The other day I listened to “Wishful Thinking” the latest “dislike club” episode of Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast. This series of episodes focuses on the current, sad, state of the Internet. How it’s turned from an amazing place where ideas, thoughts, and emotions are freely exchanged into a virtual gulag. A place where we slave away trading our personal information, endlessly liking things, to generate profits for big companies.
This last episode focuses on online harassment and it’s quite powerful. The Internet is probably one of the last places you can make someone’s life absolutely miserable and suffer zero consequences. Not surprisingly most of the victims here are women and it can get so bad that they must leave the Internet, dis-engage from public life, because of it. If the behavior most women face online happened in the workplace people lose their jobs and get prosecuted. When it happens online, nothing happens to the individual or group responsible. This kind of behavior has to stop.
Coincidentally, this week the people over at the Tor Project posted Solidarity Against Online Harassment. Read it. Sign your name, but more importantly, act. Fight this crap everyday. Defend those being harassed, condemn this behavior, and cast a critical eye at your own behavior.
The Internet is probably the greatest freedom machine ever built. My freedom has to stop where it might infringe on your freedom and your ability to express your ideas.