Fri, Aug 16, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Web watchdog imperils freedom

By Liu Ching-Yi 劉靜怡

In addition to betraying a lack of understanding of what freedom of expression is, it is abundantly apparent that, by drafting in “civil” agencies to impinge upon the freedom of information, the commission seeks to absolve itself of responsibility.

How does the collaborative and open, transparent nature of the process described prevent anyone from violating the freedom of expression? When an NGO with zero liability monitors or even guides Internet content with government backing, what makes this pernicious proposition — giving unconstitutional powers to violate people’s freedom of information without liability — any different from the Chinese government pressuring international Internet companies such as Yahoo and Google to help it curb Internet freedom?

When the government is unable to dispel doubts about its intentions, citizens in the Internet age would be advised not to indulge such preposterous plans to provide protection from Internet content, wherever such powers are invested. If we do, we will be complicit in helping the government create the framework for a closed state.

Liu Ching-yi is a professor in the Graduate Institute of National Development at National Taiwan University.

Translated by Paul Cooper

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