Glenn Greenwald on the Battle for Control of the Internet

“Whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they have not been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. Yet look what has happened to them. They have been removed from Internet … their funds have been frozen … media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization. What is really going on here is a war over control of the Internet, and whether or not the Internet can actually serve its ultimate purpose—which is to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world’s most powerful factions.”

Glenn Greenwald

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15 thoughts on “Glenn Greenwald on the Battle for Control of the Internet

  1. Imagine if they went after the New York Times or The Guardian in the same way that they’re going after Wikileaks. I’ve never visited the Wikileaks site or read anything revealed there, yet I know all sorts of these state secrets as well. Why? Because they were revealed simultaneously in the Times and Guardian and via Yahoo and CNN and Fox.

    What has Assange done that news organizations the world over haven’t? It’s not his fault that these documents have been released, he just runs a service that provides a conduit for their public dissemination. I seem to recall his being lauded in the media for some earlier revelation of corporate malfeasance, although the specifics don’t come to mind right now. Today, however, freedom has revealed arguable ugliness about our government and not a major corporation, so it’s as good a time as any to put a stop to this whole “internet freedom” idea. Then when the Republicans bring up Net Neutrality, we can all remember how evil the internet is.

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  2. The battle for the telephone and the “battle” for the television and radio have already been decided just as the Internet was in 1934 before it was called, “the Internet”, and was simply wire communications as defined in US Title 47 § 153.
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode47/usc_sec_47_00000153—-000-.html#52
    That is all it has ever been and the “battle” was over before it ever began. “Hackers” are making others pay? How? Denial of service attacks? These “hackers” are simply snugging the hangman’s noose tightly around their necks and will quickly disappear.

    Releasing “top secret” data is not a crime? How ridiculous?

    I know extremely above “top secret” data but also realize disclosure of this is a crime. My “top secret” data would embarrass the US and a few other countries I won’t even name. Security clearances were once more involved?

    The truth will NOT always set you free especially when you are wrong!

    Telling a secret can conflate to murder by proxy. There is no battle for control of the Internet Mr Greenwald. You reveal your lack of intellect by believing there ever was. Just read the Communications Act of 1934. They used shorter words in the roughly 315 pages and it is NOT top secret.

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  3. The reality is the abusive people in power (aka huge and powerful economic interests and the governments that support and are paid off by them) are only afraid of one thing. It’s not guns, bombs, or any other physical threat. What they are afraid of is exposure. They are afraid of a public that is informed about their secret atrocities. Go Wikileaks!

    (and the really cool thing is — the internet is now well beyond government control and censorship)

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    • “(and the really cool thing is — the internet is now well beyond government control and censorship)” What?
      CD, Are you high or otherwise cognitively impaired?
      Well beyond control or censorship? OMFG You can’t even convince yourself of that can you? Exposure is a physical threat and my secret knowledge will die when I do because they are too extreme to reveal safely. Thousands of US Marines know of these and NONE will ever reveal because it is obviously illegal and would not be safe.

      Ignorant fits describing anyone who supports leaks of private data. Not schooled in the severity of the physical harm a real leak can cause. Nobody who knows anything as serious as thousands of veterans now know will EVER leak or will EVER support Wikileaks.

      “Mews flash”
      If you are momentarily interesting to a woman and then have sex with her after luring her to sleep or intoxicating her, it is a crime. The female who is asleep does not often say “stop” so don’t bother with a condom and prove you can leave your mark on/in the world. DNA is hard to deny. Just say she wanted it.

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    • Curtis: “CD, Are you high or otherwise cognitively impaired?”

      Curtis, that’s an ad hominem fallacy you’ve committed there. It is also a gratuitous insult. Neither is permissible on my blog. You owe CD an apology.

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  4. @Curtis Neeley: How do you know the women did not consent? Were you there? Neither was I. And the reality is we don’t know. What we do know is the timing of their allegations is very convenient and thus suspicious. Fair?

    While I do not disagree that the release of secret information can jeopardize lives, I also know that our government has a looong and dirty track record of jeopardizing innocent lives and engaging in military conflicts all over the world — not to protect national security or bring stabilization to a certain region but to seize control of economic interests. You don’t really deny that, do you? There is a reason why Americans are hated in many parts of the world.

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    • @CD I apologize and have embarrassed myself by breaking an understood rule here. The timing of their allegations is inconvenient for Wikileaks and it was more inconvenient for them if it actually occurred. The truth will never be known except by the guy and the accusers.

      I was a meritoriously promoted NCO (corporal) in the USMC but am not a veteran. I believe wars are generally wrong and was discharged as a conscientious objector to war not based on a religious objection but a moral one during a rare peace-time. I should not have made the comment in the tone that I did and apologize profusely. Please forgive my error. Your cognitive abilities are obviously better than most. I should not have implied otherwise.

      I was overstressed due to a Federal Court hearing and should not have showed out. The hearing went well and the “Open Internet” goes to a jury in July and I should not have acted so poorly.

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  5. How this controversy resolves itself will determine a lot of the Internet’s future as an information highway.

    I’m disappointed but not surprised that Wikileaks has been the target of so much animosity. When someone challenges powerful entities, those entities push back, hard.

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  6. One more thought. People in power who abuse that power view the free-flow of information particularly via the internet as a dire threat to them and their operations. Therefore, they do not merely prefer having control over information, the continuation of their abusive activities depends on it. “Tell people what the facts are and then interpret the meaning of those facts for them.” Censorship would certainly enable their continuing abuse and propagation of white-washed propaganda.

    Seems to me the imminent threat of exposure ultimately has the potential to save more innocent lives because it could conceivably prevent abusive and unjust acts from occurring in the first place.

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  7. Let’s clarify something rather basic: Assange and wikileaks aren’t bound to any security clearance or its rules; they’re not even American citizens, let alone functionaries of the US government, or any other government for that matter. The insiders at the Pentagon and State Department (etc.) who leaked the information *to* wikileaks have violated the rules under which they work.

    Governments aren’t individuals with some right to privacy. What government does is done in our name and on our dime, and inasmuch as we’re still assuming this is a free and open society, this entails a strong presumption in favor of allowing citizens to learn what its representatives are doing, why, and how.

    This would not and does not apply to individual human beings but it does apply to government entities in free societies: if you don’t want to be “embarrassed” by the release of information you’re keeping secret, don’t do things that will tend to get you embarrassed.

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  8. @Curtis Neeley: No worries. I have developed a thick skin over the years and have been accused of worse things. And just between you and me, sometimes I am cognitively impaired and I would occasionally get high if I could (ssshhh). I’ve also been known to comment on various blogs while under the slight influence of alcohol — some of my best and most coherent comments.

    Allegations of sexual misconduct are difficult to gauge, aren’t they? Experts claim that the physical evidence in most rape cases is consistent with both consensual and nonconsensual sex. So absent a video recording the evidence comes down to he said/she said and it’s not easy. Who to believe? Defense lawyers try to portray women as whores (although relatively recent developments in rules of evidence generally makes evidence of prior sexual behavior inadmissible). Of course, I happen to know a few innocent men who were convicted on such he said/she said evidence. So it cuts both ways. Some juries are so outraged by the nature of the allegations they will convict. That seems to be particularly true in religious conservative communities.

    Thank you for your gracious and kind words. I’m glad your hearing went well.

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  9. Welcome to the future. The internet will never live up to its Utopian ideals when the state holds the reins. Just think how funs things will get once cyber-warfare really gets going.

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  10. Dear Paul,

    I have followed the release of these “secret” cables with some interest and have found it to be revealing in some subtle ways. Firstly, the actual content seems mostly to be statements that confirm the “status quo” and even sometimes borderline gossip. However, I was surprised and then again not so surprised by the reaction of certain American politicians. The first thing that came to my mind is, “well that’s a bit hypocritical don’t you think?”. After all the same people who denounced Assange as a terrorist, advocated criminal charges be brought forth against him, and even wished for his assassination were the same people who somberly contemplated Liu Xiabo’s imprisonment. The whole episode seems outrageously ironic. What do you think?

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    • I think yours is as solid of an analysis as anything I’ve heard on this topic, Abibi. Also, I think the Government has been very effective in stirring up animosity and misunderstanding towards Assange. Over Christmas, I discovered that my sister-in-law — who is pretty close to being a genius — had bought into some of the Government’s propaganda about him. Scary.

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