If you’ve taken the time to read the page describing what this blog is all about, you will have seen that I describe myself there as a free speech radical. I believe that free speech is absolutely necessary if a democracy is to function at all. I therefore believe that any form of censorship is objectionable, apart from self-censorship.
Yesterday, The Register reported on a man who was physically assaulted at McDonalds in Paris for wearing computer assisted spectacles. He has a full account of the event, with photos taken by the computer assisted spectacles, on his own blog here. The exact reason for the attack on Dr. Steve Mann remains unclear but it is possible that the people there thought he was filming them and they objected to that.
What? Yes, I am a terrorist. At least, according to Marielle Gallo, a member of the European Parliament, wife to famous historian Max Gallo. In a heroic effort to prove to the world how far Mrs. Gallo is removed from her constituency (and sanity, some might argue) she stated in a recent interview that those who are campaigning against ACTA are practising a “soft form of terrorism”.
We live in interesting times. Economic crisis, social upheaval, collapsing companies, rampant consumerism, revolutions, government crackdown, disappearing privacy and globalisation. It feels like there is a pressure building and like all pressure, it’s going to have to find a way out. It is my opinion that we are standing on the fork or a crossroads, a threshold of a new era. A new era that will be shaped in the coming years and one that will have far-reaching implications for the future.
In a response to the day of international protests against ACTA, Dutch NOS news asked the Dutch negotiator on ACTA, Minister Maxime Verhagen, for a response. In his response Minister Verhagen mentions that he doesn’t understand the commotion and that ACTA is actually good, since it enables us to take a child pornography site offline, for instance. ACTA is mainly of importance for “other countries”, not The Netherlands according to the Minister. For The Netherlands nothing would change, he added.
Child pornography is of course the current buzzword being used to hurry undemocratic proposals through parliaments. How could anyone not support a treaty that helps combat child pornography?
I am getting quite a bit of feedback in my mailbox about all my campaigning and posts against ACTA. Much of it has been in support and I thank you for that. There has been no negative feedback, for which I am very grateful. However, I also receive messages along the lines of “I don’t think you can stop ACTA” or “Why should I care about ACTA, I’m not doing anything illegal?” To the first type of messages, I can only say that you are right. I can not stop ACTA. But I am not alone, there are many of us. Countries like Poland, the Czech republic and Slovakia have already postponed the ratification of ACTA because of the public uproar. So yes, I can not stop ACTA. We can!