Censorship as Damage

A Reuters news report has Bill Gates saying the government censorship of web sites will not work.

Microsoft Corp Chairman Bill Gates said on Wednesday that government attempts to censor Web sites or blogs would fail since the banned information could get out in defiance of official efforts.

The spread of private e-mail means online users could distribute banned news despite government injunctions, he told a news conference.

“You may be able to take a very visible Web site and say that something shouldn’t be there, but if there’s a desire by the population to know something, it’s going to get out,” he said.

This is not exactly news. Internetworking was designed to be fault-tolerant, and as one person put it, “The Internet sees censorship as ‘damage’ and routes around it.” During the August Coup of 1991 in the USSR, official news blackouts were evaded using Internet communications, allowing those Soviet citizens with computer connections to pass news and information, contributing to the failure of the coup attempt.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.