Recent events in North Africa have underscored the importance of open networks in promoting free societies. As citizens of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya rose up to challenge entrenched regimes, those same governments attempted to shut off the flow of information. Libya is the latest example as internet connections in the country were disabled on Friday.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, there are very few nations that tolerate a completely unfettered internet. Parson’s student Yuxi You has mashed up censorship data from the OpenNet Initiative and Reporters Without Borders into a series of infographics. Check the whole set on Yuxi You’s portfolio site.
Here in the United States, market-driven censorship is a greater threat to open networks than government intervention. On Thursday Representative Greg Walden (R-Ore.) introduced an amendment to the budget bill that would prevent the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing its already weak net neutrality rules. The FCC’s December stand on net neutrality was widely regarded as inadequate to protect free speech. Since then, there have already been a few lawsuits attempting to force ISPs to adhere to the existing net neutrality rules.