Governments must not interfere with the internet, the British government said Tuesday - weeks after suggesting police should curb online access during riots.As the article points out this is a bit of an about turn from the post riot noises about Twitter clampdowns and turning off mobile phone networks from some in the government, and the cynic in me wonders if this is less a Damascene conversion to the cause of liberty than a dawning realisation that they just can't stop people talking to each other, but whatever the reason it's welcome. Not so sure about this next bit though.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the fact that criminals and terrorists can exploit digital networks is not "justification for states to censor their citizens."
And Prime Minister David Cameron said governments "must not use cybersecurity as an excuse for censorship or to deny their people the opportunities that the Internet represents."
Britain supports the less proscriptive idea of internationally agreed online "norms of behavior." That approach was backed by US Vice President Joe Biden, who warned against imposing a "repressive global code" for the Internet.And who's doing the agreeing? I suspect we know the answer already and that it'll be governments agreeing for their citizens without giving them any say in the matter, which rather sours the happy mood. Still, backing away from overt censorship isn't a bad thing at all. Statists and authoritarians run so much that any concession they make, any little victory at all, is worth mentioning.