Monday, October 30, 2006

Open up your eyes and the dark ages become bright...

Sometimes, two or more completely different things, meet, and they do so in many strange ways, which even sometimes lead to surprise.

In this case, the first one is the Internet Governance Forum which is taking place in Athens, as we speak (or write…). I only found out about it just a couple of days ago, and I don’t know a single thing about it; as I write these stupid lines I am listening to the live Q&A webcast of the forum, and so far it does not seem to be much more than a stupid, lacking influence and importance convention, contrary to it’s participants, who so seem to be interesting and leaning on the bright side of intelligence, and motivated to say the least. Still, it is just at it’s beginning (3 more days to go) and everyone is just getting acquainted both with each other but with the ‘grounds’ so to speak (or write again…).

The other thing, is the (probably first European) censorship of a blog. In fact it is not a blog, but instead an RSS service indexing all greek blogs. Again I just found out about this a few days ago; the arrest and shut down of the service took place about a year ago. Apparently, the site was indexing a blog which was being overtly critical and satirical of a specific person who went on to sue and so forth and so on… I don’t know the details (well not more than what you can find out for yourselves), but you can immediately see how the 2 things connect.

People being prosecuted for their thoughts is deep-to-the-bone stupid whatever the means used to express these thoughts; on the other hand the IGF is a UN body trying to discover, define and perhaps work on the boundaries of control and inter-region interaction with regards to internet access and usability and policies, within the context of globalization and civil societies.

If we take these two different issues and merge them together, what do we get? The freedom of speech issue on the Internet. Still, I think it goes beyond that. Especially with regards to blogs (really, what is a blog?). It is a matter of freedom of thought, which although this might sound absurd, it is being restricted every day, a process by which we become more tame and predictable. Don’t get confused; it is not a point as to whether it is allowed for someone to write whatever comes up to his/her mind. It is a question as to whether we have the faculties to think and judge for ourselves, criticize, analyze and decide on what we are listening and reading. It is a subject as to whether we are going to entrust ourselves to global systems of communication and thought, or are we going to take the risk and endeavor into a world of subjectivity, diversity, and yes, in fact a lot of garbage, but with a few gems as well. This issue obviously transcends the internet, and is a question of society, politics, and of ourselves. What answers and resolutions we give to this, as many other things that oversee our live, is our legacy and responsibility.

I really don’t know where or how those 2 different (but with many commonalities) things will end up. Nonetheless I am keen to keep my eye open….

P.S. 1: The IGF is a good opportunity for us to realize how lucky we are with regards to other developing countries…

P.S. 2: I believe that there is a workshop in the IGF that will be dealing with spam. As a chronic victim of these kind people, who loose their sleep over my need for a greater penis, whiter sperm, and fast winning stocks, I have a very sincere proposition: book them a hotel room, let them sleep, and when they wake up let them find their room filled with piles paper ads (the original paper spam!), so many, that they cant leave their room!

P.S. 3 (Greek) Οι τσαμπουκάδες των μηνύσεων και των ασφαλιστικών μέτρων είναι ο τραμπουκισμός των θρασύδειλων του 21ου αιώνα.

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