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The fastest route to a safer internet requires maximizing freedom for users and networks

Bill OttmanSep 8, 2020, 4:15:34 AM

Censorship worked a lot better back in the dark ages when you could more feasibly burn all traces of an idea. It didn't work fully given that ideas are clearly amorphous, but I wouldn't be surprised if some absolutely epic breakthroughs were lost to the aether (until we figure out how to download that).

What pro-censorship people and organizations need to understand is that the strategy simply does not work anymore, especially with the existence of the internet, distributed systems and now a massive body of data displaying what we already knew: when you ban stuff it goes other places and in many cases grows more out of control. So while it may feel good to count how many trolls you got banned or pieces of sketchy content you got taken down, rest assured, you didn't change their mind. 

What we are really talking about is what is the best way to deal with the insanity of the internet and proactively addressing potentially dangerous things while maximizing freedom and access to information. Because last time I checked the internet one of the greatest forces for education in human history after the spoken word, the written word and the printed word. It is merging with biology. I just said that and it isn't even a controversial statement.

When you speak to people outside the US, it becomes much more obvious. 

Freedom matters more than getting offended. 

A few tenets: 

(Just saw Tenet this weekend, which actually does relate because it has to do with the outrageous complexity of hiding super-advanced non-temporal technology)

1. Surveillance backdoors makes all devices less secure

2. Censorship amplifies the speech it aims to stop

3. Software secrecy restricts technological evolution and the user's ability to knowledgeably consent

4. Decentralized infrastructure and user control decreases reliance on third-parties for access

5. If an app tells you they deleted your data, be skeptical. (Not only because they may be selling it, but also because even if they wanted to delete it, in many cases tombstones or digital footprints are next to impossible to erase. The possible permanence of digital information is simultaneously terrifying because it's a permanent record, but also genius, and I would argue a positive force, because the library can't be burned down and humanity will learn faster.)