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Is the Net a Red State?

  By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen) Is the net inherently Republican? Most of my digital brethren (at least here in New York) would react violently to that concept but the events of this past week seem to validate the idea. Even if we’re talking more about Ron Paul’s Libertarian version of Republicanism than the usual version Read more

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By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)

Is the net inherently Republican?

Most of my digital brethren (at least here in New York) would react violently to that concept but the events of this past week seem to validate the idea. Even if we’re talking more about Ron Paul’s Libertarian version of Republicanism than the usual version on offer.

Like most people in our industry I was happy to see the demise of SOPA and PIPA last week, pieces of legislation that were both overreaching and indicative of lawmakers lack of understanding of the digital space. And I was impressed by how the web community came together quickly and united in it protest of the legislation.

But then I got the news about Google’s new privacy policy. And Facebook’s continuing imposition of their Timeline feature. And worst of all Twitter’s announcement about censoring tweets. I’m sorry, “localized censorship” (as if censorship was acceptable as long as it didn’t happen here in the good old USA).

And while we united as one great digital community to fight off Washington, we seem to accept this behavior if it’s coming from one of our own.

Why?

Why is it acceptable for private companies to be cavalier with our personal information. Or impose features and products on us without giving us any choice in the matter? Or banning us from expressing an opinion if we happen to live in the wrong country?

Are we as a digital community saying that we don’t want government regulating Internet content, we should just let business and the free market decide how important issues are handled?

That sure sounds like Republicanism to me.

There’s nothing wrong with Republicanism. It’s a view held by a large majority of people in this country. But it’s definitely a radical change from the way the web community used to think and act. And no one seems to be drawing much attention to that.

What do you think? Is the Internet now a red state? And where are the digital democrats?

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