The past few weeks have highlighted the vulnerability of centralized
information systems to censorship: online
speech is only as strong as the weakest intermediary. Sites hosting
legitimate speech were caught
up in an anti-counterfeiting raid by the Department of Homeland
stopped hosting WikiLeaks.org’s DNS, Amazon
refused hosting service to WikiLeaks, and independent protesters conducted
denial-of-service attacks on businesses refusing service to WikiLeaks.
If the Combating Online Infringements
and Counterfeits Act (COICA; the internet censorship bill introduced in
the US Senate) or something like it passes, the threat centralization poses
to First Amendment-protected speech may be unavoidable. Corrective action — designing, implementing, and deploying robust, fault-tolerant
architectures — will improve the security and availability of the internet
infrastructure generally, to the benefit of all.
Read more at www.eff.org
What, then, can digital activists do to protect speech on the internet?
Fortunately, there are a bunch of technical projects dedicated to reducing
centralization in the internet infrastructure. Some are in the idea stage,
some are up and running, and some are in-between. All of them could use
help: development, documentation, security review, server infrastructure,
testing, and evangelizing. EFF urges technologists of all stripes and skill
levels to work on potential solutions to the centralization problem.