In the wake of recent tragic events in New Zealand, governments around the world accelerated their censorship of the Internet. Immediately following the Christchurch massacre, ISPs in New Zealand blocked access to sites that persisted in hosting Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto and footage of the attack.
Heavily controlled sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit remain accessible, because administrators on those sites are quick to remove copies of the material and repress discussions deemed objectionable. But alternative forums like 4Chan and Voat are blocked, because users on those sites remain free to post the manifesto and video, and discuss events openly without fear of censorship. This has led to robust debate on those sites, with many members questioning the official record of events relayed by the mainstream media.
This week, Australia’s major ISPs including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone joined NZ in blocking access to a range of websites deemed to be subversive. A list of banned sites is shown below (with a link to each site’s Wikipedia entry).
Some of these sites didn’t even host the manifesto or video, and mentioned them only briefly. But they all have one thing in common — they are seen as anti-establishment, libertarian or alt-right in focus, with content mainly posted by anonymous contributors. As such, they are beyond the control of governments and large corporations.
Regular members of these banned sites consider themselves to be ‘woke’ or ‘redpilled’ compared to ‘normies’ (referring to normal oblivious members of the population). The term ‘redpilled’ comes from the movie The Matrix, in which Neo takes a red pill and wakes up to the true reality of his universe. Members of these sites tend to delve deeply into current affairs, refusing to accept without question the interpretation of events presented by the media.
As mainstream sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit suppress information about the Christchurch shooting, more and more ‘normies’ seek these alternative sites for answers. The-powers-that-be don’t want this, hence the push for ISPs to restrict access.
Currently, it’s still possible to reach these sites using a VPN — the same technology that Australians and New Zealanders use to access other banned sites like Pirate Bay. But this may be only a temporary workaround. Australia’s draconian new anti-encryption laws allow the government to rule VPNs illegal. They can easily instruct ISPs to block access to VPNs, or to block all encrypted traffic.
Where does it stop? Should governments and ISPs really have the power to tell us where we can obtain our news and information? Do they have the right to decide which videos and documents we’re allowed to view, and what opinions we’re permitted to express online?
George Orwell’s 1984 was intended as a cautionary tale, not an instruction manual.
While centralized ISPs remain the gatekeepers to the Internet, governments have the power to control our access as they see fit. They can block individual websites, block traffic at the application or protocol level, or they can simply block everything if they so desire. These same monopolistic ISPs already monitor our traffic, throttle our bandwidth, overcharge for subpar services, keep records of the sites we visit, and sell our private data to advertisers.
The only way to break free from this increasingly dystopian Internet is to build a new physically decentralized global mesh network, in which nodes connect to each other in a peer-to-peer manner, completely bypassing centralized ISPs and government control.
And that’s exactly what Skywire delivers. With almost 10,000 nodes already deployed around the world, Skywire is bringing freedom and net neutrality to the Internet, and placing full control back into the hands of the people.
Fast. Free. Private. Anonymous. Encrypted. Decentralized.
Now more than ever, the world needs Skywire.
To learn more, visit the Skywire Telegram group today.