[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[ih] Free Speech and ARPAnet?

Hello all,

On 17/07/2015 00:49, Belin, Daniel wrote:
> Today, the Washington Post published an editorial by Ellen Pao
> <http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-cannot-let-the-internet-trolls-win/2015/07/16/91b1a2d2-2b17-11e5-bd33-395c05608059_story.html>,
> in which she asserted, "The Internet started as a bastion for free
> expression."
> This piqued my interest, as I felt it was an inaccurate
> characterization. My understanding was always that the early research
> focused on improving network facilities for research collaboration,
> and that these issues of free speech really didn't start to come to
> the forefront until the 1990s when the Internet began to take root in
> society. However, I wasn't there, so I respectfully pose these
> questions to you all:
> What were the attitudes towards speech/appropriate conduct early in
> the ARPAnet project? Was an environment of collegiality and respect
> generally expected?

Internet <-> ARPAnet  -- is it the intent that the two are mixed
together? When I joined in 1988 there certainly was no freedom of speech
per-se. I had several immature student colleagues that got banned from
the privilege of using the Internet after having posted stupid comments
on mailing lists. Yes, even then, there were some pretty strong self
appointed vigilantes that would email your system administrator to
complain about your postings. Some systems of course allowed free speech
but a bastion for free expression? You were better off standing on a
soap box at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.
The nineties saw the collapse of several Acceptable Use Policies on many
networks, yet the Green Card Lottery ppl got attacked:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_Canter_and_Martha_Siegel and even
Julf's Penet.fi server was shut down eventually

In short: for as long as I remember, there has always been a struggle
between the partisans of free speech and others. Thinking that
yesteryear was better is just nostalgia. :-)
Kindest regards,


Olivier MJ Cr?pin-Leblond, PhD

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://elists.isoc.org/pipermail/internet-history/attachments/20150719/4161e7d2/attachment.html>