Monday, June 6, 2011

Hillary Speech About Internet

[via YouTube]
“Think of all the ways in which people and organizations rely on confidential communications…businesses…journalists…retribution/exposure…the need for [confidentiality]…Wikileaks…government documents stolen…” At this point, Hillary begins to make a very strategically specific case, a case tailored to her specific interests.  There is a completely different direction in which she could have gone.
    I would simply suggest we look at all the instances of confidentiality and try to eliminate whatever can be eliminated. Hillary covers this too. At lease she seems to, but in every case, she also backtracks and makes the case for less openness, not more openness, in a very crafted and targeted set of ideas.
    “confidentiality is essential…but of course governments also have a duty to be transparent [too]…we must be judicious about when we close our work off to the public…open to the people [too]…[much] government data [is] online…depends on maintaining a balance, between what’s public and what should and must remain out of the public domain…the scale must be…in favor of openness…”
At one point, she makes a strong case for free speech in general (24:27). She seems to continuously veer back and forth between the freedoms and the restrictions. She wants a general trend towards openness (yes; this is how she or Bill would be elected) “But, when it comes to online speech, the United States has chosen not to depart from our time-tested principles. We urge our people to speak with civility, to recognize the power and reach that their words can have…tragic examples of how online bullying can have…consequences…empowering people to make their own choices…we protect free speech with the force of law [she breaks her flow at this word and stumbles here], and we appeal to the force of reason to win out over hate…” Everything up until this point in the speech points to a kind of balancing act, which she contradicts with: “we do not have to choose among them: liberty and security, transparency and confidentiality, freedom of expression and tolerance – these all make up the foundation of a free, open and secure society as well as of a free, open and secure internet.” Sounds like a contradiction there, and at this point mention of control is dropped and only freedom is discussed. She then rejects the idea of partitioning, or of any kinds of “walls that divide the internet.”
     Here, my ideas seem to differ; my position is that we should divide the internet; I favor a division between a business and a non-business internet. This is what we should do. I do not know why, if there is “an economic internet and a social internet”, the internet itself would be prone to repression. The internet could be divided, and yet both parts could be free. Antagonism towards division per se is weird. The mere fact of division does not imply restriction of lack of freedom. The whole universe is divided between particulars and universals, anyways. The human race is, for example, divided between male and female. The French say, "vive le difference,” why does that become a problem? The fact of division does not imply some kind of problem – division exists for a reason. Why would the French say that?
     All you have to do is not overly repress either of the two divisions.  There are divisions, though. In the U.S. there is a huge division, between rural and urban; there is a division between rural persons, who tend to be conservatives, and urban professional persons who are many kinds of liberal. She is on very shaky ground here. She does not double back to the security concerns expressed at the beginning. The speech forgets that theme. So now, for a long stretch, the speech is completely for openness.  For this whole stretch she speaks only of “an open internet”, and “open societies”, etc. Suddenly she says “rule of law,” though. That implies the control factors. I thought she would start to double back to the security concerns again. She doesn't.
She speaks of all the “challenges we are facing,” how to “handle” things. “…corporate partners.” She wants to bring in the activists, the ngo’s. “Civil Society 2.0” She drops the anti-Wikileaks stuff; continually comes back to the theme of “openness” instead. ...“open internet…internet freedom isn’t about any one particular activity online. It’s about assuring that the internet remains a space…we want to keep the internet open”
Here again is this generalized advocacy of openness, and also with an implication of no divisions to the openness. Then there is the word we." 
     The “we” here indicates a particular take on political freedoms – that they come from the government. The “we” is the government. She speaks of “defending the space in which all these things occur.” “This is one of the grand challenges of our time.” Grander yet would be to create a space that includes the phenomena of division, better reflecting the reality of the way the world really is, for it is a world where a lot of people disagree.

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