Wikipedia Censors Internet Access

Wikipedia Protest - 1/18/2012

Free access to Internet content is a founding principal upon which its idealistic founders built it.

In the early days, restrictions of any sort, and commercial advertising of any kind were much frowned on for corrupting the purity of the Internet religion.

Everything should be open and free.

But… we’ve come a long way, baby!

Today, Internet thieves, and hackers engaged in international espionage, are rampant everywhere and its often hard to find any content at all through all the advertisements. Internet security has exploded into a multi-hundred billion dollar business.

Today… websites all over the Net are up in arms protesting new bills proposed in the U.S. Congress aimed at curbing theft and espionage.

American-style freedom of speech is also a fundamental value embraced by the Internet community.

Protesting is a valuable component of American democracy, and freedom of speech and Internet freedom of expression.

One web site, however – Wikipedia – takes their protest to far.

Freedom of Speech

Ironically, a joke encapsulates this whole Internet controversy.

A very wise lecturer I know, taught me a joke I like to use to tease the person who invited me to speak. I like to tell this joke at the start of technical presentations.

It goes like this…

“Hi, I’m Azleader. I’m honored and very pleased to be able to make a presentation at your conference today.

“I had a wonderful conversation with {person who invited me to speak} discussing the issues you need  me to cover. Everything was going along great until he unexpected asked…

‘Do you believe in free speech?’

“Stunned and surprised, I thought for a moment then indignantly retorted…

“Of course, I believe in free speech! Its a fundamental right to which all Americans are entitled. It is the bedrock on which this great nation is built!!

“He then replies, ‘Oh, Good! I want you to come to my conference and make a free speech!'”

That joke never fails to get laughs… especially since the butt of the joke is usually in the audience!

The serious side is this… If I put together intellectual properties I own and go to a great deal of time, energy and expense to make that a product that I can sell, then I’m entitled to be paid for it.

No one on the Net has the right to sell it as their own or give it away for free.

And that is at the heart of Congress’s legislation.

Wikipedia’s Sin

Wikipedia has as much right to freedom of speech as I do. In the final analysis, their opinion is equally as valuable as mine.

But they did something different today from other sites… they prevented free access to information on the Internet that millions of their users, myself included, gave the world for free!

That is exactly opposite of what they are supposedly promoting.

The ends do NOT justify the means!

WordPress on the other hand, who host this column, asked their users to support today’s protest, too.

They have that right. But they did something vastly different from Wikipedia.

WordPress offered their users these choices:

  • Display a ribbon on their blogs in support of the protest
  • Block access to their sites… a la, Wikipedia
  • Do nothing

It is the user’s choice. WordPress is to be applauded for their approach.

They expressed their support for the protests, as is their right, but allowed their individual users to decide for themselves how to express their views.

Wiki, on the other hand, decided arbitrarily to violate the very principal they claim to support. But they do, however, allow us to see the content THEY WANT US TO SEE.

That is far closer to fascism than it is democracy.

What they do allow us to see is well balanced, but that is not the point. The point is that THEY decide for US what WE should see!

When writing this column today there were many times I wanted to look up something in Wikipedia. I couldn’t.

That only reemphasized for me the error of Wikipedia’s decision.

Conclusions

The issue of intellectual property rights and international espionage on the Internet, which is the whole purpose of bills before Congress, is non-partisan.

Two bills advancing property rights come from Democrats and one comes from a Republican.

SOPA- H.R.3261 and PIPA – S.968… the two main bills everyone has heard of – one from each party – are getting all the press. There were 70 cosigners for these two bills. That is a lot.

A 3rd bill, OPEN – S.2029, from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, may be the best of them all. But no one has heard of it.

If lots of Americans actually read all three bills, then we might stand a chance of making the right decision… whatever that might be.

Otherwise, Wikipedia will decide for us what is best.

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About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Jan 18, 2012, in Censorship, Congress, Free Internet, Internet Access, news, Politics, Wikipedia. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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