After a deep and restful night’s sleep, I can usually count on NPR’s Morning Edition for a jolt of blood-curdling reality to start my day.
Here’s the NPR story on censorship that grabbed me today:
In a little-covered initiative straight out of George Orwell, Russia has reportedly been building support since 1998 for an international treaty to outlaw “information terrorism” and “ideological aggression” via the Internet.
At the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU), secretary-general Hamadoun Toure has a dream: Worldwide cyberpeace.
So far, so good.
But apparently this “dream” could also outlaw ideas like — oh, the promotion of democracy. Or basically any ideas a government doesn’t like. That sort of thing.
Russia has already won support for an accord on this from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and also from countries like India, Brazil, China, Sudan, Chile, Belarus, Serbia, Vietnam, Armenia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Myanmar, Madagascar, Turkmenistan, Mali, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, and Haiti have endorsed Russia’s UN initiative, according to NPR’s map.
“The thing that really unites them is their desire to control information, to control content,” [James Andrew] Lewis says. “They see information as a weapon. An official from one of those countries told me [that] Twitter is an American plot to destabilize foreign governments. That’s what they think. And so they’re asking, ‘How do we get laws that control the information weapon?'”
He is james_a_lewis on Twitter.