Classic Internet Censorship – The New York Times

I want us to consider the implications of this new reality: in three of the four most populous countries in the world, governments have now given themselves the power to order the internet to be wiped from messages from citizens the authorities don’t like. .

Indonesia – the world’s fourth most populous country and a democracy – is implementing what civil rights organizations say are regulations that are too broad to require the removal of online speech that officials say is a disruption of society or public order. Most major internet companies, including Google, Meta, Netflix, TikTok, Apple and Twitter have effectively agreed to abide by the rules, for now.

Indonesian regulations are another sign that strict online controls are no longer confined to autocratic countries like China, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar. They are also increasingly the domain of democracies that want to use the law and the internet to shape citizens’ discussions and beliefs.

In free societies, there has long been a bitter struggle over freedom of expression and its limits. But one of the lingering questions of the online age is what governments, digital businesses and citizens should do now that the internet and social media are making it easier for people to share their truth (or their lies). ) with the world and more attractive to national citizens. leaders to shut everything down.

What is happening in three of the world’s four largest countries: China, India and Indonesia? the United States is the 3rd largest – is simpler than that. This corresponds to the classic definition of censorship. Governments seek to silence their external critics.

Indonesian officials said their new regulations were needed to protect people’s privacy, remove online material that promotes child sexual abuse or terrorism, and make the internet a welcoming space for everyone.

Governments sometimes have legitimate reasons to shape what happens online, such as preventing the spread of dangerous misinformation. But Dhevy Sivaprakasam, Asia-Pacific policy adviser for global digital rights group Access Now, said Indonesia’s rules are a fig leaf used by the government to stifle journalism and protests by citizens, with few checks on this power.

Regulations require all kinds of digital businesses, including social media sites, digital payment and video game companies, and messaging apps, to constantly search for material online that breaks the law and remove it within minutes. hours if discovered. Authorities also have the right to request data about users, including people’s communications and financial transactions. Companies that do not comply with the law can be fined or forced to stop operating in the country.

The Indonesian regulations, which are new and have yet to be enforced, “raise serious concerns for the rights to freedom of expression, association, information, privacy and security”, told me said Sivaprakasam.

Access Now has also exposed other sweeping online censorship laws in Asia, including those in Vietnam, Bangladesh and India.

(My colleagues reported today that the Indian government has withdrawn a data protection bill that privacy advocates and some lawmakers say would have given authorities overly broad powers over personal data, while by exempting law enforcement and public entities from the provisions of the law.)

It becomes more complicated trying to decide what to do about these laws. Companies in technology and other industries tend to say they are required to comply with the laws of the countries in which they operate, but they sometimes push back or even withdraw from countries like Russia, arguing that the laws or governments’ interpretations of them violate people’s fundamental freedoms.

Access Now and other rights groups have said companies should not abide by what they say are violations of international human rights and other standards in Indonesia.

US internet company executives have privately said that the US government should do more to resist overly strict government controls on online expression, rather than leaving it to Google, Apple, Meta and Twitter alone. They say American companies should not be put in a position to try to independently defend the citizens of other countries against abuses by their own governments.

There are, of course, much less clear questions about when and if governments should have a say in what people post. Countries like Germany and Turkey have state controls on online news, employed in the name of eradicating hateful ideologies or keeping society healthy. Not everyone in these countries agrees that these are reasonable Internet restrictions, or disagrees with how the limits are interpreted or enforced.

The U.S. Supreme Court may soon rule on whether the First Amendment allows government authorities to dictate rules of expression on Facebook and other major social media sites, which now make those decisions primarily by themselves.

The original, utopian idea of ​​the Internet was that it would help break down national borders and give citizens abilities they never had before to challenge their governments. We saw one version of it, but then governments wanted more control over what happened online. “Governments are very powerful and they don’t like to be moved,” Mishi Choudhary, a lawyer who works on Internet rights in India, told me last year.

Our challenge, therefore, is to allow governments the ability to act in the public interest to shape what happens online when necessary, while calling them out when authorities abuse this right in order to maintain their own power.

Tip of the week

Are you curious about buying a used computer, phone or other device? It’s okay to save money and be kinder to the planet, as long as you don’t buy lemons. Brian X. Chenthe consumer technology columnist for the New York Times, has his own story about buying used goods smartly.

Recently, my wife wanted a new iPad Pro to create illustrations and maybe send some emails from time to time. I grimaced.

The larger version of the tablet costs $1,100. Add an Apple Pencil for onscreen drawing ($130) and a keyboard ($100 or more), and we’d have spent $1,330. Instead, I did some legwork and bought whatever was used. My price was $720. Here’s how I did it.

I started by looking for used iPad Pro devices on eBay. Models released in 2021 were still expensive – around $850. The 2020 models were much less. I ended up buying a 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 256 gigabytes for $600. It’s about half the price of a newer model with less data storage.

I was careful. I purchased an iPad described as “good condition” from a seller whose reviews were 100% positive. The seller even included a one-year warranty and a 30-day return policy. Much to my delight, the iPad arrived a few days later and looked brand new.

I couldn’t find a good deal on an Apple Pencil on eBay or Craigslist, but I did on Facebook Marketplace. I found a seller who lived near me with five star reviews. His profile showed a photo of him with his girlfriend, and he was very polite in our conversation. I felt comfortable. We met at lunchtime in the parking lot of a taqueria and I paid her $70 via Venmo.

The last step was to buy a keyboard. Apple sells its own models, but I opted for Logitech’s. I found one on Amazon listed as in “like new” condition, meaning the keyboard had already been purchased and returned with an open box. It was $50, compared to $115 for a new one. When the keyboard arrived it looked pristine and worked perfectly.

The bottom line: There is an art to buying used. There is some risk involved, but you can minimize the chances of being scammed by looking for online sellers with high ratings, generous return policies, and product guarantees. And when it comes to in-person transactions, look for good vibes and meet in public. The money saved was worth it to me.

Should you buy a refurbished phone? (Consumer Reports)

  • They even compared their army to a losing football team: On Chinese social media, many people took the rare step of mocking their government for not taking military action to prevent President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. My colleague Li Yuan wrote that the online reaction showed that the nationalism encouraged by the Chinese Communist Party could also be turned against the government.

  • Attention buyer: People looking for weight loss treatments have many options for telehealth companies. Stat News reported that virtual options can be great, but experts also worry that some sites may be ineffective or produce prescriptions purely for profit.

  • We have feelings on the sounds: Twitter’s app now plays swoosh and alien sounds when people refresh their feeds. Input Mag explored why sounds are so important in technology and product design.

look at this hungry goat doing a good job annihilating invasive plants. (I’ve shared videos of New York’s Riverside Park goat herd before, but I can’t get enough of them.)

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