Cyberspace Declaration of Independence

   I found John Berry Barlow’s article to be very interesting and beneficial to understand the effects of legislation geared towards infringing on Freedom of Speech, both on a national and global level.  This article holds such relevency today in that we are seeing online, hacker “vigilante” groups, such as “Anonymous” who are taking this issue of online government control very seriously, and pointing out the flaws in its reasoning. 

   These types of laws are directly affecting our rights guaranteed by amendments protecting our  Freedom of Speech and Expression .  The laws of the government that aim to censor expression and speech over the internet are blatant attempts at unwarranted and unjustified government control.  But, rarely, has the slide been as slippery as this topic.  By placing restrictions on material the government is directly contradicting itself.  I think more and more people are realizing the importance of standing up against legislation such as the Telecom Reform Act.

   These ideas, strongholded by government officials that are still trying to understand the internet’s progress and benefits, try and fit, as the author of the article mentions, this idea of the internet, into an antique box of conservative ideas and government control.  But, the interent just won’t fit there and when legislation is passed to try and define the internet, it is alsways easy to determine the obvious loopholes in the reasoning. 

    As for Humdog’s article, it strengthens the idea of the internet being a place of new, yet to be defined, communication, with an influx of new ideas, opinions and thoughts, infiltrating the world. 

   Humdog speaks about gender perceptions on the internet, and references how her readers just figured she was a man based on things like her screenname, her content and her ideas.  She also speaks about the idea that, although the internet is an explosion of ideas and thoughts, services that people use on the internet, censor aspects of the content all time. 

   She also speaks about the importance of inter communication within an online community and how it is not necessarily reflective of the community (on a geographical level), that the person posting the information lives in.  I think there is something to be said about that concept.  The internet breaks down lines of geographical borders that previous media could not possibly account for.  When you are posting a blog, you aren’t necessarily writing it for you local community, but rather the online community.  A vast and different concept than a town newspaper’s editorial section.  The internet is free and open. 

  She goes on to speak about the “anonymous” aspect of the internet, in that, in a lot of ways, the content levels the playing field.  Good content, good ideas and enlightened perspectives trump the ideas behind what gender or class the person writing it belongs to.  These lines are blurred and it has acted as a catalyst for new ideas to surace and to be considered to be valid, based on their content, not on who is writing it.  She does bring light the drawbacks of this and the limitations it presents to the viewers and writers of the content.  How opinions can be harsh and held without consequence by an anonymous online community.  Is this reality?  Or is this new medium reflective of ideas that are too obscure to predict patterns and legitimacy? 



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