Let’s drag the conversation to China and Iran. There, the purest form of freedom of expression is happening under the mask’s nose.
In a rare exhibit in China, people have been protesting online and on the streets in recent weeks against the government’s restrictions on COVID-19, with some even voicing greater control over their lives by the government. requesting relief.
Months of protests have sparked Iranian protests in the wake of the death of Martha Amini, who was detained by Iran’s moral police on suspicion of violating women’s dress code.
Social media such as Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, WeChat, and Telegram have become important tools that help Chinese and Iranian people form their own opinions and share their views with the outside world and with each other. Protesters in these countries are defying official internet controls and their own laws, threatening their own safety.
Recently, the governments of both countries appear to have made small concessions to protesters’ demands, but it is not yet clear how much change they will actually allow.
What’s happening in Iran and China is what Musk and other free-speech-loving internet bosses have to fight. But Musk has said little about what Twitter should do to give people a voice if their government doesn’t want them to.
Over the weekend, in an audio chat on Twitter Spaces, Musk was asked what Twitter could do to help citizens in countries like China, Iran, and Ukraine where social media helps people to become self-sufficient. (In Ukraine, they have tried to combat propaganda from the Russian government about a war that Russian leaders deny is a war.)
Musk reiterated his view that people should be able to speak freely within the law.Dramatic episodes of insurrection in Iran and China were only briefly mentioned during the hours-long discussion. Twitter space chat. )
Okay, here are some follow-up questions to Musk: What if the government’s own laws deny people basic free speech rights? Government censorship, digital snooping, online propaganda undermines free speech?
These are not theoretical problems. China and Iran are among the world’s most successful governments at embracing and censoring the internet within and beyond their borders.
Twitter, Facebook and other foreign apps are banned in China and Iran, but people are finding ways to circumvent the lockdowns. to the Winter Olympics, they repeatedly flood Twitter and other sites with false information and stories in an attempt to distort the world’s beliefs about everything.
Years before Musk took over Twitter, the Saudi government used Twitter to spy on dissidents abroad who criticized Saudi leaders, and US jurors were bribed by Saudi officials in surveillance schemes. I persuaded one of my former Twitter employees.
And even in some large democracies, including India and Indonesia, laws give authorities the right to order posts that they deem disruptive or threatening to be removed from the internet. Critics say it’s often aimed at silencing dissent that authorities don’t like. Under the company’s previous management, Twitter took the Indian government to court and rejected an order blocking the accounts of some of the citizens it said it had expressed rights under India’s constitution. .
What internet companies should do against governments determined to thwart free speech is a key question for Twitter owner and self-proclaimed free speech purist Musk. He has little to say about this tricky problem that every Internet company in America has struggled with.
Musk did not respond to a request for comment.
Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, said: was suggested On Twitter, some steps Musk can take if he wants to protect freedom of expression from government interference.
Stamos said Musk can promise to regularly publish communications with government officials, political party officials, and candidates requesting that posts be restricted or removed. He also suggests Musk could commit to rebuilding the Twitter team he gutted, responsible for discovering and thwarting clandestine, government-related online influence campaigns, including those from the US military and China. did.
Stamos recommends that twitter and other US internet companies have already done so, including announcing government demands to remove content.
Officials who seek to restrict free expression on the internet for all sorts of reasons, including to defend the Brazilian election, to stop the spread of Holocaust denial in Europe, and to silence critics of the government in Somalia. More examples will come.
This is a delicate question with few easy answers. But it would be a plus for freedom if Mr. Musk treated the freedom of expression of Indians and Chinese citizens with at least as much care as Mr. Ye’s.
What you need to know about ChatGPT
A few days ago, the most sophisticated digital assistant we’ve ever seen was unveiled to the public. It’s like Siri, but it’s actually smart and autocomplete for everything.
A colleague of mine explained here how an artificial intelligence chatbot called ChatGPT works, and why it is important for artificial intelligence technology to mass-produce sentences that look like they came from humans. increase.
write poetry, college style essay Generates advice on the types of shoes men should own. (You can also try ChatGPT yourself.)
Whenever we catch a glimpse of the potential for computers to outperform humans, the threat of artificial intelligence wiping out jobs, allowing kids to cheat easily in school, and large-scale computer-generated lies is possible. You may also be excited that automating a monotonous task can make your life easier.
We also tend to jump to conclusions about new technologies. New technologies tend to take much longer to penetrate our lives than optimists expect. For more than a decade, experts have predicted that computer-driven cars will become mainstream within a few years. Self-driving cars are still years away from becoming mainstream.
The challenge for you and me is not to minimize the awe-inspiring possibilities and pitfalls of state-of-the-art technology. Nor does it obscure what needs to be done with the technology that exists today.
Social media has been around for over 15 years, and we still haven’t thought about how we live with it, how we regulate it, and how we want companies to behave. A significant percentage of Americans do not use Internet services. The app economy controlled by Apple and Google will change what digital business invents for you.
A useful thing about humans is that they can hold complex and conflicting beliefs in their brains. ChatGPT is a miracle. It can be dangerous. Half-baked. It could be hyped. It may be underestimated. And it could be another technology that needs to be shaped to serve us.
If you’re an internet person, you probably use Google. Here is one of the settings that will most effectively stop Google from tracking your searches and her web browsing activity.
On the web, go to myaccount.google.com → Data & Privacy → Web & App Activity. You can also access it directly from your activity management page. Toggle off Web & App Activity so it’s gray instead of blue. A pop-up will appear confirming that you are ready to “pause” data collection.
To change your Google privacy settings now, read my colleague Heather Kelly’s article.
Show off your small victories! Tell us about an app, gadget, or tech trick that made your day a little better – we might feature your advice in a future edition of The Tech Friend.