June 6, 2012

Is Online Freedom Overrated?

When times are good, one can get away with murder. But when the dial turns, a lot of hidden skeletons come out of closet. Governments world over have been facing and fighting increasing public scrutiny over their affairs. All the seemingly simple stuff like grant of licenses, or some rights now draw intense media attention, and more likely than not criticism. No wonder steps are being taken to limit online freedom, or limit exchange or damaging views. And with it comes the backlash. Most neo liberals defend their online freedom, and are joined by some celebrities as well. However, in my view, they are fighting the wrong battle.

Online freedom is all about the right to visit websites, post comments, and share stuff (subject to copyright). Any restriction on any of these is met by a huge uproar on the online world. However, there are so many things in real life which is similarly prohibited, but no one fights for them. You can't visit all the places in the world, some places are banned for entry. You can't say just anything to anyone in real world as well. And you are not allowed to share stuff freely - even inter state trades have barriers. People need visa to travel from country A to country B. So while we have been so tolerant of all these imposed restrictions in real world, we feel suffocated when some website or article is banned by the government.

Do we really think before we share/tweet something? Does it really affect our lives or defending online freedom is the new thing in vogue?

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