Volume 17, Issue 7
Week of February 17, 2014
In This Issue
Feature: Balkanizing The Net: Benefits and Costs
Quotes of the Week
- China Hitting the Great Wall
- Redefining the Human Immune System: The Most Exciting Idea of the Decade?
- Abenomics: The End of the Sugar High
In Case You Missed It…
Members Making News
My friend and SNS member Vint Cerf, in a terrific interview by Larry Smarr at FiRe 2013, described the experience of launching the Internet. And while he addressed many of the changes and pressures involved in its evolution, the idea that any country would just take it over was never part of the plan. (I am happy to announce that Vint will be returning to FiRe 2014.)
When politicians from democratic countries first considered the effects of the Net on China, their naive assumption was that more information would be brought into this closed society, and thereby increase the ultimate chances for democracy and free speech.
Very quickly, it became clear that just the opposite was true: the leaders of China used the “Great Firewall” to shut off all contact between citizens and any websites, stories, even words deemed not in the national interest. Worse, the system became the perfect surveillance tool to detect, and then often detain, political dissidents of even the most mild nature.
Instead of promoting freedom, ChinaNet became the primary tool in an increasingly repressive society, under both Hu Jin Tao and now Xi Jinping.