The Silence of the Lambs

One huge aspect of the last two weeks that leaves me more and more concerned is the almost uniform silence from technologists. I can count on one hand the blog posts I’ve seen from individuals or companies expressing their feelings about current events. In Australia there are public rallies. In Sweden I know many people who are speaking up about this. But from the technologists in the US, all I hear is an eerie silence. Why is this?

I guess there are three possible explanations. Maybe people are afraid to express an opinion that can be viewed as antiamerican? Or from a corporate side, maybe the economic and judicial risk of doing this worries people to much. The second alternative is that most technologists just don’t care or think their views will have any effect. The third option is that most companies and technologists actually agree with what the US government is doing, and don’t see anything problematic about it.

All these explanations scare me. If individuals are already too scared to speak up, I think we have already lost. And if most companies can’t see that a free and open internet is in their interest, I also think we have lost. But if there are people keeping quiet because they don’t think their views will have effect, I wish they would reconsider. The only reason their views won’t have effect is if everyone keeps quiet. It can start small and grow. One of my close friends recently mentioned the fact that the boycott of South Africa took over twenty years to have any real impact.

So what about the third option? Maybe I’m naive, but I genuinly think we are living in world changing times. I think that these events send the clear message that we are heading straight for a closed Internet in the style of China. Like Ron Paul has said – “In a society where truth becomes treason, then we’re in big trouble”. I think democracy is in mortal danger.

The brazenly open actions by the US government tells me that they don’t even care that people know how they use extra legal tactics to get their means. And if that’s the case, then they are counting on people not speaking up and protesting. Well, this is our opportunity. This is our chance to speak up and say what we feel about what’s happening. And us technologists should be at the forefront of this. It’s our world that is threatened first.

And if I’m right about this, it means this period might be the last chance we have of saying anything.

One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. @lesha

    A friend of mine created this:

    December 26th, 2010

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