Friday, December 10, 2010

Internet censorship in Venezuela: the real objectives

Thus the National Assembly has received this week a law from the vice-president´s office designed to control Internet.   With a symbolic discussion the law is expected to be voted next week. I am not going to go into the details on how the law will or will not control the Internet: whatever I have seen on it is rather unclear and will in the end leave it to some umpire named by the government which will have all discretion to decide who violates the law.

Internet cannot be fully controlled in Venezuela because Venezuela does not have a single network entry point.  It does have a major entry through CANTV which is state owned and that is already monitoring quite a few people without any judicial order, through Cuban agents most likely.  But there are ways to get your messages out without going through CANTV.  So messages will go out of Venezuela unless the state blocks outright twitter et al.

Bloggers like me will be able to keep posting because for that I just need to have a trusted friend and send my posts through e-mail, more difficult to control, the more so if I use some of the simple forms of encryption that are widely available today.  To block me the regime needs basically to block blogger.com and other blogging services.  If Yoani Sanchez can make it from Cuba, surely I will be able to do so.

The absurdity of the law comes to the front when Internet should be treated like TV and radio, that is, some type of contents can only appear between midnight and 6AM.  Does that mean that blogs must suspend some posts so that search engines can find them only at that time?  What about caches?

Clearly, when even China and Cuba have trouble to establish a firm Internet control even though they have a single entry point and they work hard at it, how can you expect Venezuela to succeed when people in Tachira need only to drive 15 minutes to a cybercafe in Cucuta to read and post whatever they want on Internet?  In China or Cuba they cannot drive anywhere Internet is free, except Hong Kong, I suppose.

What gives?

The goal of the regime is elsewhere, certainly not in controlling porn and what not.

The practical goal is that soon there will be self censorship in cyber cafes which are the only web access of many people in Venezuela that cannot afford a computer or Internet and just drop regularly to a cyber.  That is, the poor areas of Caracas will simply have less access to Internet.  Cyber cafes probably will be offered discount services that will be heavily filtered by the state, oh, but so cheap.  Also servers within Venezuela will be relatively easy to track down and be shut as needed.  Anyone that wants to criticize seriously the regime will need to pay for hosting services outside of Venezuela, in hard to come by foreign currency in a country subjected to currency control.

The real goal is elsewhere.  Internet control will work at the level of the individual.  That is, in the case of yours truly, who is infinitely moderate compared to the histrionics of some Venezuelan forums that shall remain nameless at this time, my words could become thought crimes and whenever fascists tarts like Eva Golinger decide it a tribunal will give the order to track me down and jail me if necessary.

In other words, the regime does not care really if my site is erased, hacked or whatever.  As far as they are concerned it can even remain up as long as I am in jail, forbidden to type anything anymore, fined of all my assets, etc, etc....

What the regime is doing with this new law to censor Internet is to define new "crimes" so I can be thrown into jail if needed.

4 comments:

  1. Roger9:38 PM

    This is XXI century Information Technology! If they can't shut down Wikileaks, they won't have much luck stopping little ol Mickileaks or Dannileaks! Oui? What is important is that what we have been saying for (sadly) years now, is exactly what these cables that are now surfacing say. All along it has been stated by the government that they are democratic. If the financial operations of PDVSA are democratic or not is a question that only Fiscals and Lawyers can sort out. Also, Andean Pact, OAS and other treaties control how this is adjudicated.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Daniel if I can serve you as transmitter from here (outside) let me know , I give you a sub-domain.
    Guillermo
    www.provenezuela.de

    ReplyDelete
  3. Island Canuck5:46 AM

    Daniel said:

    "Internet cannot be fully controlled in Venezuela because Venezuela does not have a single network entry point."

    http://www.eluniversal.com/2010/12/11/pol_art_el-gobierno-creara-u_2133910.shtml

    El Gobierno creará un punto de acceso único a Internet

    You must be a physic!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll be waiting to read the international community outrage about this. Yeah, right.

    Best of luck to you Daniel and all of the Venezuelans.

    ReplyDelete

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