Sunday, April 13, 2008

Poo Tube

More cyber gripes this week. Word spread around my friends like wildfire last Tuesday that the government had remained true to their authoritarian word and blocked access to You Tube and other websites. Now the government has said that they are going to block pornographic websites (or the 0.0001 percent of those naughty sites out there that they are actually able to). The You Tube block however would seem to be in response to the Muslim baiting Dutch movie Fitna, which you can still easily find elsewhere on the web incidentally.

Communications Minister Mohammad Nuh has ordered Indonesian ISPs to block all sites that show the movie. This means that as with the Salman Rushdie Satanic Verses debacle or the Danish cartoon incident, very few protesters will have actually seen what they're protesting about.

The You Tube block has caused me some personal consternation however as I have only recently caught up with the whole You Tube phenomenon and have been really enjoying downloading and saving clips from the site.

You Tube is actually a highly educational site for those that make the effort. In recent months I've watched stuff on science, literature and music along with many great, informative and stimulating interviews with some of the world's top clever clogs. It's like owning your own private TV station, one on which you decide the programming. The contrast with the mind numbing bilge that pours out of terrestrial TV channels couldn't be more marked.

Perhaps though, herein lies a hidden motivation for the block that has been concealed behind the whole Fitna smokescreen. As more and more people log on to fast Internet connections and start to enjoy the whole Web 2.0 experience of video streams, it's going to be harder to stop people from educating themselves. People can now learn about their world via this new technology and can circumnavigate the tranquillizing mores of the local goggle box channels.

The government elites here no doubt have grave misgivings about the Internet in common with authoritarian countries from China to Saudi Arabia. After all, in 1998, the nascent Internet was used by Indonesian students to organize the demonstrations that eventually toppled President Suharto. So in this respect, the current Internet conflagration is right on the front line of the fight for democracy.

The children have to be protected though. It's always the children isn't it? Indonesia's government (and many others around the world) seem to view their whole populations as children to be cosseted and protected by Big Brother and his paternalistic guiding hand. The net must be tamed and brought under control lest it usurp the increasingly invertebrate corporate controlled media and its lies.

Perhaps though it's a good thing that my web surfing proclivities are brought under some manageable control. Like many others I'm sure, I never used to spend so much time on the Web. 10 years ago I used to check my e-mail and that was about it. These days, hours can go by in the blink of my reddening eyes as I'm sucked ever deeper into the smorgasbord of delights on offer on today's Web.

During a recent power cut, my housemates and I were forced to leave our respective rooms and start communicating with one another. Cut off from the intra-passive nihilism of the Internet, we actually talked to each other like human beings! We really should try it more often.

Alas, the social networking and general search-for-a-shag site, My Space, has also been blocked by the guardians of Allah. My housemate was very annoyed by this as he enjoys noising up young ladies over this site and will now have to slake his lusts elsewhere. I tell you, those Dutch filmmakers have got a lot to answer for.

For those of you wishing to beat the blocks, it's easily done thankfully. Simply change the settings on your browser so that it points at a proxy server. Proxies such as, or should do the trick. But keep it under your hat. Just between me and my seven readers ay?