Gordon Hull / UNC Charlotte
Read James Fallows, “This Connection has been Reset,” Atlantic Monthly (March 2008)
- What are the four ways that Fallows says the Chinese system blocks Internet content? What kinds of stuff do they block?
- What are two ways that anybody can get around it?
- Why does Fallows think China won’t ever try to shut down those ways?
- Why does he think Internet censorship in China is nonetheless effective?
3. Ethics of Censorship
- Is it ever ok for a national government to censor (block) access to certain places on the Internet? Why or why not?
- What moral principles and values do you base your answer to #1 on?
- What values weigh on the other side?
- Why are the values you prioritize more important than the ones you don’t?
4. Ethics of Working for Cisco
- Is it moral to work for Cisco systems on the projects that developed Chinese Internet censoring technology? Why or why not?
- What should employees who object on moral grounds to their company’s policies do about that?
- Do employees ever have an obligation to go public, and blow the whistle on employer practices with which they disagree?
5. Ethics of protesting (video)
- Watch this video about the Billboard Liberation Front’s protest against Google’s complicity with the Firewall (note: this is somewhat dated, as Google’s policy has since changed)
- What values do the protestors claim to uphold?
- The BLF regularly trespasses and defaces billboards and otherwise interferes with property rights. When is it justified to violate property rights as a form of political protest?
- Should such violations of property rights ever be legalized? Why or why not?
- Why should we have free speech rights?
6. Other Reading
- For property and protest, see especially Eduardo M. Peñalver & Sonia K. Katyal, Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership (Yale University Press 2010)
- For a normative framework to discuss internet censorship, see Derek E. Bambauer, “Cybersieves,” Duke Law Journal 59 (2009), 377-446.