Authoritarianism on the Internet

Freedom of Speech on the Internet is essential for guys on the Manosphere to be able to exchange ideas about men’s issues, men’s health, men’s rights, father’s rights, predatory gynocentrism, fourth wave feminism, game, PUAs and more. In other words, Internet freedom is part of what men should be fighting for in addition to all of the other Manosphere topics. The problem is the growing control of the Internet by governments around the world and the freedom-killing censorship by the big social media giants.

In 2018, the report, Freedom on the Net 2018 – The Rise of Digital Authoritarnianism emphasized the continuing loss of Internet Freedom. The first two paragraphs of the report state:

“The internet is growing less free around the world, and democracy itself is withering under its influence.

Disinformation and propaganda disseminated online have poisoned the public sphere. The unbridled collection of personal data has broken down traditional notions of privacy. And a cohort of countries is moving toward digital authoritarianism by embracing the Chinese model of extensive censorship and automated surveillance systems. As a result of these trends, global internet freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2018.”

This year MaidSafe sent out an email about this subject. Here is part of that email:

At MaidSafe we believe the internet is a force for good. Enabling 4.3 billion users to access knowledge and stay in touch with friends and family thousands of miles away are just some of the many benefits. However, as the political crisis in Sudan deepens, once again we see the Internet used as a weapon, this time by the Transitional Military Council (TMC), which currently controls the country after President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in April. Pro-democracy protestors, who are campaigning for a power transition agreement, have been attacked by the TMC and many have been killed.

On June 5th, the TMC started to systematically shut down Internet access by disrupting services from two large local mobile carriers; MTN and Mobitel. The clamp down continued through the blocking of major gateways for carrier-grade network (CGNAT) routes used by the vast majority of the Sudanese citizens.

While it is heartening to see some citizens fighting back in court this week, it reminds us that repressive regimes use restricting Internet access as part of a range of tools they have at their disposal to repress their people. Digital surveillance, hacking, censorship and spreading of disinformation are also commonly used.

Of course, authoritarian activity is not just reserved for Sudan. The Freedom of the Net Report, a comprehensive study of internet freedom in 65 countries covering 87% of the world’s Internet users, teaches us that as a society we are not enjoying greater online liberty. On the contrary, freedom within 26 countries has declined since June 2017 and only 19 countries experienced net improvements during that time.

The overarching answer to these rights abuses is, in theory, relatively simple; remove governmental control of the Internet. However in practice, implementing this is more challenging as those in charge inevitably resist any loss of power or control. In our view, technological solutions that shift control to the user are preferable as they are impossible for those in power to ignore. A combination of technologies present one such possible solution.

Rather than using traditional Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that governments can control, many companies, such as; SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb and others, are working on launching thousands of low earth orbit satellites that aim to provide global Internet access that cannot be stopped on the whims of an authoritarian regime. In essence, low latency internet available to underserved communities around the world.

Furthermore, complementary and decentralized Internet technologies like the SAFE Network, will enable users to collectively host the world’s data, and to browse the web and communicate privately and securely without reliance on a single entity or government permission.

There is no doubt that the successes guys acheive depend a lot on a Manosphere that is free from tyrannical governmental control, free from censorship on social media and any online sites.