May 20, 2011

The New Campaign to Demonize Google for Their Protection of the Constitution

Who cares about the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution?

Judging from recent events, it's very clear that Google does. On the other hand it's also increasingly obvious that many politicians, and in significant respects the RIAA and MPAA, apparently do not.

This controversy has now come to something of a head due to remarks a couple of days ago by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, regarding U.S. government attempts to impose Internet censorship and blocking regimes via the new PROTECT IP Act currently being considered in Congress.

Already, the RIAA and MPAA are distorting his remarks with bellicose public statements in retort.

Unfortunately, local circumstances currently prevent me from posting in as much depth as I would prefer, but for some very recent background on this entire area, please see from my blog:

Knowledge as Sacrilege: The Criminalizing of Links and Search Engines [15 May 2011]

"Free Speech Be Damned!": Congressional Bill Would Censor Search Engines [11 May 2011]

Censorship, Governments, and Flagellating Google (White Paper) [4 May 2011]

I believe those essays make it pretty clear where I stand on these issues!

One portion in particular of Eric Schmidt's remarks earlier this week have been receiving the most flak from various parties apparently interested in undermining the Constitution for financial gain:

"If there is a law that requires DNSs to do X and it's passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president of the United States and we disagree with it then we would still fight it," he added. "If it's a request the answer is we wouldn't do it, if it's a discussion we wouldn't do it."

The MPAA, RIAA, and their various political minions have jumped on this statement claiming that it represents the intention of "corporate imperialist Google" to violate the law.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Google has made it quite clear that they support reasonable and appropriate efforts to fight piracy on the Internet, as they should. But it is also clear that they do not support proposals that would create censorship and blocking regimes such as those currently being proposed -- that would inevitably undermine free speech in very much the same manner that the U.S. has decried in other countries.

Here's my interpretation. Google isn't saying that they'll violate laws. Obviously, Google has to obey valid laws.

What Google is saying is that if asked to voluntarily participate in what they consider to be inappropriate blocking/censorship regimes they will refuse to do so. And I interpret Eric's remarks to mean that Google will fight in the courts against those laws in this area that they feel to be inappropriate, rather than just letting free speech rights go merrily down the drain.

Google's stance in these regards is entirely befitting and commendable. And I believe it is very much in keeping with various of their past actions to push back via the legal system against overreaching attempts by government to access our data.

My worn and battered crystal ball saw this day coming for years. I've long been concerned that government would attempt to subjugate free speech on the Internet by subverting key Internet functions such as DNS and search engines, and by attempting to brazenly, shamelessly, and falsely brand associated functions as active collaborators in criminal activities.

Now that day has come. And now we must fight back, or watch much of the promise of the Internet be mercilessly sacrificed on the altar of those specters who view the Net not as a tool for the blossoming of knowledge and speech, but rather as a threat to their traditional business models and financial fiefdoms.

The red pill or the blue bill? Freedom or servility?

The future of the Internet is in our hands.


Posted by Lauren at May 20, 2011 10:46 AM | Permalink
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