It had to happen one day. Governments and the web had to collide. And they did, on May 24, 2011 when Nicolas Sarkozy railed against ‘the lawless web’ in front of a gathering that included senior executives from Google, Facebook and Amazon, and web activists like J P Barlow.
The internet will be a key topic of discussion at a gathering of world’s most powerful eight countries. And Sarkozy, in his speech ahead of the G8 event, made it clear “governments are the legitimate guardians of our societies and (web communities) do not forget this”.
This is a speech he gave hours after saying, “The internet is the new frontier, a territory to conquer.”
Web came up, almost miraculously, to provide a welcome break from the corrupt, secretive and malicious real world where words have double meaning. And it all happened without — or in fact due to — lack of any initiative on the part of governments. People built the web on their own, finding the virtual space worthy of creating a world where real-world boundaries based on class and creed do not hold any value. It became a parallel universe.
At last, governments realize the mistake they made by allowing, in their naivety and ignorance, an unchecked growth of the web. This year, they have seen what Facebook, Google, Twitter, WikiLeaks, the anonymous bloggers who spread the fragrance of Jasmine and the average Joe who votes with the +1, can do in the real world. And they don’t like what they see.
As usual, the threat has been sugarcoated. Sarkozy said: “You have changed the world … it has been a total global revolution. What has been unique in this revolution is that it belongs to nobody; it has no flag, no slogan, it is a common good.”
And then down came the hammer: “You have given every individual the chance to be heard everywhere by anyone. People have never had this chance before in history, but that right cannot be held by destroying the rights of others… Total transparency has to be balanced by individual liberty. Do not forget that every anonymous internet user comes from a society and has a life.”
And again: “We have to make sure that the universe that you are responsible for is not a parallel universe outside laws and morals… Governments are the legitimate guardians of our societies and do not forget this.”
So that is it. Game over, folks! Get back to the old real world. Unless the web communities, and especially the new web users, realize the ideals with which the internet flourished.
Barlow tweeted that the G8 objective is to “civilize cyberspace”.
“Civilizing Cyberspace rhymes historically with the European arrival in North America. Without the expediency of smallpox,” he wrote. I hope web users get it right.
Classified By: Political Counselor Brian McFeeters for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
–— SUMMARY AND COMMENT —
1. (SBU) Summary: On February 17, Home Minister Hishammuddin announced that three women and four men who had been found guilty of illicit sex under Syariah law had been caned on February 9. The three became the first women to be caned in Malaysia.
Caning of women in Malaysia had recently become the subject of international scrutiny, and Malaysian legal scholars are wondering what the decision means for the legal system, since caning of women is against federal law.readmorehttp://melayukini786.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/classified-political-counselor-brian-mcfeeters-hypocrite-muslim-minister-in-malaysia