The changing face of digital rights activism | Jillian York @ Al Jazzera

Via Scoop.itdigital culture

In February 2012, Twitter announced a new mechanism that would allow the company to minimise the effects of government censorship requests. Though new for Twitter, the idea of per-country takedowns has existed in the industry since at least 2006, when Google blocked Thai visitors to certain YouTube videos by IP address in order to comply with local laws. Now, Google relies upon the mechanism to operate within the laws of the more than 60 countries in which it has offices. Other companies, such as Facebook, do the same. To the surprise of many long-time observers, Twitter’s announcement was largely met with anger from users who had believed the company – which last year had referred to itself as the “free speech wing of the free speech party” – was an exception. Though a significant amount of the criticism was based in rumour and conspiracy (many suspected, for example, that the recent investment of Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal played a role), the overall tenor of the reactions indicated something more: It wasn’t that Twitter had done something unprecedented, but that perhaps the world itself had changed.