August 29, 2007

Even the Navy Can't Censor the Internet

Greetings. I frequently make the assertion that it's impossible to successfully censor the Internet by trying to remove materials that have already been posted publicly after they've attracted attention. What's published is published, what's done is done. The genie won't just refuse to go back into the bottle, he'll stick his tongue out at you as well -- or worse.

You may recall the international brouhaha a couple of weeks ago over the Navy pulling from YouTube all copies of an (originally relatively obscure -- now infamous) amateur music video posted by a user named "PUMPIT01" and produced on the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan (CVN76), as described in this story among many others.

The video in question ("Women of CVN76") has been variously described as being removed due to security violations (brief shots of utterly innocuous reactor-related areas), "inappropriate use of safety equipment," and other explanations.

The real reason for the Navy's "reaction" is clearly just plain old ordinary embarrassment, especially since the ship's CO has a cameo role in the amusing production.

But my point here isn't to post a video review, but rather to emphasize that for all the noise about deleting the video, it of course remains easily available with but a minimum amount of effort.

You may feel that the inability to effectively "recall" posted materials is a blow for freedom, or to the contrary an information control disaster. But either way, it's a fact -- a reality that we can't escape. And perhaps the sooner we come to terms with this truth, the less time we'll be wasting at shadow boxing with useless Internet censorship attempts. There are far better ways that we can be spending our time.

Excuse me? Oh, where's the video? Like I said, finding a copy is actually quite simple.

Example: For the sake of the argument, let's say that you did a Google Search right now for the straightforward query of:

cvn-76 women pumpit01 "click here"

No magic words. No secret codes. Just pretty obvious stuff from the news stories about the video, plus a little common search sense. And while any given search results are often fairly ephemeral, and any particular copy of material found at any given time may still be removed, well, the Internet is a big place, and the Lords of Censorship remain essentially impotent, for better or worse, indeed.


Posted by Lauren at August 29, 2007 10:25 PM | Permalink
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