Saturday, February 5, 2011

PPPA: When People Get Angry at Senile Old Men

It's already clear that with the recent events of introducing extending the scope of publishing controls to encompass online media as well as gagging a blogger over the "rape maid" scandal clearly implies that the access of information more than what is usually seen is reaching to the point that they were unable to bear to see their control is slipping out of their fingers. Instead of going for information transparency, the government with such dementia is resorting to tightening the noose on citizens, including the cyber community that is expanding exponentially. No doubt, the main excuses used to state their decision includes: that a lot of false information and lies out there, and of course to have more control of what information goes out or not since the Wikileaks disaster that put America to its knees.

How Far Can People Stand Before Reaching The Boiling Point?

Generally, the people who mostly does the writing on online avenues are mostly formed of youngsters and those who are less than 50 years old. The numbers and statistics do speak for themselves. These group of people are more Internet savvy and they now do have the right to talk whatever they want. The moment if a group of senile men decide to impose such controls on them, what does that imply to all of us? It means to simply catch people for a crime that does not make sense, which is to talk anyway. 

The Sedition act charge against the Sri Muda assemblyman simply tells us that Malaysia is still a neo-feudalistic country with people from NGOs who know nothing much about the advancement of human civilization open their mouths and shooting at the person who has legit points to say in reply to a subject or an occasion that arises. As what the ex-Mufti Dr. Asri previously said - rulers are not on the level as with the famous prophets that we read in the Bible or the Quran. Humans do have flaws, and to say that people that fall under the group of rulers as omnipotent is a misconception and wrong. Since 2010, Britain has abolished Sedition laws mainly because the reality is that you can't catch a person just because he talks

If the controls persist there, how long do people can bear before they say that such laws are nonsensical and decide that enough is enough and the hell with the men who wanted those controls? Egypt is the perfect example - people, like the young are angry at senile old men for blocking access to what they want to say online. Online social and blogging sites like Facebook, Twitter, and blocked. People get angry, they would find a way to bypass the block and do whatever they want. To them, the message to be conveyed is "the hell with you."

This same case also applies to the attempt by the government to go after people who do illegal downloading. But to do that without solving the root causes of the problem - unrealistic censor laws, poor services in the cineplexes, the high cost of buying a video from the store is to invite more anger from the cyber-savvy community. Can you imagine blocking a 18-year person off from Internet because he's just writing diaries or things he want to talk? 

Go To Prison Because of Talking?

Thus, if the number of people in prisons for illogical petty crimes - talk, get stuff, participate in gatherings, etc.. surpasses the number of prisoners,  who are in there for murder, theft, white-collar crimes, and violent-nature crimes, then something is really wrong with how the country is run. In this case, you might need to build more prisons to house thousands of people guilty of petty crimes. 100,000 petty against 5000 violent - you do the math and conclusion! 

Online Privacy Invasion

Many people too believe that such controls is tantamount to privacy invasion. Remember back in 2007 where our former Information Minister Zam Maidin wanted to do blogger classification? Similar thing to what the government is bent to do. It's like wanting to know what a person is doing, event privately? There's the case of where people get Chinese New Year greetings from Najib. How do people's e-mail addresses or phone numbers in particular reach the hands the men who relayed Najib's message out? Aren't the telcos bound by the privacy clause that the personal information is strictly confidential and only used for their internal marketing purposes - not to be given to other parties? 

People do not like to be intruded upon and to scrutinize what people write is to see the big scissors on top of the ceiling ready to come down on people for nothing.

Information Branded A Lie But Factually True and Vice-Versa

That thing is a problem to contend with. The scenario is like: if Bernama writes news that is not entirely accurate but someone who write reveals information that was deliberately withheld and turned around by the news agency, where does that news landed into? An outright lie? A truth covered up as a lie?

But then, the lie disguising as a truth can be more venomous in nature because it misleads people into thinking that the lie has distorted many things and make people believe of some stupid things. For example, Article 153 in paper and word never talks about Malay rights at all, but it has been fanned into a political issue by NGOs and those affiliated to UMNO themselves. It is very misleading if you are told of a lie but never bother to investigate further by tracing the source materials that are claimed to back up a statement.

Senile and Unqualified Old Men

So who's to blame for all of this? Look at Zam Maidin and Rais in example. These are old men (all in the 60s) that said of the desire to control access to information. But are they really qualified to do that? Do they have the knowledge of the information technology discipline to say that? Zam is an old-fashioned reporter before becoming a politician. Rais doesn't have much knowledge of things like e-mail, social networking and yet wants to do that? Do the other politicians have a familiarity with those modern technology materials?

In fact, to do those various print control amendments, retain sedition acts, monitoring petty things unravels their paranoia and dementia of people looking for information in cyberspace. Britain, who originated Sedition Act, has thrown it away to the bin because of the reality that you can't simply catch people for talking. Same in school, you can't stop a person from talking and asking questions. 

The young and educated community in Egypt are very angry at senile old men that attempt to turn off information and attempting to control cyberspace and talk. They have responded with street demos and various bypasses to the blocks. The American government tries to stop organizations from supporting Wikileaks, they got hit back with hacks and DDOS attacks..those have one thing in common - to snub senile old men who run and try to introduce nonsensical policies. 

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