FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

You Against the Government’s Tools

by

Our father’s generation fought the Cold War with spies, our grandfather’s generation fought the Vietnam War with soldiers, but the internet war must be won by well-trained hackers.

Julian Assange calls the events in Catalonia an “internet war.” The Spanish government has raided Catalonian government offices, arrested government officials, frozen telecommunications links, and censored hundreds of internet sites. The government has refused to accept that secession is happening, and that the people of Catalonia are tired of Spain’s reckless abuse of their tax dollars. Catalans contribute 21 percent of the country tax revenues, but don’t receive their fair share of government services. So in order to stop the bleeding of their tax dollars, they have taken the bold step of secession from Spain. Other parts of the world, such as China and Venezuela, have also faced oppressive government internet restrictions and similar retaliations for voicing opposition to government bureaucrats.

This internet war has grown in many of these non-English countries to an unlimited extent because most computer programming languages are English-based. For many non-native English speakers, learning computer programming and implementing the tools to navigate around oppressive government restrictions is almost an impossible task. This emboldens these countries’ public officials to continue to legislate more restrictive laws to a populace that isn’t equipped to navigate around those laws.

The following is a computer program written in Java, one of the most commonly used languages:

public class CallingMethodsInSameClass

{

public static void main(String[] args) {

printOne();

printOne();

printTwo();

}

 

public static void printOne() {

System.out.println(“Hello World”);

}

 

public static void printTwo() {

printOne();

printOne();

For most native English speakers, you might not understand the words in context, but you will be able to recognize every word used. However, a native Spanish speaker wouldn’t recognize the language and wouldn’t be able to use these codes without learning the English language to some degree. This extra barrier can further restrict their ability to defeat the government’s restrictions and leads to a compliant citizenry unable to react to defend themselves against oppression.

PyBasico, a company that I have recently invested in through our Young Entrepreneur Program, is working to develop Spanish-speaking internet activists. The founder believes that teaching code in Spanish will allow other Latinos like herself to overcome the obstacles of an oppressive government regime. In this day and age, every citizen must be prepared to be well-versed on digital tools, which can counteract any government’s attempt to restrict the freedom of information.

For Catalans or other internet activists, through censorship circumvention, it is almost always possible to evade government restrictions by relying on intermediary computers, outside your country, to reach blocked services for you. Tactical Technology Collective and Front Line Defenders have developed a useful toolkit called “Security-In-A-Box.” The site is translated into multiple languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Arabic.

For more non-technical internet activists, through paid promotions on Facebook Ads Manager, Google AdWords, or any other online advertising tool could be a very simple and cost-effective way to promote your discontent with government restrictions. For citizen-based campaigns, I’ve promoted ideas for $25 on Facebook that ended up being shared with the tens of thousands. Facebook and Google Ads are significantly cheaper when they are more engaging and relevant to audiences. If you are promoting censorship circumvention to only audiences who speak the Catalan language on Facebook Ads Manager, it is almost guaranteed that your engagement levels will be higher and significantly cheaper than any other advertisement targeting Catalans.

Government officials use many of these tools to protect themselves and to influence public opinion. These tools shouldn’t be limited to simply those in power, but be used by every citizen to influence and circumvent government intrusion. Despotism can only develop when weapons are expensive or difficult to make, but when internet tools are readily available, private citizens have a chance to quell the despotic nature of government.

The internet war, unlike Vietnam or the Cold War, is a war between the common people and the government. It has more in common with the French or American Revolution, where the common people have an equal chance to update the definitions of liberty and equality.

Private citizens’ and businesses’ support of internet freedom is one of the best ways to force governments to comply. Each individual must do their own part to help train each other on the tools needed to fight oppressive government restrictions. For native Spanish-speakers, who might not want to be involved with a training program like PyBasico, there are numerous non-standard programming languages that have been developed in Spanish such as Latino, Pauscal, and Qriollo. We must all be concerned with this internet war. The best ways to fight against it is to invest, train, and mobilize individuals capable of counteracting oppressive government regimes.

Ebonique Boyd has founded Good Management & Investments, a company dedicated to serving underserved communities by creating new and unexpected paths to wealth. Her company just started testing the Young Entrepreneur Program for high school students and college gap year students.

 

More articles by:
January 22, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
It’s Time to Call Economic Sanctions What They Are: War Crimes
Jim Kavanagh
Behind the Money Curtain: A Left Take on Taxes, Spending and Modern Monetary Theory
Sheldon Richman
Trump Versus the World
Mark Schuller
One Year On, Reflecting and Refining Tactics to Take Our Country Back
Winslow Wheeler
Just What Eamark “Moratorium” are They Talking About?
W. T. Whitney
José Martí, Soul of the Cuban Revolution
Uri Avnery
May Your Home Be Destroyed          
Wim Laven
Year One Report Card: Donald Trump Failing
Jill Richardson
There Are No Shithole Countries
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term?
Laura Finley
After #MeToo and #TimesUp
stclair
Impressions From the Women’s March
Andy Thayer
HuffPost: “We Really LOVED Your Contributions, Now FUCK OFF!”
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail