In an Orwellian twist that foreshadows things to come, YouTube has begun complying with requests by world governments to remove videos that depict civil unrest and citizens asserting their civil rights. The company is also deleting search terms relevant to such events, a sign that Western governments have begun to tighten the reins on free speech in the same manner in which the Soviet Union once did and Communist China still does.
The most recent example is of a video that shows a group of British citizens attempting to make a citizen’s arrest of a judge for actions they deemed were illegal. Instead, the members of the group, British Constitution Group, were arrested on March 7th. They were protesting a council tax ruling by Judge Michael Peake. The video is censored in the United Kingdom, but is still viewable in the United States.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, has been bending over a lot to go along with these requests, that are coming mainly from–you guessed it–the United States and the United Kingdom. Wait a minute? What happened to the First Amendment in the U.S.? Apparently, it doesn’t exist on the internet, because the government is slowly eroding access to what we can and cannot see.
Between July 1 and Dec. 31 (2009), according to PC World, “Google received 3,580 requests for user data from U.S. government agencies, slightly less than the 3,663 originating from Brazil. The United Kingdom and India sent more than 1,000 requests each, and smaller numbers originated from various other countries.”