Kibunjia The Internet Is Not Your Mothers (Ti Ya Nyokwa)

Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia at the risk of being charged in a court of law.I put it to you the internet is not your Mothers nor does it belong to any commission or government.Information wants to be free, and the Internet fosters freedom of speech on a global scale.

The Internet is a common area, a public space like any village square, except that it is the largest common area that has ever existed. Anything that anybody wishes to say can be heard by anyone else with access to the Internet, and this world-wide community is as large and diverse as humanity itself. Therefore, from a practical point of view, no one community’s standards can govern the type of speech permissible on the Internet. In the words of John Barlow, a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) — “In Cyberspace, the First Amendment is a local ordinance”.

The principle of freedom of speech is also embedded in the Internet’s robust architecture. In the words of John Gilmore, another founding member of the EFF — “The Net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it.” Because of the Internet’s robust design, it is impossible to completely block access to information except in very limited and controlled circumstances, such as when blocking access to a specific site from a home computer, or when using a firewall to block certain sites from employees on a workplace network.

If you believe that progress of human civilization depends on individual expression of new ideas, especially unpopular ideas, then the principle of freedom of speech is the most important value society can uphold. The more experience someone has with the Internet the more strongly they generally believe in the importance of freedom of speech, usually because their personal experience has convinced them of the benefits of open expression. The Internet not only provides universal access to free speech, it also promotes the basic concept of freedom of speech. If you believe that there is an inherent value in truth, that human beings on average and over time recognize and value truth, and that truth is best decided in a free marketplace of ideas, then the ability of the Internet to promote freedom of speech is very important indeed.

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