Thursday, October 25, 2007

Italians aim to censor bloggers

I thought I had reported the story about Italian politicians attempts to censor critical bloggers recently but apparently not as it doesn't appear to be included in the past couple of weeks entries here. The Times had a report on the story yesterday. The Italian minister for justice, Clemente Mastella, and various colleagues in government have been getting a bit hot under the collar at criticism directed at them e.g. by (literally translated this apparently means 'I hate you Mastellatiodo'). They've encouraged the Italian police to encourage Google to take that one off-line but now in addition they are planning a law which would require all bloggers to effectively be registered and approved by the state. The author of the Times piece seems to think:

"We’ve been down this road countless times. Panicky government officials, whether they are in Harare, Beijing or Rome (yes, this is the second time it’s been proposed here), pronounce a brand new muzzle for the internet, and clever netizens simply find a way around it."

I doubt the Chinese blogger doing ten years in jail after being fingered by Yahoo would encourage such complacency. Gilmore's mantra that the Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it was never entirely accurate but it is significantly less so these days with broadband network architectures, massive data retention and the choke points that the ISPs always were.

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