout Germany. And more controversially, recently, Apple censored a Palestinian protest app after the Israeli government voiced concerns that it might be used to organize violent attacks. So here’s the thing. We have a situation where private companies are applying censorship standards that are often quite arbitrary and generally more narrow than the free speech constitutional standards that we have in democracies. Or they’re responding to censorship requests by authoritarian regimes that do not reflect consent of the governed. Or they’re responding to requests and concerns by governments that have no jurisdiction over many, or most, of the users and viewers who are interacting with the content in question. So here’s the situation. In a pre-Internet world, sovereignty over our physical freedoms, or lack thereof, was controlled almost entirely by nation-states. But now we have this new layer of private sovereignty in cyberspace. And their decisions about software coding, engineering, design, terms of service all act as a kind of law that shapes what we can and cannot do with our digital lives. And their sovereignties, cross-cutting, globally interlinked, can in some ways challenge the sovereignties of nation-states in very exciting ways, but sometimes also act to project and extend it at a time when control over what people can and cannot do with information has more effect than ever on the exercise of power in our physical world. After all, even the leader of the free world needs a little help from the sultan of Facebookistan if he wants to get reelected next year. And these platforms were certainly very helpful to activists in Tunisia and Egypt this past spring and beyond. As Wael Ghonim, the Google-Egyptian-executive by day, secret-Facebook-activist by night, famously said to CNN after Mubarak stepped down, “If you want to liberate a society, just give them the Internet.” But overthrowing a government is one thing and building a stable democracy is a bit more complicated. On the left there’s a photo taken by an Egyptian activist who was part of the storming of the Egyptian state security offices in March. And many of the agents shredded as many of the documents as they could and left them behind in piles. But some of the files were left behind intact, and activists, some of them, found their own surveillance dossiers full of transcripts of their email exchanges, their cellphone text message exchanges, even Skype conversations. And one activist actually found a contract from a Western company for the sale of surveillance technology to the Egyptian security forces. And Egyptian activists are assuming that these technologies for surveillance are still being used by the transitional authorities running the networks there. And in Tunisia, censorship actually began to return in May — not nearly as extensively as under President Ben Ali. But you’ll see here a blocked page of what happens when you try to reach certain Facebook pages and some other websites that the transitional authorities have determined might incite violence. In protest over this, blogger Slim Amamou, who had been jailed under Ben Ali and then became part of the transitional government after the revolution, he resigned in protest from the cabinet. But there’s been a lot of debate in Tunisia about how to handle this kind of problem. In fact, on Twitter, there were a number of people who were supportive of the revolution who said, “Well actually, we do want democracy and free expression, but there is some kinds of speech that need to be off-bounds because it’s too violent and it might be destabilizing for our democracy. But the problem is, how do you decide who is in power to make these decisions and how do you make sure that they do not abuse their power? As Riadh Guerfali, the veteran digital activist from Tunisia, remarked over this incident, “Before, things were simple: you had the good guys on one side and the bad guys on the other. Today, things are a lot more subtle.” Welcome to democracy, our Tunisian and Egyptian friends. The reality is that even in democratic societies today, we do not have good answers for how you balance the need for security and law enforcement on one hand and protection of civil liberties and free speech on the other in our digital networks. In fact, in the United States, whatever you may think of Julian Assange, even people who are not necessarily big fans of his are very concerned about the way in which the United States government and some companies have handled Wikileaks. Amazon webhosting dropped Wikileaks as a customer after receiving a complaint from U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, despite the fact that Wikileaks had not been charged, let alone convicted, of any crime. So we assume that the Internet is a border-busting technology. This is a map of social networks worldwide, and certainly Facebook has conquered much of the world — which is either a good or a bad thing, depending on how you like the way Facebook manages its service. But borders do persist in some parts of cyberspace. In Brazil and Japan, it’s for unique cultural and linguistic reasons. But if you look at China, Vietnam and a number of the former Soviet states, what’s happening there is more troubling. You have a situation where the relationship between government and local social networking companies is creating a situation where, effectively, the empowering potential of these platforms is being constrained because of these relationships between companies and government. Now in China, you have the “great firewall,” as it’s well-known, that blocks Facebook and Twitter and now Google+ and many of the other overseas websites. And that’s done in part with the help from Western technology. But that’s only half of the story. The other part of the story are requirements that the Chinese government places on all companies operating on the Chinese Internet, known as a system of self-discipline. In plain English, that means censorship and surveillance of their users. And this is a ceremony I actually attended in 2009 where the Internet Society of China presented awards to the top 20 Chinese companies that are best at exercising self-discipline — i.e. policing their content. And Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, was one of the recipients. In Russia, they do not generally block the Internet and directly censor websites. But this is a website called Rospil that’s an anti-corruption site. And earlier this year, there was a troubling incident where people who had made donations to Rospil through a payments processing system called Yandex Money suddenly received threatening phone calls from members of a nationalist party who had obtained details about donors to Rospil through members of the security services who had somehow obtained this information from people at Yandex Money. This has a chilling effect on people’s ability to use the Internet to hold government accountable. So we have a situation in the world today where in more and more countries the relationship between citizens and governments is mediated through the Internet, which is comprised primarily of privately owned and operated services. So the important question, I think, is not this debate over whether the Internet is going to help the good guys more than the bad guys. Of course, it’s going to empower whoever is most skilled at using the technology and best understands the Internet in comparison with whoever their adversary is. The most urgent question we need to be asking today is how do we make sure that the Internet evolves in a citizen-centric manner. Because I think all of you will agree that the only legitimate purpose of government is to serve citizens, and I would argue that the only legitimate purpose of technology is to improve our lives, not to manipulate or enslave us. So the question is, we know how to hold government accountable. We don’t necessarily always do it very well, but we have a sense of what the models are, politically and institutionally, to do that. How do you hold the sovereigns of cyberspace accountable to the public interest when most CEO’s argue that their main obligation is to maximize shareholder profit? And government regulation often isn’t helping all that much. You have situations, for instance, in France where president Sarkozy tells the CEO’s of Internet companies, “We’re the only legitimate representatives of the public interest.” But then he goes and champions laws like the infamous “three-strikes” law that would disconnect citizens from the Internet for file sharing, which has been condemned by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression as being a disproportionate violation of citizens’ right to communications, and has raised questions amongst civil society groups about whether some political representatives are more interested in preserving the interests of the entertainment industry than they are in defending the rights of their citizens. And here in the United Kingdom there’s also concern over a law called the Digital Economy Act that’s placing more onus on private intermediaries to police citizen behavior. So what we need to recognize is that if we want to have a citizen-centric Internet in the future, we need a broader and more sustained Internet freedom movement. After all, companies didn’t stop polluting groundwater as a matter of course, or employing 10-year-olds as a matter of course, just because executives woke up one day and decided it was the right thing to do. It was the result of decades of sustained activism, shareholder advocacy and consumer advocacy. Similarly, governments don’t enact intelligent environmental and labor laws just because politicians wake up one day. It’s the result of very sustained and prolonged political activism that you get the right regulations, and that you get the right corporate behavior. We need to make the same approach with the Internet. We also are going to need political innovation. Eight hundred years ago, approximately, the barons of England decided that the Divine Right of Kings was no longer working for them so well, and they forced King John to sign the Magna Carta, which recognized that even the king who claimed to have divine rule still had to abide by a basic set of rules. This set off a cycle of what we can call political innovation, which led eventually to the idea of consent of the governed — which was implemented for the first time by that radical revolutionary government in America across the pond. So now we need to figure out how to build consent of the networked. And what does that look like? At the moment, we still don’t know. But it’s going to require innovation that’s not only going to need to focus on politics, on geopolitics, but it’s also going to need to deal with questions of business management, investor behavior, consumer choice and even software design and engineering. Each and every one of us has a vital part to play in building the kind of world in which government and technology serve the world’s people and not the other way around. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “Rebecca MacKinnon: Let’s take back the Internet!

  1. @PoweredByMagnets i dunno man, the things you're disproving of seem kinda tangential and petty compared to the topic of this talk.

  2. @PokerJoey888 i thought the message of zeitgeist was that it's perfectly fine to lie for your ideology.
    While i approve of many of the messages in it, that documentary really was rather poorly researched, embarrassing really. Rational honest people distance themselves from it.

  3. @dasgroovey >"the addiction to technology has been planned"

    i see zero evidence of this grand claim, and thus write off your opinion as yet another paranoid delusional tinfoil hatter.

    I mean what on earth are you basing this on.

  4. You know what…. honestly i don't think i'd mind if the internet disappeared.

    The technology is still here. We'll just rebuild our own networks anew, like we always did. I mean bullatin boards with globally spanning fidonet and all that shit were pretty popular before the internet, when the technology allowed for it they simply arose spontaneously, a kindof Emergence.

    The technology is only better now, so the same thing will just keep happening, can't stop it.

    to quote HomeStuck: MAIL!!!

  5. @roidroid It's status quo propaganda. She's in love with the government and thinks we need it to "protect" us. More rules. More government. Never stops growing.

    Activism never stopped anyone with money. Ground water? Big deal. We're still invading countries with oil and paying defense contractors. We're still authorizing deepwater drilling after the BP spill, despite reports stating the blowout preventers are useless. We're even subsidizing it. Activism is a complete and total failure.

  6. @roidroid I don't think we need to impose our values on private web companies. Don't go crying to big brother when apple censors your app. Go crying to them instead. One of the reasons our economy is in the crapper is because of all this excessive regulation. You didn't hire the right people? Lawsuit. You didn't follow some obscure statute? $500 fine. Enough is enough. End it all.

    The part about labor laws was really stupid too. She assumes everyone agrees with her narrow world view.

  7. @PoweredByMagnets but i thought the recession was all caused by the subprime mortgage crisis: ie: not enough regulation.

    Yeah Tort-reform IS a good idea though, well technically a lot of shit needs a good hard reformin'.
    I've been reading a little about intellectual property lately, urgh what a status-quo serving clusterfuck that seems to be.

  8. @roidroid The government encouraged risky loans and bailed everyone out. That's too much regulation, not too little.

    I think we need less rules with tort reform too. It makes small business impossible if you require a lawyer and accountant for everything.

    The only thing I would want regulated is catastrophic stuff. It doesn't seem like our current legislation even addresses big issues. The fed, wars, and deepwater drilling are still going. We want more nuclear/oil power instead of solar/wind.

  9. @TheNewDigital It really is bad though. She's advocating for more regulation. She never questions that the government is the problem. She's completely obsessed with control and force because she's never lived without it.

    The problem I have with "activists" is they never fight for less rules. For example: with proposition 8, they never argued to abolish marriage; instead they want to add rules to give unfair rights to gay people too.

  10. @TheNewDigital Also, whenever there's a situation where we DO need more rules, activists are nowhere to be found. BP destroys the coastline and not a single person protests. Instead these idiots throw events like "slutwalk" and think they're making a difference, while being completely blind to real oppression. I'm convinced that people who fight for "social reform" are brain damaged cultural marxists, and these fake accomplishments are honestly a disservice to the community.

  11. @PoweredByMagnets : That's the dumbest thing I ever heard. Why would Gay rights activist call for less marriage. What do you think gay couple have been doing up until then. If they enjoyed being "life partners" no one was going to force them to get married.

    However a small percentage of gay couple yearned to validate their relationships as well as their life style through marriage, hences prop 8. Does it mean anything is big world? probably not past the dog and pony of ceremony and paperwork

  12. @squidb8 Good point. From my mom's basement I'd say laws, retribution and infrastructure of course are needed. I think we'll be having less central solutions for that. Perhaps a city state or even a tribal structure.

  13. Seems her whole speech was that the internet is not free, but I have no solutions.

    Good speech, good speech, it was like watching a cable news program.

  14. @squidb8 Firstly, it's not "dumb"; you're just too stupid to comprehend.

    With that said, the benefits of marriage discriminate against anyone who is not married: single people, unwed couples, etc. We all pay for every tax break and entitlement married people get, and now gays want them too.

    Taking away the absurd and unfair "rights" of married couples is one way to give "equal rights" to gay couples (as well as everyone else). There wouldn't be a debate if we had separated church and state.

  15. @Dblo4445 : Historical evidence contradicts. Unless some entity steps up and take responsibility for common resource, no one will. Look at over fishing, and whaling, for years Governments allowed them to self regulate, and now stock have depleted to a point that catches have to be regulated.

    Sure people may keep up with the sidewalk and roads in front of their houses, of course poor neighborhoods would get screwed, but common infrastructure like freeways and bridges would fall into ruin.

  16. very interesting to see how the internet and technology has become the mediator between citizens and state. It's almost as if due to the moral dilemma behind censorship of internet states that are conventionally 'democratic' are now seen as adopting authoritarian measures in dealing with certain issues like the Julian Assange case. If anything I would argue that technology has helped to unmask the facade of democracy, however the term itself is to be defined…..

  17. I am impressed with the view that Rebecca MacKinnon had pointed about how the internet has affected the change in the government control system towards its countries and citizens. While she had discussed many different points, the point that captured me most was that now with technology, the way the government controls its citizens are different than before technology was created. The government now rarely mediates problems between its county’s citizens face-to-face but through the medium of the internet. The internet has social media accounts like Facebook that enable the government officials to make use of it to share their opinions and clear any misunderstanding. However, some countries like China, which practices communism, bans some social media sites like Google Plus and Facebook, making it seem like a protection for the Chinese from the outside world; also defined as social media. 
    (142 Words, Faith Wong, CMM / TB01)

  18. Rebecca MacKinnon had some interesting points she mentioned in this talk. One of which was that the main legit purpose of the government is to serve citizens, and the purpose of technology is to improve lives, not to manipulate or enslave people. 

    Internet has been becoming the mediator between the citizens and the government. For example, citizens rely on social medias to have a two-way interaction with government officials instead of relying on a meet-and-greet session with them. However, in cases like China, the country has banned social media sites like Facebook and Google Plus, making it more difficult to engage with China’s government officials.

    105 words, Tia Yurika, CMM/TB02

  19. With the introduction of the internet, it has changed the way the government controls and manages its people. Now, it is more often than not the middleman between the government and the citizens. 

    Rebecca MacKinnon brought up a valid point about how there is a rising demand by the people to have the right to free speech and to be able to connect with others freely. Some countries around the world have controlled media, such as China’s great firewall, where the freedom of speech is constrained due to the governing party. In a way, while it is seen as ‘protection’ from the outside world by the government, they themselves are unaffected by the firewall and they use it to silence the citizens’ opinions. They cannot be presented as the legitimate guardians of the society if they forcefully deny them of free speech.

    (142 words, Dawn Yip, CMM/TB02)

  20. The purpose of having the internet was for the government to serve it’s citizens, after all that is what we have nominated our governments for. However, it has now become a middleman between the government and the citizens themselves as such they easily became manipulated with the use of the internet. The internet has grown to a point where by even the government have started to use it as a tool for mediation, which is not wrong. However, with this wide use of the internet it lessens face to face contact between the government and the citizens, which remains relatively important in today’s world when one wants to clarify a particular governmental move or even question it. Though with the internet we can easily access information in clicks, the risk of miscommunication still runs high.
    Like mentioned it is indeed true that some countries mainly communist countries do reinforce stricter rules about what can be mentioned by the media as such media personnels are often condemned into silence. (168 words, Joanne Lau, CMM/TB02)

  21. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon’s opinion of how as citizens, we should step up and ensure that private corporations that own social media networking sites do not have a bias to the government such as China’s government banning Facebook and Twitter, so that the citizens get to voice out their opinions to the government.

    Although the Internet and technology was made purposefully to enhance our lives, nowadays, it has a lot of influence on our opinions and thoughts, which many politicians and political parties use to spread propaganda.

    The Internet as a mediator between citizens and the government serves an important role by ensuring that people’s voices are heard, and if the private corporations who own these sites on the Internet choose to be biased against citizens, the government would not be able to serve its citizens, thus loosing its purpose.

    (141 Words, Sherry Lim, CMM/TB02)

  22. The speaker had brought up a valid point that has been repeated in various, similar forms in many speeches and movements, which is agreeable. There is a quote on the internet that says: “The government should fear its citizens, not the other way round.” Essentially, the government’s sole purpose is to serve its citizens and its country. There is no reason for the government to assume self-proclaimed roles of being the citizens’ guardians. 

    As many activists and movements around the world had sprung up throughout the decade, skepticism and suspicision arose among the citizens towards the governments legitimacy in their methodology, ethics, principles and policies. A famous example would be China’s “great firewall”, ironically supported by Western technology, which aids the government’s agenda. In order for them to uphold their communist regime, the need to limit external information (which are deemed detrimental) and inject subtle and/or large-scale propaganda snowballed. 

    What can be seen, once again, is that there is no “divine rule” for the internet – only in the citizens’ minds, of course.

    171 words, Chan Jia Hui Andy, CMM/TB01

  23. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon on her opinions on ‘’Let’s take back the Internet’’. There is a struggle for freedom of speech and control in cyberspace; government plays a part in deciding on what gets on to the media and what does not. It is important to control as what they say might destruct the democracy of the country, and this might cause unnecessary commotion happening in the country. I’ve also learnt that government also uses Internet to communicate and connect with their citizens, like clearing of any miscommunication or help with presidential elections. I also believe that a more broaden and sustainable Internet freedom is required so as to allow a balance of freedom of speech in the country, no matter how tight the government is controlling the freedom rights of the country. However, there are still some countries like China has banned the citizen from entering the Facebook website as an act of protecting the citizens from the social media. All in all, I feel that in order to make use of the Internet to create a better world, it must be used vigilantly and sensibly. 
    (188 words, Wendy Lim, CMM / TB01)

  24. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon and her views. The relationship between citizens and the government is mediated through the internet. It is common to see citizens communicating with the government through social media as they have the right to voice out their thoughts. 
    As mentioned in the example, Japan’s borders persists for unique cultural and linguistic reasons. However, China’s potential of these platforms are constraint because of the relationship between citizens and government. China’s “great firewall” blocks citizens’ access to Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Chinese internet operating companies also have a system of “self discipline” for surveillance of internet users. As a result, Chinese citizens have a lack of exposure to the outside internet world and need more internet movement freedom to express themselves. 
    Governments’ role is to facilitate their people while technology has to improve lives, not manipulate or enslave. It is necessary for the government to use the internet wisely to interact with the citizens and not abuse their authority to control internet usage. Government and technology serve the world’s people and not the other way round.  (180 words, Jamel Chan, CMM/TB02)

  25. I agree with Rebecca Mackinnon’s views in her speech “Lets Take Back the Internet!” This speech was very informative and led me to reflect and ponder over what Rebecca said.

    I became more aware of how the government has been controlling the media and policing its content whilst conducting surveillance on users. Their actions are unjustifiable. The media should be a watchdog of the movement, not the other way around. 

    In my opinion, private companies should not be allowed to record personal files of users and then sell these informational files off to anyone as seen in the example of Yandex Money. Neither should the government feel that they are entitled to act as the “guardians” of the citizens and; they are merely facilitators of the peoples needs and they need to be reminded of that.

    I realise that it is our right to be able enjoy the freedom of the Internet and be able to discuss and communicate freely on it, without the fear of being incarcerated. We need to fight for the liberty of the Internet and as long as users do not insinuate without evidence, they should have the right to free speech and connection. 
    ( 198 words, Mark Junyong Ong, CMM, TB02 )

  26. The points the Rebecca MacKinnons has made me consider how the channel between the government and the citizens can be linked via a formed bridge. These days, the Internet is the most efficient and fastest way of creating the channel. It's is used for information to be disseminated from the government to the citizens. The role of the government is to provide for its citizens and to make sure the country is progressing well on its leadership aspects. The internet seems to the only medium to link the government's message to its citizens and it is widely used and hence, it lessens the personal contact the government has with its citizens. In China, the government has banned certain social media sites, in hope to protect the country's interest. Although world-wide media accessibility is available in majority of the world, it is not applicable to all countries because certain factors that hinders it. As their government imposes strict regulations on internet accessibility, it causes a barrier between the two parties which results in the citizens suppressing their views and opinions.
    187 words // Cheryl Pek Jia Ying, CMM // TB02

  27. I think that Rebecca clearly points out the expanding struggle for freedom and control in cyberspace. Before things were simple, you had the good guys on one side and the bad guys on the other. Today, things are a lot subtler. Even in democratic societies today, there is still a problem between balancing surveillance and law enforcements on one hand and protection of civil liberties and free speech on the other. I’ve realized that some governments are controlling its citizens on the Internet, as there are censorships and surveillance on their users. There is a dilemma on whether it is freedom or control. I’ve learnt that the government and its citizens are mediated through the Internet instead of face to face. While governments are the legitimate guardians of our societies, I however, agree with Rebecca and feel that there is still a basic right for citizens to have freedom in building the kind of world where technology and the government serve the people and not the other way around. (169 Words, Gabriel Choo, CMM/TB02)

  28. Rebecca Mckinnon’s speech was such an insightful one and I’m honestly pretty impressed with her views about the government and how they are to some degree using social media to control the people. Yes, it is a struggle to maintain a balance between having control and also having the freedom to speak out as while there needs to be a maintenance in law, there also needs to be enough space for people to voice out about topics they feel need to be talked about.
    I agree with what she said about Social Media not being used to enslave us or control us. Not everything that is posted needs to be censored as liberty is needed by the people. In my own opinion the government should not have control over the internet and shouldn’t be using it to watch or control people online as this makes people conform and that is not good and rather, is pretty destructive to society.
    (159 words, Ruth Chan, CMM/TB02)

  29. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon’s point that there is an expanding struggle for freedom and control in cyberspace. It is inevitable that the Internet would affect people way of thinking and changing in government control. But the government should not be tightly controlling the rights of free speech and connection. For former Soviet countries like China, it still blocks websites like Facebook and Twitter. Information is not free access as compared to the United States. China calls it “self-discipline” which is censorship and surveillance of its users. I think that such surveillance is too extensive. As such, censoring the websites does not stop the people from supporting democracy and free expression on the Internet. Also, I think that the government should change their way of controlling because people supporting the rights of connection have increased. So I think that when given freedom of speech, people should have evidence at hand and not to say whatever they want to. (158 words, Tan Si Ying, CMM/TB02)

  30. I agree with Rebecca’s views, freedom of speech has become a very grey affair on the cyberspace, as while what you say might not offend your own government, the Chinese nationals might not like what you are saying. Censorship is a common affair in today’s society, and it’s borderline short of abuse of power at what are being censored.
    China is a very clear example of censorship taken to the extreme. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google are all banned; the self-discipline system is very shocking, and it brings up the point that the Internet is no longer the middleman between the government and the citizens. We need to know where is the line between what is “protection” from the outside world and what is unneeded censorship.
    The government needs to realise that the Internet could be so much more as a way of communicating with the public, and should not be censoring everything under the sun that does not agree with what they are trying to bring across.
    (Marcus Tang 168 words CMM TB02)

  31. Rebecca MacKinnon’s speech has made me more aware of what is occurring concurrently with the media. The cyberspace and social media are struggling with providing freedom and security for their users, as the activities are closely watched by the government. 

    Governments set rules and regulations of what is acceptable and unacceptable to be posted on cyberspace, and some even block certain sites to be accessed. There is a debate on whether this is an act of control by the government, or simple guidelines for netizens to follow, to prevent disputes from happening amongst citizens.  

    In the video above, Rebecca mentioned that the internet has become a mediator between the government and the citizens. Citizens are able to communicate directly with the government officials through social media, instead of meeting them in person. This has made communication easier but some countries, like China, do not have this liberty because of the restriction of social media sites. Banning of social media like Facebook and Twitter does not only make the Chinese not able to engage with the government, but also restricted them from knowing about the current affairs around the world.

    189 words, Nurul Batrisyia, CMM/TB02

  32. I agree with Rebecca Mackinnon’s views to an extent. In this age of technology, anyone has the ability to express his or her views online. However, I do agree that authorities have the right to control the content that goes online and to censor what they deem is unsuitable. With that being said, I realize that this overlaps with the peoples’ right to have the liberty to express their views or have access to social media platforms. For example, the citizens of China have no access to Facebook and Twitter due to the “great firewall” – thus limiting their exposure to the world that these social networks can provide them. 
    It is true that online content can be manipulated to one’s advantages (i.e. to promote etc) but unfiltered online content can also cause chaos should it be handled too lightly. Therefore, we cannot put full blame on governments for trying to control content online. 

    I feel that to maintain a secure and safe Internet experience, it has to be a two-way effort between netizens and the government to control what is uploaded online. 
    (182 words, Danielle Roman, CMM/TB02)

  33. Media on the internet is a threat to the government. The government does not want their citizens to be influenced by another source. From my understanding, a non-political example would be getting influenced by another country's culture. Many people, especially youths nowadays are very into Korean-Pop Music as well as the Korean culture, this is cultivated mostly from the internet. This may also lead to the loss of their own country's culture. Similarly, by gaining information about other country's governments on the internet, the people of the country might be attracted to another country's government and they may start comparing it to their own.

    However I personally feel that the internet and the media also should be a place of free will, where any opinion no matter good or bad is being shared. Having media being controlled and limited is really similar to a communist government, online form.

    Thus, I fully agree with what Rebecca MacKinnon said about the changes of the government due to the Internet’s advancements. There are both good reasons why the government changed this way and there are also reasons against this change.

    (187 words, Goh Pei Shan, CMM/TB01)

  34. I agree with Ms Rebecca’s saying of how the only legitimate purpose of technology is to improve ourselves and not to manipulate or enslave us. When we utilize technology properly, it will be able to promote more good than harm. 

    The video also mentioned that the relationship between citizens and governments is mediated through the Internet, which is comprised primarily of privately owned and operated services. We will have to make sure that the Internet evolves in a citizen-centric manner to suit more users of the Internet.

    However, we also assume that the Internet is a border-busting technology and borders do persist in some parts of the cyberspace. From the video, I have seen how censorship has affected many people in different countries, such as people in China who do not have access to Facebook and Twitter, because of the “great firewall”. There is an expanding struggle for freedom and control in cyberspace because of government control and sovereigns in cyberspace. I have gained understanding of how everyone has a part to play, to make an approach of political innovation to the Internet to create a citizen-centric Internet. 

    (188 words, Ang Ee Suan, CMM/TB01)

  35. I think what she's saying has a point but I see no issue in the government becoming involved in our online activities. I feel surveillance and safety is more important than privacy because lives could be at stake sometimes. However, I feel blocking some harmless websites or censoring harmless things online is quite petty of the government. For example, China, they blocked Facebook and create their own websites in replacement of this because they do not want any external input online as they think their citizens will feel that China is not as good as other countries and cause unrest. I feel that this is quite narrow minded of some governments.
    (116 words, Natasha Hogan, CMM/TB01)

  36. Technology is such a powerful tool and has improved our lives in many ways, however, censorship is still relevant in certain ways. For example, the Dalai Lama app was censored in China when the iPhone was released due to concerns of politically sensitive material. It is hard to balance the need for security and free speech in the digital networks. Such examples would be online stories where a the reader is required to be of a certain age in order to have access to certain stories. I feel that in this case, censorship is good as it protects certain content from those who are not suitable to read it. However, I have noticed that some websites are banned in certain countries and I start to question the reason it was banned. Sometimes it makes me wonder if it was banned because it contained material which the governement did not want the citizens to see maybe because it would cause damage to their reputation. In this casem I feel that the citizens are being shielded from the truth that they deserve to know, and it worries me how sometimes the government plays such a huge role in controlling the media.
    (199 words, Amanda Liew, CMM/TB01)

  37. I believe that Rebecca Mackinnon has brought across rather insightful and refreshing points to the table via her speech. I agree with her strong stance on how the legitimate role of the government role is to serve its citizens and how technology should only improve lives of individuals.

    The internet being the mediator between the governement and its citizens has become a relatively common phenomenon. However, in countries like China, such practices are uncommon. With the Great Firewall being imposed by the Chinese government, citizens are unable to attain information of what’s happening globally and are also unable to interact with the government on the social media. Personally, I find such censorship to be completely unnecessary and unjustifiable. Not only are citizens denied of their basic rights whilst surfing online, but the two-way communication process that should be between both parties also becomes non-existent. Hence, causing Chinese citizens to be the lapdog of the government.

    All in all, I feel that we should work towards building a “citizen centric internet” as Rebecca mentioned in her speech. All of us have to proactively ensure that the government and technology are serving individuals throughout the world and not vice versa.

    (199 words, Preetpal Kaur, CMM/TB01)

  38. I agree with everything Rebecca Mackinnon has stated in the video. “The only legitimate purpose of technology is to improve our lives, not to manipulate or to enslave us.” Technology created by innovative companies will indeed set us all free, but we must ensure that we do not let technology take over our lives. In former soviet countries like China, websites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked. In my opinion, it is rather unneccesary for them to be doing that as it definitely does not stop the people from expressing themselves freely on the Internet and supporting democracy. Everyone should be given the right to express themselves but each individual holds the responsibility to be careful of what they say and to not let technology be their main platform to do so. The internet is definitely headed for a “Magna Carta” moment when citizens around the world demand that their governments protect free speech and their right to connection.

    (159 words , Siti Nur Sabrina , CMM/TB01)

  39. I agree with Rebecca Mackinnon’s views. One of the things which Rebecca mentioned that sticks out is the purpose of government is to serve the citizens, and the purpose of technology is to improve lives, not to manipulate or enslave us. I feel that the government should not use the internet to control citizens but instead use it to enhance the lives of the citizens. In China, the government blocks websites such as facebook and twitter due to the “great firewall” limits their knowledge and exposure to the world that the internet offers. I realised that this so called “self-discipline” which are censorship and surveillance on its users limits their people to express their views and thus their opinions will not be heard. I agree that it is a struggle to maintain a balance of having control and having the freedom of speech. But I feel that people needs more space to voice out their opinions and not be shunned away.
    161 words, Ruby Tan, CMM/TB01

  40. I do agree with Rebecca MacKinnon that there is a need to separate the control of the Government in whatever country you are from private businesses and the rights to freedom of speech on the Internet. I am a firm believer in the freedom to let people say whatever they want without fear of being censored because someone somewhere considers their extremely valid point to be a threat to them.

    Take China, for instance. I have never been there myself, but I hear from friends and relatives that the inability to access any website you wish to visit is extremely frustrating.  In any case, even though certain websites are being censored, there is nothing to stop the public and people who truly wish to access the websites from finding alternate means to get what they want. 

    In fact, I believe that censoring something and putting it off limits results in making it a bigger lure than ever. The feeling of being someone who can see something forbidden has a kind of thrill, and people will just want to see what all the fuss is about. 

    (185 words, Jessica Yeo Qi En, CMM/TB01)

  41. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon that the government and technology should serve the world’s people and not the other way around. 
    It’s definitely not surprising that the government is managing whatever is provided to us on the internet and most of us are fully aware of the control the government has on media. However, like what the third person effects theory suggests, the government might be over estimating the impact that the media has on its audience. There are certainly things that do not require censorship as it would not impact us as much as what the government assumes. While it is understandable that they are afraid of violent attacks they may occur with the influence of certain media, they seem to be too controlling of the information fed to us after promising a democratic society. 
    As much as the government should not overestimate the impact media has on audiences, they should not purposely censor certain websites or applications because they want to influence the audience to think a certain way.
     The government as well as technology should create a more citizen centric internet by fairly balancing out the information consumable and the information controlled.  

    195 words, Catherine Kwok, CMM/TB01

  42. I agree with Rebecca Mackinnon’s views that there is an expanding struggle for freedom and control in cyberspace. 
    On the topic of censorship, I am against it only to a certain extent. I do not agree with the government being able to control what its citizens have the access to. It shouldn’t only be the government’s choice – people should have a say in what they feel to be right or wrong. The government should serve the citizens, and not act as a parent. 
    The Internet should act as platform to improve the way we live. Because it functions as a mediator between the citizens and the government, it gives us all the more reason to ensure that it cannot be a platform that allows manipulation of its users. With censorship, the Internet can silence views and opinions, which is something that should not be tolerated. For example, in China, the use of Google, Facebook, YouTube is prohibited. This way the government can easily manipulate its citizens into believing certain opinions or views, which should not be the case. Free speech should be protected.
    (184 words, Cheryl Loh, CMM/TB01)

  43. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon’s stand in the video. The purpose of technology is to aid our needs instead of manipulating us into thinking what others want us to think. The Internet has grown to be a tool, which the government uses to mediate their messages, however it is sort of our decision whether to follow it, or not. For instance, some social media are banned in some countries by the government to prevent the citizens to have any thoughts about starting violent attacks in the country. However, this does not fully reflect what the citizens would feel and think. Hence it is important for the government to maintain the Internet in a citizen-centric manner to ensure that there is democracy in technology and the citizens are able to have freedom in the information and knowledge they choose to consume online. Personally I feel that the Internet should be a free-for-all thing, where people can choose what they want to view and what they do not. 
    (166 words, Jamie Chiang, CMM/TB01)

  44. Why control the netizens when the internet was originally invented to serve as a platform for people to share their views and voice out their opinion? I understand that the government have their own reasons to control their citizens’ acts online, be it to preserve peace and harmony or anything else. But this does not change the fact that, as said by the speaker, technology should help improve our lives, not manipulate or to enslave us.

    Let’s use China as an example. Rebecca MacKinnon mentioned that social media sites that all of us use, like Facebook, is blocked in China due to the “great firewall” in order for censorship and surveillance. In my opinion, this just restricts their citizens from learning about the “real” world outside their own country and that should not be the case. But of course, what’s done is done. It’s been implemented for years already. But then again I think every single one of us should be able to express ourselves without any restrictions.

    (168 words, Nurilsyamira Ismail, CMM/TB01)

  45. “The only legitimate purpose of technology is to improve our lives, not to manipulate or to enslave us.” I agree with this sentence fully. The use of technology is suppose to make our lives easier but not make us feel pressured from the government. Rebecca Mackinnon stated in Russia, there is this website called Rospil, which is a anti-corruption site, people who had made donations were receiving threatening phone calls by nationalist party who had obtained their information. This scares me. How did the nationalist party found my information and the thing is, they actually made threatening phone calls. Why am I succumbed to these fears in my own country? It doesn’t make sense. Thus I agree with Rebecca Mackinnon, the use of technology should improve my live, but not letting people with power to pressure me. 
    (137 words, sohyee, cmm/tb01)

  46. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon’s point that the Internet should be a medium for freedom of speech and expression. Censorship by government should only be warranted when it comes to matters of public security like blatant terrorism or hate crime threats and not when it comes to the voicing of opinions with the backing of facts.

    I feel that online censorship in today’s context is being used by governments not to safeguard the public’s safety but instead to safeguard their own political interests by subjecting whoever who speaks out against them to silence. This is not acceptable because each person has the right to voice out their opinions on whatever they choose to voice out on. If a person chooses to speak up against the government of his country, he should not be sued by the government for defamation or the intent of inciting hate and detest against them. Rather he should be given a proper platform whereby both parties are given an equal opportunity to criticise and rebut without threats of criminal prosecution. 

    (174 words, Naufal Hakym, CMM/TB01)

  47. The internet is a tool for one to express his/her thoughts and viewpoints. Rebacca Mackinnon made a point about the internet being a medium for freedom of speech and I agree with that. People have the right to share their thoughts and viewpoints but the government also has the right to control the internet in their domain as they are the ruling party.

    However this is a debatable point – whether the government should have control over the internet. The government can censor any site either for their own agenda or for the safety of the public. The government has every right to censor sites that has the potential to cause civil unrest and disharmony, but they may also censor sites that may be threats to their political interests.

    We cannot criticize the government for censoring sites as they can be safeguarding the public’s safety. However, there is always a possibility that they are doing so to safeguard their own interests. 

    The internet should be a platform for people to express their own views safely without any potential threats. Thus, I feel it is not right for the government to censor anything that has no threat whatsoever to the public. 

    (199 words, Ian Kiew, CMM/TB01)

  48. The internet is like a double-edged sword. The two main points that were mentioned by Rebecca MacKinnon is that the internet is platform for the freedom of speech but it is also being used as a platform of surveillance on the people by the government.
    I find myself sitting on the fence as while I do recognize the need for the right of freedom to say or do what you want on the internet, I feel that it is also the government’s right as that is their job.
    So, I guess the main goal in the end is to strike the balance between both points and that citizens and their government need to come to an understanding of their respective control over the internet.
    The people need to understand the government's perspective and the government needs to respect the citizens' freedom on the internet.
    It is time we reflect on which side we are on.
    (175 words, Lydia Ang, CMM/TB02)

  49. I believe that, yes, the issue of balancing both security and law enforcement as well as freedom of speech is a daunting task. In our current society, where millions upon millions of people have the right to post whatever they wish on the Internet, it is difficult for the authorities to regulate internet content. To prevent the possible release of information that they view as detrimental to themselves, some countries, most notably North Korea, China, and Burma, enforce strict rules upon the information that passes through their borders. North Korea in particular, has even passed regulations, allowing only a select group of regime elites and university students have access to the internet. I believe these are all done in excess and that while the government should have some control over the media and internet, these countries and taking it to the extreme. The freedom of the citizens is completely disregarded. While I understand that by allowing citizens too much liberties and ceasing surveillance of media content might give rise to the misuse of the Internet, I also have to say that excessive surveillance and regulation prevents progress amongst society. If no one is allowed to speak, we will forever remain at a standstill. (200 Words, Yingjie, CMM/TB02)

  50. I certainly agree with Rebecca MacKinnon's point that the internet is no longer something that we have the freedom to control anymore.I think she makes a very good point about how certainly how government and technology should be serving the people instead of the other way around.I feel that nowadays we live our lives the way the government or technology says we should instead of the way we think we should.I think government control is something that is inevitable but is should not have such strict control that people love their freedom of speech and their freedom of choice.For certain communist countries such as China where the government does what is "good" for the country,China labels this also as "self-discipline"which is basically having censorship as well as monitoring very closely what their people are viewing.However is that really what is best for the country?I think that the government should still grant their people a certain amount of freedom to express opinions and individuality as long as it does not threaten fundamental principles in society.(174 words,Sonia Tay Jing,CMM/TB04)

  51. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon saying that the government and technology should serve the world’s people and not the other way round. We now have situations where private companies are applying censorshop standards and responding to censorship requests by government authorities without the people’s consent. Who has the right to dictate what we ought to see? The freedom to roam is slowly being taken away from us. The internet should be something that we can access freely without surveilance. To a certain extent I agree that being monitored may serve some good in helping the government stop terrorism attacks but then, it is also an infringement of our rights. 

    The government should not be using the internet to control their
    people, which are what countries such as China and Russia are trying to do. It is scary that China even awards Chinese companies that are best at exercising self-discipline through censorship and surveilance of users. Now, the internet empowers only those that are most skilled at using the technology and the ones holding the power is the government. It not right that they are using technology to manipulate or enslave us. Technology should be used to improve our lives, not as a tool to control us.

    206 words, Trudy Kwek, CMM/TB01

  52. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon’s point of adjusting the Internet around the values of accountability and freedom, rather than just control. I feel that control always leads to resistance, hence, adjustments made by the government, companies, and the people are necessary.

    Although I feel that the government does have the right to filter out certain websites that they feel could be of harm to their citizens, I think this should be done with a broader mindset. Certain websites like Facebook are banned in places like China. The reason for this is to disallow their citizens from coming into contact with external influences. I feel that this might be a slight exaggeration from the government, as I feel that this might be taking it a step too far when it comes to “protecting” their locals. This, to me, is a deprivation of culture and discovery.

    I feel that it is very important that the government, companies, and citizens have a common understanding of each other’s needs, and space for compromises to be made. There has to be communication and understanding amongst the three main categories, rather than just control by the authorities.

    (191 words, Jermaine Leong, CMM/TB04)

  53. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon on the fact that there has to be balance between government censorship and the freedom of speech the citizens have. If censorship is too biased towards the government, and is taking place without the consent of citizens, it would be equivalent to robbing citizens of knowledge of the outside world as well as the lack of platforms to express their ideas and thoughts. The citizen-government relationship is mediated by the internet. Therefore, the balance has to be taken in consideration more meticulously.

    On the other hand, government surveillance should not go too overboard. The Egyptians had their SMSes, emails and even Skype conversations stored in logs and the government also contracted a western company to sell them more surveillance technology. This really shocked me to think that the surveillance in Egypt is so tight that every movement they make is watched by the government. This would cause them to bottle up their true emotions and thoughts.

    (161 words, Rachel Goh, IC04)

  54. I agree that there is an expanding struggle for freedom and control in the cyberspace. However, I feel that the government should not control the way we think. It is the same as taking away our freedom and knowledge about the world. Instead, we should be given access to information whenever and whatever we want because we have all the power to believe what we want and express what we feel about a certain subject.
    The government should not censor issues just to ensure that their political interests are guarded. This does not give the people a chance to speak out and express themselves. 
    For example, China banned Dalai Lama’s apps only because Dalai Lama was an exiled minority leader reviled by the China’s authorities. They also banned Facebook and Google, which takes away basically their freedom and knowledge. The government took advantage of this to safeguard their political interests and so that the people will not turn against them. It is a selfish thing to do and the government needs to realise that there is more to censorship.

    179 words, Val TB03/Cmm

  55. i understand the viewpoints which Rebecca Mackinnon is trying to put across. It is an indisputable fact that the government does have a certain control over the cyberspace. Some platforms are being constrained in certain countries, such as North Korea, and that refuses the citizens of their liberty of speech. Censorship, in my opinion, is necessary but it shouldn’t be massive. It is understandable that censorship helps to dilute the consequence of intergeneration eavesdropping, where young kids are susceptible, especially towards vulgarities or adult content. However, too much censorship will cause one to be unaware of the world around us, such as China’s ban on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Media on its own acts as a watchdog against corruption of conglomerates and the government. Thus, if the government were to take this away from the people, there will be no platform left for us people to share our views and impart knowledge from one another. 

    – 155 words, Priscilla Lee, CMM/TB03

  56. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon, highlighting that internet should revert to becoming citizen-centric, instead of serving authoritative governments as a means of manipulating and enslaving their own citizens. She states that many government officials feel the need to censor information from their citizens in order to prevent the destabilisation of their own country, which I then relate back to the Third Person Effects Theory. In what way are government officials any more immune to the underlying messages of information than its citizens and even if so, how does one determine which government official is of authority to decide what content to censor? I strongly feel that the government should redirect its resources to serving the citizens as a priority, forging strong relations between both parties such that there is less animosity between the two and there would even be a reduced need for the government to look into activist cases since more people would be satisfied with the ruling government. The first step ruling parties of governance should take to begin strengthening relations with their citizens is to allow for a ‘broader and more sustained internet’, where citizens may air their views of freedom and justice freely.
     (198 words,Nurrisha Ismail,CMM/TB04)

  57. I fully agree with Rebecca MacKinnon that we have to fight for the free Internet that we want. I believe that online censorship by governments should only be allowed if the content of the website will have negative effects on their national security. For example, propaganda sites that will lead to self-radicalisation of their citizens who may in turn cause harm to themselves and the public. However, many governments do not draw a clear line between keeping their citizens safe and keeping their seats in the cabinet.
    MacKinnon gave the example of Russia and Rospil. She said that Russia, generally, do not directly censor websites however, with the Rospil case, it is clear that governments would censor websites not because it will protect their citizens but because having the website up might cost the governing party their power.  
    Therefore, I feel that the people of the country have to fight for the free Internet that they want or at least come to an arrangement with the government, to have the liberty to surf the Internet without compromising the security of the nation.
    (181 Words, Tovey Melody, CMM TB04)

  58. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon on the issue of the expanding struggle for freedom in the world of cyberspace that citizens face today as well as the government’s censorship over the Internet. 

    I understand and do agree that from the government’s point of view, it is essential for the need for censorship. With the control of content, there would be restrictions in the freedom of speech to maintain status quo to prevent sensitive topics like political beliefs from being raised.  

    However, I personally feel that there has to be a certain limit to it. It is equally important for citizens to have the rights for expressing their views and opinions without any interferences. Take China’s “fire-wall”, where Facebook and Youtube is prohibited in China as an example. Without any external influences, citizens of China may tend to be biased as a result. In addition, often the facts that they have are wrong or are incredibly one sided. 

    All in all, I feel that too much censorship is just as bad as having none at all, this it is important to find the right balance. 
    (184 words, Sarah Loke, CMM/TB04)

  59. I strongly agree with Rebecca MacKinnon that technology should improve our lives and not manipulate or enslave us. After listening to Rebecca Mackinnon’s speech, I learnt about how government control us through the Internet. One example is China, the government blocked the citizens from using Facebook and many other overseas websites. The government also placed censorship and surveillance on all companies operating on the chinese internet and award companies who abide by their rules. By doing so, the government hopes citizens are cleared away from corruptions. This shows that the relationship between the citizens and government is mediated by the Internet. But we have to make sure that the Internet evolves in the citizen-centred manner, citizens should be able to make their own decisions and not government censoring things that they think the citizens should not get in touch. By that, it means citizens to have more Internet freedom, to have government and internet to serve the people and not the other way round.

    (164 words, Chea Hui Sing, CMM/TB04)

  60. This video has raised my awareness of the various issues in the world regarding the Internet. For example, the government of china has censored many popular websites that they deemed to be ‘dangerous’ to the country such as Facebook. In which, they have acknowledged that these websites are influential and are detrimental to one’s acquirement of knowledge. This hence limits their exposure which is critical to the country’s development. It is also upsetting how many corporations betray the people for money or political/commercial advantage by doing the government’s bidding to activate Internet policing.

    I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon that it is vital that political activism continues as politicians indeed do not just “wake up” and decide that they should release their citizens from their control. Instead, it is through sustained political activism effort and consumer advocacy that pressure the government and corporations to make changes to unjustified actions such as the ridding of child labour and slavery.

    (158 words, Jamie Tan, CMM/TB03)

  61. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon’s view. The Internet should be accessible by everyone in all parts of the world, and not get controlled by the government. As Rebecca MacKinnon said: “Technology should improve our lives, not manipulate or enslave us.” By controlling what the citizens get to view on the Internet, the government is in some way controlling and enslaving the citizens. In China, the government and social media companies have a strained relationship. They have the “Great Firewall” that blocks social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. This prevents the citizens from viewing and communicating with people from other countries through these social media platforms. China also places requirements on all the companies operating on the Chinese Internet. 
    To achieve a more citizen-centric Internet in the future, we need a broader and more sustained Internet movement. Each and every one of us has a vital role to play in building the kind of world in which the government and technology serves the world’s people and not the other way round.

    (171 words, Lim LiXuan, CMM/TB03)

  62. I agree with the speaker, as censorship generally may be contrary or that they remove something out of fear of something, which cripples the freedom in cyberspace. People are restricted to what they do with the information in the media. The freedom of speech has been restrained by the states and the government. We have been affected by this in some way, perhaps being more careful in speeches, but then again, there will be some people out there that will freely voice out on the media something that the state will find disturbing. Despite the empowering of security and censorship, many people are still able to operate on free speech, and most often get into trouble for. The internet should be more towards the citizens, not for the government to dominate on negative speeches, which totally contradicts what they call it as “for the good of the citizens”. This is why censorship of speeches has been controversial at some points of time, and when it should or should not be used. (171 words, Kevan Tan, CMM/ TB04)

  63. I agree with Rebecca Mackinnon in saying how the Internet has changed to become a tool for the government. As Rebecca Mackinnon said, the Internet was supposed to be a toll used for people of the world for convenience sake. But due to government concerns, a lot of countries get censorship away from certain things from the Internet. If the Internet was meant for people of the world, censoring any form of media should also be a choice that belongs to them. By allowing the government to censor media from the Internet, this also allows the government to control what the public views online. This may also restrict the public from knowing necessary information but because the government sees a threat in it, the information is not spread. We should bring back the Internet back to what it's purpose is, as well as the government, to serve the people of the world to make their lives better.

    (157 Words, Wilkin Ng, CMM/ TB04)

  64. I agree with Rebecca Mackinnon’s views. In the past when technology is not as advanced, censorship is controlled by governments but nowadays, it is controlled by the cyberspace. Like what the speaker said, Barack Obama even needs help from the CEO of Facebook to be reelected next year. I feel that people should be able to have a freedom of speech and that censorship should be reduced. Rebecca Mackinnon gave an example of censorship of China where there is a “great firewall” where they deny the resident access to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. This amount of censorship will affect the nation as the citizens are not able to know what is going on around the world and gives the opportunity for the China government to be corrupted. Rebecca Mackinnon also mentioned that “the only legitimate purpose of technology is to improve our lives, not to manipulate or enslave our lives.” I really agree with this viewpoint as technology was created to let us be more connected with each other easily and conveniently and not to make us slaves through censorship.

    (184 words, Tan Jing Quan, CMM/TB04)

  65. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon’s idea about the importance and need of balance between the censorship from the government and the freedom of expression of the citizen. It is important for the government to control and filter out content that are not safe to be viewed, for example, gore and extreme violence to children of young age. However, I don’t think it is right for the government to put up and or remove contents that are not to their favour. The “great firewall” in China is an example of devprivation of information to the the people in China. With the widely used social platforms down to only be replaced with social platforms specially for China, a great control of censorship from the China government is present. I believe that the citizens should have the full access to the issues arising in the country and be able to hear about the different side of the stories from all around in order to make better judgements. As the judgements made from the citizens would determine the country’s progress, it is important that all available information is accessible to the citizens. 

    (188 words, Kang HuiTing, CMM TB04)

  66. Even in Singapore, the media is tied down by the government with so many restrictions, anything not pro-government would be seen as a threat to society. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon that the internet should be used to better improve lives of the world than to enslave us. 

    It is a fact that the internet has made everything more efficient. It has also allowed citizens – especially the minority – to be heard. The primary purpose of the internet was to effectively expedite exchange of information. However, with the overwhelming restrain from the government, the sole purpose of the web is made redundant. Moreover, the internet is a free public space for people.

    Although it is necessary for the government to intervene at times, I generally feel that the content of the internet should not be bounded. To control the information received by the people through the internet is like putting up fences around our minds. The people have the right to know what they want and need to know. It allows them to have their own point of view, rather than conforming to agendas and propagandas set by the government. If not, we’d all be living like prisoners.  

    (197 words, Claire Yeoh, CMM/TB04)

  67. I do agree with what Rebecca MacKinnon has that the Internet needs to be a platform of freedom.I also do feel that the government should not be very controlling over the internet and censor websites and one such example is banning Facebook in China. This video has made me more aware that the government does control the internet.One point that Rebecca had said that struck me was that “Technology should improve our lives, not manipulate or enslave us.” And I strongly agree with this point she had made. We should use technology to make our lives easier and not be controlled by it.The government censorship is also more of a block to the citizens as they are not exposed to the world and thus they feel that they are being controlled as there is not much freedom of speech as the Internet signifies a platform for people to share their ideas and views on certain subjects and issues.

    (158 words, Jovitha Anusha Charles , CMM/TB03)

  68. I agree that there is an increasing of struggle for freedom and control in the Internet. Nevertheless, I feel that governments in the country should not censor or block out the content being able to be put out or received by the people. I feel that it is basic human rights to also have a freedom of speech in the cyber world and it gives the governments no rights to limit this. Instead, the government should perhaps educate the citizens upon on how to react or accept the information received online to somehow prevent corruption in the nation. I agree with one of the statements, “Technology is to improve lives, not manipulate or enslave us”. This tells me how public education on technology should be the main focus instead of placing censorships. 
    (132 words, Renee, CMM/TB03)

  69. I reckon it is all about how freedom from censorship is perceived. In China, for example, Facebook is a banned website in the Chinese government’s interest, but the citizens may not necessarily agree with that form of censorship. However, I understand where these governments are coming from. They could be afraid that information on the Internet could threaten the fabric of society and may be that is why they ban certain material on the Internet. It is an issue that has to be addressed from different perspectives. On the one hand, is it plausible that people should know everything, including things that could actually threaten a country’s harmony and cause civil unrest? On the other hand, why should people be kept in the dark? They have the right for freedom of speech and from censorship according to democratic ideals. As the Apple advertisement at the start of the video put it, the Internet is supposedly a “free” platform, but with all the censorship measures being implemented around the globe, that definition of the Internet is liable to questioning. 
    (179 words, Julia Tan, CMM, TB03)

  70. Yes indeed there should be democracy in freedom of speech and that the lack of censorship could prove to be one of the issues that shake stability, as to what Rebecca MacKannon said. But hasn’t censorship gone too far in certain countries? Take North Korea for an example. The things that circulate in the Internet or in that country, for that matter, are so heavily guarded. People there are denied basic rights and/or access to know what’s really going on in the country or the world. The example raised by Rebecca about activist storming the Egyptian State Security Headquarters goes to show that the government in Egypt has gone too far in trying to “protect” citizens from sites like Skype. The media acts as a watchdog against the abuse of government power. Doesn’t censoring the essence of what needs to be reported to the public defeat the purpose of the role of the media? I think there are limits as to where censorship can go though eventually it lies in the power of the government.  With that being said, governments should not let the ability of being able to control these media  affect the things that should or should not be censored. 

    (202 Words, Kaixin, CMM/TB03)

  71. I do agree with her views that the Internet should be accessible to everyone and not be controlled by the government. The government knows that the Internet is a powerful place where different ideas and opinions are being shared all over the world and in my opinion, I think that thought scares them. I have an example to prove my theory.

    Recently, the most debatable topic has been resolved when Barack Obama legalized gay marriages in all 50 states of USA. Why is it that it took that long to settle an issue? This is because there has been a series of questions being asked online and a lot of people from the LGBT community have spoken out and there is no longer a small group of people in a country. There are found everywhere and the fact that the opinions of these people can probably overthrow the opinion of the government scares them and that is why they are now listening to what the people has to say.

    In conclusion, the Internet is really taking its place in this world and is no longer just used for convenience sake or as a useful tool. It is now used for many different purposes and the government has to work with the citizens in order to come to certain conclusions and not just censor the public from media just to have it their way.

    233 words, Nurul Asyiqin, CMM/TB04

  72. What the woman said in her speech makes me think about how we as citizens should use the Internet, to manipulate, or to use it professionally. She mentioned how the Internet is the mediator; however, the government also plays a part in the control over the Internet. If we citizens are able to manipulate the Internet, the government is no different. A country like China has high censorship and is due to the fact that the government does not trust their own citizens’ ways of using the Internet. Also with the Internet, freedom of speech is a gift for every individual. It is much easier to share your views in a video and post it for the whole world to see. Hence, many communist countries practice maximum censorship to prevent their citizens from receiving knowledge and views from others, kind of like, frogs in the well. These countries are great examples of government control over the Internet. However, with minimal censorship, this will however cause the citizens to take control over the Internet, making use of it to make decisions and neglecting the government’s. Hence measures must be taken to keep a balance between both government and people’s use of the Internet. 
    (202 words)
    Gerald TB03 CMM

  73. I agree with Rebecca Mackinnon’s opinions especially the part she mentioned the only legitimate purpose of government is to serve the citizens. In my opinion, the government’s role is to be facilitator of needs and certainly not the other way round. The government should not be misusing their “power” and take full control of the Internet. An example which was mentioned in Rebecca’s speech would be China, where their government blocks social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. I feel that the main purpose of the internet is to serve as a medium for citizens to express their view, share their thoughts and gain knowledge. By banning certain websites, the government restricts their citizens from doing so and in my opinion, it is really petty and unreasonable to do so. Instead of banning websites, government should probably try a different approach and take into consideration in educating their citizens on using the internet in a proper way.

    160 words, Jeremy Poh, CMM/TB03

  74. Even though the government allows freedom of the press, democracy and expression from the people, the government does regulate some media. Print media are largely unregulated, and newspapers and magazines can print nearly anything as long as they don’t slander anyone. Broadcast media, however, are subject to the most government regulation. What is being disseminated is first filtered by the government and if they see something they feel is not right, most likely they will not allow the publishing of the content. The media is echoing an actual list of government talking points to the public and manipulating the public into believing those talking points were the result of objective independently verified investigative journalism. We cannot continue to allow the information that is communicated to the masses by the media, which is the public’s tool to keep the government in check and prevent it from becoming overbearing on the people. 

    150 words, Qaisara, CMM, TB04

  75. I agree with what Mackinnon has touched on. 

    Democracy does not have a very visible line when it comes to having the good guys on one side and the bad guys on the other. Apparently, China is not democratic because they do not know how to balance the need for security and the protection for civil liberties. This has been clearly demonstrated since China had blocked Twitter and Facebook. By doing so, they had created an application called Weibo that is run by the Chinese government. The government has thus taken control of the media. Adding on, they give awards to Chinese websites that has successfully followed the "great firewall" system by the government, 

    I must agree with what Mackinnon has said about technology. It should be improving our lives and not enslaving us. The government should be "serving its citizens, not to manipulate or enslave us". They should not be taking control of the way they want its citizens to view them because that is dishonesty. If the government cannot serve its citizens, how would they protect us if they are giving their citizens a false sense of security?

    190 words, Melissa, CMM/TB03

  76. I agree that government and technology should serve the world’s people and not the other way round. The internet should be made available for everyone to express his or her opinions and without the controlling presence of the government. The internet is definitely an extremely powerful platform for people to express themselves and because of that the government is wary of the amount of freedom their citizens have on the internet. However, in my opinion censorship is here to stay but it should not be to extensive. It definitely comes in handy when dealing with ISIS utilizing the internet and social media to spread their extremist ideologies as the government would be able to block these websites. It is ideal to have a equal balance between the government's control of the cyberspace and the entitled freedom of their citizens. However the problem is who has to power to make these decisions and how do you make sure that they do not abuse this power.

    (164 words, CMM/TB03)

  77. I agree with Rebecca MacKinnon to an extent. She said that “I would argue that the only legitimate purpose of technology is to improve our lives, not to manipulate or enslave us.” I agree with that to an extent as the internet should not be a platform in which citizens should be controlled and to be enslaved by the government. The government should not be deliberately controlling what its citizens can view on the internet for their own benefits, such as brainwashing with propaganda, etc. I feel everyone should be entitled to do whatever they want on the internet which they feel would benefit them and allow them to positively contribute to the society. Some may argue that the government should have the right to block websites that may cause negative implications or make its citizens believe in radical ideologies. I feel that ultimately, we as internet-users should be able to distinguish right from wrong for ourselves. Like what Rebecca Mackinnon said, the purpose of technology and what is online should not manipulate us. 
    (174 words, Kamilia, CMM, TB03)

  78. I think that Rebecca MacKinnon speaks the truth when she says that it is problematic how we would balance the need for security and law enforcement and the protection of civil liberties and free speech even in a democratic society. I believe that only some censorship should be in place for only certain issues, for example sites which could possibly promote terrorism or crimes. Other than that, it is pointless to block out sites such as Facebook and Twitter in China as these sites can allow for people to socialize. If there is anything that the government wants to block, it could be the individual posts that may promote self-radicalization or crimes. Also, if the users realize the fact that the government put in place these censorship and surveillance to monitor themselves, it would cause them to rebel and find ways to connect with overseas websites. I also agree that the only legitimate purpose of technology is to improve our lives, not to manipulate or enslave us. What is the point of advancement in technology if we are limited to certain restrictions?

    (182 words, Hafiz Ishak, CMM/TB03)

  79. @11; "we are good at holding govts. accountable " really ?! and you talk "American" !? Any examples of the govt. being held accountable ? I can wait.

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