Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dreams of Control: Israel, Global Censorship, and the Internet

Dreams of Control: Israel, Global Censorship, and the Internet

1 comment:

Tim Nolan said...

“Under the cover of darkness, there is no limit to the expansion of Big Brother.”

Ilan Gilon, Meretz Party (Israel), Times of Israel, Feb 4, 2016

While Israel’s central justification for its often reactionary policies is couched in hyper-exceptionalist rhetoric, current interest in censoring the Internet is far from exceptional.

Like a machine of justification against its critics and its enemies, Israel enlists various projects under the banner of the remarkable and precious, when it is simply accomplishing what other states have done before or since: the banal and ordinary. All states want to limit expression, control criticism and marginalise the sceptics. Some do it more savagely, and roughly, than others.

Israel’s military censor, Col. Ariella Ben Avraham, who is part of the IDF’s Directorate of Military Intelligence, gave a good example of this in February by insisting that social media activists and bloggers submit material relevant to security matters for approval prior to posting.[1] The move also revealed an increasing interest to police the digital realm, previously considered an anarchic jungle incapable of effective policing.

Up to 32 Israeli bloggers and social media activists were informed about the directive, one of the first being Yossi Gurvitz, a left-wing activist running the “Friends of George” Facebook page. In rather unceremonious fashion, he was informed via Ben Avraham’s private Facebook account that he was obligated to run future submissions by her office. To his credit, he promises to defy the order.