Wikileaks and Freedom of Speech

A week or two ago, someone asked me how I felt about Wikileaks being shut down (looking to score geek points with his girlfriend; which is actually a good thing in their relationship…lucky bastard). I honestly hadn’t thought much about it at the time, so I just threw something out about it not being a big deal because there are innumerable other ways for whistleblowers to spread their message.

I didn’t bother to look at it from anything but a practical perspective. The political implications of the entire site being shut down didn’t really occur to me. I figured the civil libertarian stuff would just sort itself out… That was a very dangerous assumption, even if it did turn out to be true.

With net neutrality being challenged by companies like Comcast, and the worry that congress still hasn’t acted strongly enough to maintain net neutrality, assuming that freedom of speech on the internet will just sort itself out is a potentially dangerous position to take. Had this not sorted itself out, and the judge hadn’t thought better of his decision, this could have set a very dangerous precedent. Should forum moderators be held liable for the content of the forum, even if they aren’t the ones providing that content? That’s just passing the blame onto a bigger target, simply because it’s easier to hit, and provides a bigger payout. I don’t think people should be able to do that, when said bigger target is not directly responsible for the offending content.

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