Block This!!

A notice posted on the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) Facebook page said the decision was made to block websites that “promote, spread information and encourage people to join the Bersih 4 demonstration“, on grounds that this will “threaten national stability”.

I cannot then tell you to join Bersih and call for free and fair elections, and I couldn’t begin to articulate that our Prime Minister has received BILLION ringgit donations from foreign sources, and certainly I must refrain from encouraging you to do your civic duty to attend tomorrows rally.

I also shouldn’t post pictures like the one below:

Bersih

Bersih

Our Communication Minister must be mistaken

Our newly appointed Communication Minister has come out all guns blazing in directing the The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to ask social media giants such as Facebook, Google and Twitter soon to block “false information and rumours” on their platforms.

That in itself is quite frustrating, but what really got me scratching my head was his claim that “that social media providers acted on 78 per cent of MCMC’s request for removal of content last year, with Facebook taking action on around 81 per cent of its request.”

Reuters reported that:

A Google spokesman in Kuala Lumpur said the Internet giant was “always in conversation with” the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission but he declined to comment on the request from the government on curbing content.

Facebook and Twitter were not immediately available for comment.

Fortunately, we don’t need to ask Google, Facebook or twitter about these specific request, because this information is already publicly available. All 3 social media platforms publish transparency reports that detail any and all government request made to them, and whether or not those government request were acted upon.

And as it turns out the data that our Minister has doesn’t quite tally up with the information published by the platforms. According to the Facebook transparency reports (found here and here), the Government of Malaysia made 36 content removal request, and 46 user account request. Of these, less than a quarter were acted on by Facebook, unfortunately Facebook doesn’t provide the details about the specific Government agency making the request or which specific request were acted upon. But, as you can see, the numbers are fairly small (a mere 36 content removal request over an entire year), and the success of those request are quite slim as well (less than 25%).

With twitter things get even more interesting.

In 2014, the government made 3 User account request to twitter, of which all 3 were rejected that’s a resounding success rate of 0%. And in the first half of this year, it had made 1 removal request, which was also rejected. Twitter doesn’t quite like the request from our government, and the government doesn’t make that many either.

I could go on with Google, but you get the picture.

The government is not having ANY success with the removal request, so why bother trying.

A more pertinent question is why is the Minister making these numbers up? Either he’s been given false information, or he’s just making shit up at this point. There is a possibility that maybe he’s telling the truth, through some math-magic, maybe the MCMC makes a smaller fraction of the request to Facebook, and maybe those have a success rate of 80%, but that’s unlikely, and it would be a insignificant number anyway.

My theory is that when you have Ministers who are appointed based on their loyalty to a certain someone, as opposed to technical knowledge of the area they’re supposed to be administering, you will continue to get this sort of this bullshit.

When technical merit, takes a backseat to political connections and allegiances–you’re bound to end up with people who don’t know anything. Something we all should be very very worried about.

Full disclosure:Google actually had one request for the 2nd half of last year, and complied with that request, resulting in a 100% compliance. However  over the entire reporting history, Google complied with 17 out of 31 request, nowhere near the numbers the good Minister has.

TM blocking SarawakReport

Website BlockedSarawakreport, a website covering sensitive political topics in Malaysia was blocked today by the countries most prominent ISP, Telekom Malaysia (TM).

Internet users using TM’s Domain Name Server (DNS) reported that the website was inaccessible, and I’ve confirmed that is an intentional block by TM.

Here’s a quick primer on DNS. The internet works on this marvelous set a rules we’ve come to call the Internet Protocol. Part of this protocol requires that every server or machine on a network be assigned a unique number to identify itself, this number is called an IP address. An IP address is sort of the phone number of a server, and if you want to communicate with a server you’d need to know that servers phone number.

Now of course the internet is made of billions of websites, and so it comes with its own directory service. Older readers will remember dialing 103 on our local phone lines to talk to an operator to look up someones phone number, this is exactly the same concept. On the internet, this directory service is automatic, and comes with a cool name–Domain Name Server (DNS).

When you type google.com or keithRozario.com on your web-browser, the browser automatically looks up the IP address of the website you requested via a DNS server. And just like how you’d have to memorize 103 in order to call it, your computer is set to request DNS resolutions from a specific DNS server.

For most TM users, this is set to a DNS server with an IP address of 1.9.1.9, you can change this of course, but if you’ve never knew what a DNS was, chances are you’re using TM’s server to convert web addresses to IP addresses.

Now you can see the issue, if TM is the sole service that you use to convert website addresses to IP addresses, it has a lot of control. For instance it could block you from accessing porn sites (which it does), and of course it can block you from accessing ‘controversial’ political blogs like SarawakReport.

How do I know this? You can change the settings on your computer to use alternative DNS servers (Google and OpenDNS run great free services), and these DNS servers convert SarawakReport.org to IP addresses like 104.20.27.161 (note that most of the time popular websites have multiple IP addresses, but that’s not important for now). However, if you use TM’s DNS server, SarawakReport.org converts to 175.139.142.25, which is an IP address owned by TM. This also explains why users who use Proxy servers or different DNS settings will not experience any issues.

TM-DNS

TM’s DNS server resolving SarawakReport.org to 175.139.142.25

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

If you do a reverse DNS lookup, essentially reversing the process of looking IP addresses corresponding to web urls, and instead lookup web-urls corresponding to IP addresses, you find that the same IP address is currently being used by Senyum.my–and that website has a glaring notice on the front page, signalling that the site is blocked for violating Malaysian law , that’s the screenshot you see above.

Essentially TM routed all traffic destined for SarawakReport.org to a server they keep up for hosting a ‘blocked’ notice.

This is just so sad, I really don’t know if I should laugh or cry. This method of blocking is so ineffective even a child would be able to bypass it.

For those wishing to access SarawakReport.org, please change your DNS server settings in Windows–a more effective way around the issue is to use a VPN, like the one I recommend here. A VPN provides a sure-fire way to bypass all the censorship that local ISPs can put in place.

Here’s my review of a VPN service you can use, and hopefully you use my promo code to send some cash my way :). Even if you don’t, it’s OK though, I’m still cool.

*Update*

TheStar have confirmed that the MCMC has issued the directive to block the website, something quite sad, seeing as how you already know how to circumvent the ‘block’.

Censorship and Freedom

What’s the price of falling in love?

What are the consequences of being head over heels, mindless crazy in love with someone?

I would say the price of falling in love is the possibility of getting hurt. Sometimes the person you fall in love with doesn’t love you back–and that can cause significant emotional pain and grief. But that’s a price we’re more than willing to pay, because a world where no one is allowed to be hurt, is also a world where no one is allowed to fall in love, and who wants to live in that world?

Everything has a price, even something as pure as love or as sacred as freedom.

Freedom isn’t free, it comes with a price.

The price of freedom is the possibility of crime–when we give people the freedom to go out at night, and walk on the streets or to speak their mind, these freedoms can be abused. Some take that freedom to become thieves, robbers, and bad men, but that’s a price we’re willing to pay, because freedom is good. In other words, freedom is worth the price we pay for it.

Some today have asked for the internet to be censored, citing the recent Malaysia Pedophile case in the UK as a glaring example of why we need to censor the internet. First of all, I’m not sure how child-pornography in the UK is used to justify censorship in Malaysia and secondly, such calls are ignorant, both of freedom and technology. I’m astounded as to how easy these people can sacrifice their freedom to information online, all in the name of protecting children–a common excuse given by those who have nothing more concrete to say.

The price of a free internet, is the possibility that it will be abused. But the price of censorship is a far higher one.

Let’s take a look at the technology.

The internet was built to be  a decentralized network, it’s not a single network, but a collection of many networks that all operate on a set of rules, rules which are affectionately known in engineering circles as protocols. As long as your network follows these protocols, you can connect to the internet and be connected to everyone else on the information super highway. And these protocols due to legacy reasons lack any real form of authentication and security, which allowed for much mis-use including that one time Pakistan manage to takedown Youtube across all of Asia.

This open nature also extends to the ‘authorities’ on the internet, who don’t have any real authoritative power, and act more like mediators rather than strong-armed leaders. Politicians, especially in our country use the rule of law, the power of the police, and the threat of sedition to exert their authority, on the internet we have something akin to a council of elders who lend advice and suggestions, without any clear consequences if those suggestions are ignored.

Censorship just doesn’t fit into this model. Censorship requires a central authority, that can control what is being broadcasted. If the government wished to censor BFM or TheStar today, all they’d have to do is make a phone call, if the media were reluctant to take on the ‘advice’ of the government, a second phone call to the police would be sufficient. The police can drive up to the doors of the offices in Malaysia, and start pulling out wires or smashing computers, and sooner of later the broadcast would stop.

But the internet isn’t broadcasted. It’s a personal connection for each and every user on it, and the government doesn’t have the same sway with Google, Facebook or Twitter as it does with BFM, TheStar or Utusan. It can’t command Facebook to take down a page, or instruct twitter to delete a tweet, and the so the model of censorship on the internet has to move from the point of broadcast to the point of consumption.

Because the government can’t stop the tweet, video or blogpost from the being broadcasted, it has to do the next best thing, prevent the information from being consumed by little ol’ Malaysians. Technologically this works through a ‘filter’ where all the information flowing into Malaysia from these foreign servers, are analyzed and inspected for the ‘censored’ content, and the moment something unsavoury is found it is either discarded, or flagged for further analysis.

In other words, in order for the government to censor the internet, it must first surveil your connection to the internet. No different from if it were to open every letter destined for your home, Internet censorship and Internet surveillance, are two sides of the same coin, and to call for one–is to call for the other.

But what’s the cost?

Technologically, this is VERY expensive, and VERY ineffective. Loads of technologies today, like encrypted VPN tunnels, and proxy servers, and TOR, work specifically to avoid these sorts of filters. And the technology only works, if it is backed up by a vast little army of minions to do the necessary manual checks–just ask China.

I estimate this to cost in the Billions, shifting through every bit of internet traffic coming into Malaysia in real-time, requires massive infrastructure, and since Malaysian consume more internet year-on-year, the operational cost are going to equally expensive as well, and ever increasing.

But the financial cost is a but a pitiful fraction of the true cost we pay when we allow governments to censor the internet, the real cost comes in the form of limited social progress.

Freedom and Social Progress

The price of Freedom is the possibility of Crime, and sometimes the possibility of Crime is a good thing.

In the not so distant past, it was criminal to smuggle slaves from the deep south of the United States to the North where they would be free men and women. Today we admire, and acknowledge these smugglers are heroes, but in their day they were common criminals committing theft. There’s a progression of things when they go from being illegal, to illegal but tolerated to completely legal.

Today, women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia, but I have no doubt someday they will. There are already those who defy the law, and drive anyway, regardless of how many X chromosomes they have, and the country is slowly but surely making progress. Unfortunately, in a country like Saudi Arabia, where freedom is so curtailed, progress is hard. The more control the government has over it’s people, the harder it is for social progress to be made, and granting the government the power to censor the internet only serves to inhibit this natural social progression.

If the Government knew who was Gay or Lesbian 10-20 years ago, there would be little in the way of LGBT rights today, simply because all the Gays and Lesbians would be ‘dealt’ with, and before you get all righteous, just look back at history, and imagine if the Roman empire had a similar surveillance apparatus and was able to identify who was Christian. The point isn’t whether you agree with these shift in social trends, but that granting the government powers to censor the internet inhibit these movements, which lead to stagnating society, which everyone can agree isn’t a good thing.

Limiting everyone’s freedom

You do not limit freedom on everyone just because some have abused it. Instead you focus your efforts on the offenders, and remove only their freedoms, while keeping everyone else free. This is basically the concept of jail, you remove freedom from those that have abused the system, while keeping the freedom of those that have played by the rules.

Internet censorship is such a broad-based thing, that there is no way it can be focused to such an effect. If you knew the government was censoring the internet, and you knew they were carrying out mass surveillance, would you dare search online for keywords like Altantuya, Shia, Innoncence of Muslims, etc? Some might argue that it is a good thing that Government surveillance would scare people from searching for these things, but I argue a country that hopes to keep its citizens in ignorance is not a country worth living in.

Government surveillance of the internet affects the way we use it. The moment you realize that the government ‘might’ be watching, is the moment you change your online habits, a sort of reverse of the old analogy of “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about”–the truth is that if you know the government is watching you’ll make sure everything is hidden.

Government doesn’t have a good Track record

Plus our government hasn’t really had a good track record on internet censorship. The first time, we officially censored the internet was during Pak Lah’s time, when all ISPs in Malaysia were ordered to block access to Malaysia Today, a website that was run by Raja Petra Kamaruddin. It’s ironic, that the very same questions raised by RPK way back then, are almost identical to the questions raised by Tun Mahathir today, specifically around issues like Altantunya.

You see we can’t just grant one government the ability to censor the internet, we have to grant all of them. Maybe you’re OK with Najib Tun Razak leading a government with the ability to curtail information on the internet, but maybe you’re not OK with giving that same power to Anwar, or Wan Azzizah, or Lim Kit Siang. I would have huge issues granting that power to the late Nik Aziz, as I’m quite sure there would be very little internet left if he got his fingers on the filters–the point is, even the most hard-core BN supporters must be open to the possibility that they may not be in power come 2018, and if you grant the government censorship rights, you just might be handing over that power to Pakatan–think about that for a minute.

Finally, child pornography doesn’t exist on the ‘regular’ internet. It’s not like as though a Google Search is going to turn up some disturbing image of children. These things exist in the dark-web, the un-searchable, un-goggle-able part of the internet that is obfuscated by a technology called TOR. Internet censorship isn’t going to stop child pornography, just like closing down all highways isn’t going to end all car accidents. To use that as an excuse to call for internet censorship, is political convenience rather than an arguments formed by facts.

Conclusion

But Keith—if it only saves one child, we must do it…I hear you say.

If it were my child, I’ll let you go all Nazi on Malaysia, I’ll spend the entire Malaysian Gold Reserve, pawn all the oil in the ground, and lock up half of the country in Kamunting to save my child–but is that really the way we want to discuss Government policy in this country, like as though every decision has to be made from the basis of an irrational tiger mommy parent. Spare me the theatrics, a policy decision of this magnitude must be made rationally with a sound mind, and don’t drag the children to bolster your ill-conceived arguments.

Post-Script

One of the central authorities of the internet are the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), who govern the protocols we discussed earlier. They are nothing more than a bunch of engineers who get together once a while, and discuss engineering specifications, they release documents that are mere suggestions on how the protocols should be executed, and they do so by consensus–no veto power leader, no mandate, no instructions. They vote on these changes by ‘humming’, because humming is anonymous (hard to tell whose humming in a room), and it’s quite difficult to hum twice as loud as someone else,  a solution only engineers could come up with.  This is a world, governed  through consensus, with no central authority yielding veto power.

The one reason you should oppose the TPP

img_20150507_095640Today I attended an Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) event about the TPP. Among the panel members, included Michael Froman, the US trade representative and chief advisor to President Obama on issues of International Trade and Investment. (big shot!!)

For those you don’t know, the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) agreement is a trade deal between 12 countries including Malaysia and America whose main objective is to balance out the power and influence China has over the region. But the TPP has been opposed by many NGOs and special interest groups, for good reason–it’s secret. The TPP has garnered such a bad reputation, it’s sort of like the Justin Bieber of trade agreements, everyone knows about it, but nobody likes it.

The event went on for a good 40 minutes, before your friendly neighbourhood tech blogger got a hold of the mic to ask about the secrecy of the trade agreement.Prior to that everyone was talking about Bumi Policies,Price of Medicine and impacts to SMEs. I really didn’t understand why no one spoke about the tremendous secrecy surrounding the talks and how the secrecy itself is fundamentally undemocratic and bad enough for Malaysians to reject the agreement.

This secrecy is the one reason every Malaysian should oppose the TPP. Everything else is moot, because we can’t confirm the documents we’ve seen until it’s made publicly available to the citizens of the countries negotiating the deal. Would you sign a housing loan agreement without the ability to first read the contract? Yet, here with the TPP we have a legally binding 29-chapter multi-lateral agreement that very few people have seen, but will impact all Malaysians once signed. How do we know the prices of medicines are going up? Oh that’s right, we read it from Wikileaks …. must definitely be true then. Sorry let’s move on. Continue reading

The Snowden Revelations

SnowdenIt’s now almost two years on, since that fateful day at the Mira Hotel in Hong Kong when Edward Snowden divulged secret NSA documents detailing unlawful and on-going spying programs carried out in the name of security.

Sure we knew the government had ‘a’ spying program, and we’ve all seen Hollywood movies with fictional technology that allowed governments to carry out un-restricted surveillance,  but no one in their wildest dreams would have imagined a government having access to ALL phone calls, ALL e-mails, ALL text messages and ALL transactions…and then storing that information for ALL time.

What we’ve learnt so far is that the NSA had executed bulk surveillance on the American people (and us poor non-Americans as well) across all channels of communications including phone calls, internet searches and e-mail without a proper court warrant, congressional approval or oversight of any kind. Particularly strange for a country whose own constitution protects the rights of citizens against illegal searches and seizures. I’m no lawyer, but even to layman like me, the bill of rights looks like a masterpiece, and the fourth amendment is a beautifully written piece of law:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

-4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

In other words, if you want to search smartphones, computers or e-mail accounts, you’ll need a warrant. And the law goes on to state, that warrants can only be issued, upon probable cause, that must be affirmed by a Judge providing the necessary oversight. Finally, even after a warrant is issued,it must state the place of the search and things to be seized. A warrant shall not act as a blanket approval for law enforcement to look through all aspects of the citizens life, but only that which is explicitly stated in the warrant. Continue reading

The day they censored me

internet censorship

Last week was a pretty exciting week for me–it was my first time on TV.

A TV show called VBuzz that was hosted on a Astro Channel 231 called me to be a guest to talk about Cyber Security, obviously I make it point to try new things and let’s be honest….how many of you would turn down a chance to be on TV? I mean this is Television, if you’re on it you must be good right?! Even if it is a Tamil channel, and it’s on at 9pm, I thought this would be exicting…and it was!

Anyway, they scheduled me in for a show on Tuesday, and I happily took some time off work to go down to their studio and all was really great. Until….

The first thing they told me was that I couldn’t talk about the recent MAS hack, because they were afraid. The Obvious question I had was–afraid of what? Apparently, MAS was a Government Linked Company, and they couldn’t talk bad about a GLC for fear of losing their license. Now I had no intention of talking bad about MAS, just trying to help people understand what happened in the hack, but they were still afraid. So OK, you can still have a 15 minute conversation about cyber security without talking about MAS…no problem.

So I got my ‘HD’ make-up on, because High Definition recording captures so much detail of your face, that they need special make-up for it. I found that quite amusing, plus I never knew so much effort and co-ordination went into making a production like this.

We started off with ‘easy’ topics like cyber criminals and hacking incidences, and the conversation was light and flowed pretty well, but then (according to plan) we veered into cyber warfare, which was a topic I was deeply into over the last few weeks. And out pop-ed a question like “What can governments do to ….” to which I responded that “Governments were the biggest perpretators of the crime“. This didn’t sit well with the producers or the writers, and at the end of the show we did a re-take of that bit, censoring out a my statement, which I maintained wasn’t just true, but totally consistent with the entire show. Continue reading

Malaysian Government Hacked Environmental website?

How IP addressing works

Environment News Service, an environmental focused news website this week accused Malaysian government hackers of attacking it after it ran a story implicating Sarawak governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud of corruption and graft. As a result, the site was down for 2-hours, before the site manage to re-gain control.

“The attack on our site came from a Malaysian government entity as identified by their IP address,” Sunny Lewis, editor-in-chief of Environment News Service (ENS)

But what exactly is an IP address, and how did ENS identify it?

Let me explain. Continue reading

Is illegal downloading considered stealing?

copying_is_not_piracy

There’s a general perception that illegal downloads of movies, music or books is akin to stealing the works of the artist, singers and authors. But downloads are more akin to trespassing than it is stealing–they’re nothing like stealing and if you take some time off to think about it, you’d figure this out too.

When you steal something, you’re denying the victim something,if you steal my car, you’ve taken something from me that I can no longer use. Stealing is a zero sum game, where the perpetrator gets something, and victim loses something. Obviously stealing is bad, but downloading isn’t stealing.

When you illegally download music, you’re not denying anyone else something physical. The music that you downloaded is still on the server you sourced it from, all you did was make a copy. Illegal downloading, isn’t zero sum, you profited (maybe),but no one lost anything of value. And so the rules that we devise for digital information (which can be replicated freely) shouldn’t be the same rules we apply for physical items like cars, and gold coins (which can’t be replicated freely).

Of course, the argument is that illegal downloads deny the content creators income they rightfully deserve, but that’s only true in a handful of cases. If someone refused to sell you their content regardless the price you’d be willing to pay–does it then make it morally wrong for you to download the material? You cannot consider it a loss for the content creator if they never intended to sell the item to you in the first place.You cannot deny income to someone who refuses to take your money, so therefore an ‘illegal’ download isn’t stealing at all.

And it doesn’t stop there. What happens if the content creators are just plain jerks–would it be morally wrong to copy their digital data–and would that be considered stealing? Continue reading

CheDet on Censorship

Tun Dr. MTun Dr. Mahathir now says he’s change his mind about internet censorship. To quote him “Not knowing the power of the Internet, I promised that we (speaking as the Prime Minister of Malaysia) would not censor it. But today I have changed my mind.”

Of course, everyone has a right to change their mind–but in this case Tun went from being absolutely spot-on (the internet doesn’t need censorship) to dead wrong.

The first thing Tun says, is that Internet is already censored, because his blogs were blocked by various internet companies.

Admittedly, Facebook and Google have too much power over the content we access on the internet, if something doesn’t exist on your Facebook feed or Google search, it might as well not exist at all. And granting that much power to a single organization (whether private enterprise or Government) is detrimental to our ability to access information.

But, Tun should have admitted that being on the other side of that stick, he finally saw that the power to censor information is too much power to be concentrated in the hands of a few Facebook employees (or government servants), and hence he was right to make the internet in the Malaysia censorship free, because even the Government shouldn’t be given that much authority.

Sadly, he didn’t admit that, instead he resorted to a “They can do it, so can we” attitude. Haih!

Internet censorship is bad, Tun himself admits it, when he complains about Facebook censoring his blog post (specifically post about Jews and Israel). This isn’t the first time either, I wrote about Facebook censoring chedet.cc more than year ago–I guess the guys over at Facebook took offense that Tun doesn’t distinguish between Jew and Israeli. When you write a blog post criticizing Israeli Foreign Policy it’s probably wise to NOT to title that post “The Jews”!

However, all that aside, there is HUGE difference between an individual company like Facebook censoring content on their servers, and a government censoring content on other people’s servers.

Facebook and Google are so powerful on the internet, that maybe they’re responsibility should extend beyond the corporate realm and into the sphere of public interest. After all, people in the US call 911 whenever Facebook goes down, it’s that important to them, but that’s a separate discussion, individual companies can do what they want so long as that is inline with the law. Governments on the other hand, need to abide by the principles of Freedom of speech, simply because they have more power.

To illustrate the difference, let’s take Malaysiakini, which has been a thorn in the side of the Government for a long time. If Malaysiakini’s hosting provider, decides to no longer host them for political reasons, Malaysiakini has a long list of other hosting providers that would gladly provide them services for the right price. If Facebook blocks Malaysiakini, there’s still twitter or Google+ (not as powerful of course, but good alternatives nonetheless). On the other hand, if the Government decides to block Malaysiakini in Malaysia, suddenly there is no alternative, what can Malaysiakini do? More importantly, what could Malaysians do to access that information–nothing much! (actually quite a lot, but let’s assume for now)

That’s the other side of the equation–when Facebook censors chedet.cc, they’re not just censoring one man’s blog, rather they’re censoring 13 Million Malaysian Facebook users from reading  the thoughts of a former Prime Minister. Censoring isn’t just about preventing people from speaking, it stops others from listening, and who is the Government to say what I can (or cannot) listen to. I will decide that on my own, Thank you very much!

Do you want to live in a world, where the government controls what Ideas you can access? And Who in Government would you trust with such power–to decide which ideas are acceptable? Nik Aziz, Chua Soi Lek, Najib Razak, Lim Kit Siang, Anwar Ibrahim, or Bung Mokhtar?–who among these fine gentlemen would you pick to have complete say over what you can and cannot see on the internet? And if you can’t name one person whom you would trust 100% for control of the internet, then the entire idea of censoring is moot.

And it’s not as though we don’t already censor the internet.

Rewind less than 6 months back, and we see that mentioning a certain Vegetable got a BBC website blocked. In the run-up to the 2013 elections pages linked to opposition parties were blocked as well–and here we see the REAL reason for government censorship. It isn’t about keeping the peace, or preventing civil uprisings–it’s more about protecting individual political personalities from attack. Censorship has always been political in this country, and we no reason to believe that will ever change.

The very first time Malaysia censored the internet (officially at least), was shortly after the 2008 General Elections, and that was a directive from MCMC to block MalaysiaToday by Raja Petra Kamaruddin. Once again, this wasn’t about blocking pornography or LGBT, it was purely about blocking political news. So any mention of pornography or LGBT as Tun does, is obviously a straw man argument.

Of course this is just a re-hash of my thoughts on censorship, but the next time you see someone who agrees with the internet censorship get them to explain to you why we need it, and ask them for the data.

Photo from https://www.flickr.com/photos/ajimns/3110643778