Freedom and control; liberty and security; citizen and politician
Luis Corrons has started his new blog, Libertarian Security, with an excellent post: Freedom vs Security. He paints a worrying picture, especially where government intervention is concerned:
Governments even go as far as saying that any limitations on people’s liberties aren’t actually that, but they are giving citizens more liberty by protecting their security. This is nonsense. However, anybody that listens to 100 99 percent (let’s keep the hope alive) of politicians, however democratic they may seem, will see that their strategy is always similar: They all try to justify themselves by stating that they restrict our liberties to give us more freedom.
All this will eventually change the Internet as we currently know it… for worse at least when it comes to freedom of speech. In a few years’ time, besides protecting ourselves against cyber-attacks we will also have to look for mechanisms that guarantee our rights against government abuse of power.
Freedom vs Security
Apart from recommending Luis’ blog, and hoping that he can find the time for many more posts, I really want to add a further illustration of the sort of political double-talk gobbledygook that emanates from our ‘leaders’. It concerns net neutrality, something most thinking people believe to be essential for future freedom. Well, Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda, also believes in net neutrality – and that’s incredibly reassuring. How do we know? Because she has told us:
“I am determined to ensure that citizens and businesses in the EU can enjoy the benefits of an open and neutral internet…”
Digital Agenda: Commission underlines commitment to ensure open internet principles applied in practice
But it’s worth actually considering what she really means. What is ‘net neutrality’ to Neelie Kroes?
Bear in mind that new European rules came into force on 25 May. “Member States’ telecoms regulatory authorities [must] promote the ability of internet users “to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice” (Article 8(§4)g of the telecoms Framework Directive 2002/21/EC, as amended by Directive 2009/140/EC).” She went on to add
Other rules directly relevant to net neutrality that enter into force on 25 May as part of new EU telecoms rules include requirements concerning:
- transparency (e.g. any restrictions limiting access to services or applications, connection speeds)
- quality of service (regulators can set minimum quality levels) and
- the ability to switch operator (within one working day).
Transparency. This means that where the telecoms providers are not neutral, they have to say what they are providing, and that, in EU terms, will make them neutral.
Quality of service. Important though it is, WTF has this to do with net neutrality?
Switch. I would like to know what relevance the ability to rapidly switch providers has to net neutrality.
All of this is exactly what Luis Corrons warns about. Our political leaders are intent on removing net neutrality while persuading us that they are protecting it. And the tragedy is that too many of us will believe them, and allow them.