Please be warned, this post is quite political (not biased towards any political party or government), read at your own discretion

I felt compelled to write this article as a result to news coming out of the United Kingdom regarding further blockades on websites.

I find it important to state at this point, that the views expressed here are my personal opinions. Therefore you may or may not agree and you are well within your right.

The internet is without a doubt the greatest invention of our time.
In fact, on a personal note, I have genuine withdrawal symptoms if I have no access to the internet, and I’m sure I am not alone on that.

But just for interest, let us look at the history of the internet and the World Wide Web.
The internet is not a modern invention, in fact, it’s history goes back to 1961 at MIT when Leonard Kleinrock wrote a paper with a theory of packet switching(something we do to this day) and this was first tested in 1965.
The problem at this point was how computers could communicate with one another, something that we never really think about.
At this point computers were like people, and have you ever tried to get an Italian to speak to a Norwegian without each speaking any other language other than their own?
They can’t give each other orders since neither understands one another.
So in 1965 Leonard Kleinrock, Lawrence G. Roberts and Thomas Merrill put the theory to practice by connecting a TX-2 computer in Massachusetts to a Q-32 computer in California over a dial-up connection and thus created the first network over a distance. It was a success as the transfer of data was realized but at the same time it also confirmed that it was not up to the job and packet transfer had to be done.
In 1967 the first idea of something that resembles the internet was born known as ARPANET.

I shall leave the internet there (but for further reading see the bottom for the link of the source of this)

Today we use the world internet as if it’s the World Wide Web, whilst in fact it is not.
The internet was used for transferring information across a network.
However, that is not what we use today to access webpages (at least not directly).

The most notable difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web is the use of the pages language.
What we use more than any other is HTML, and this was created purely for the Web.
It was the brain child of Tim Berners-Lee who came up with a project designed to ‘make links to any document anywhere’.
This he envisioned in his creation of hyperlinks.
On April 30, 1993 he released his project as Open-Source.
And in June 1993 released what is now the backbone of the Web: HTML.
But even then it was limited since you had to know where to go for what.
So the following year seen the creation of ‘Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web’ now known as Yahoo allowed users to actually find websites and what followed led to where we are today.
Please note that the term World Wide Web was the browser created by Tim Berners-Lee.
In 1993 we also see the birth of popular browsers in the form of Netscape (known as Mosaic back then).

Now we are going to look at the grey area that we face on the internet today, and this is piracy.
Why is it grey?
Well, for instance if we look at the blockades of the PirateBay here in my country: the Netherlands, we see a small problem.
If I, the surfer, go to the PirateBay, my country says that’s an illegal place to be, and therefore grants me no access.
Simple right?
Not exactly, the server that hosts the PirateBay is not located in the Netherlands and therefore it has no right to pull it down and that’s why you only see blockades rather than the shutdown of the site.
And the UK is facing the same dilemma, yet, they have gone a step further by blocking other sites too.
I cannot speak for UK law, but I want to delve a little deeper into the Dutch law regarding the internet.
Because it doesn’t matter whether illegally obtaining goods is right or not, it’s about the principal of whether we should be under a great firewall like in China.

Now here it gets very interesting:
The Netherlands happens to be the first country to adopt the ‘Net Neutrality Law’.
This in basic terms means that the internet can not be interfered with unless there are good personal reasons (fraud, not paying bills).
What is MOST interesting in this bill which was passed at the very beginning of this year (2012) was that the internet could NOT be filtered.
This includes blockades on websites.
Unless, it was at the request of the users.
The fact that it was at the request of the users makes it shady and could potentially be misused.
However, we are now near the end of the year and still we have no access to the PirateBay.
This is what my ISP page is when I try and access it (translated from Dutch):

Blockade The Pirate Bay

The website you are trying to reach is currently unavailable.

On request of Stichting Brein, the judge of the courts in The Hague has decided to block the access to the PirateBay for UPC users.
UPC will appeal this verdict.

For more information go to rechtspraak.nl.

Now this is not just annoying, according the Net Neutrality Law, this is illegal in itself.
Yet nothing is done.

Now there are many nations across the world who are not as fortunate and in fact are trying to filter the internet instead of protecting it’s integrity.
Most notably the famous SOPA in the United States (although this is as good as dead).

Your thoughts on piracy may either be for, or against.
But regardless of this, there should be no question that the internet is OURS, and belongs to nobody.
Filtering sites regardless of content is wrong. If you don’t like to go to the PirateBay, don’t visit it.

If we only look at the Arab Spring (which was organised on the web) we see how this could be abused.
Today it may be in the name of copyright, but what could tomorrow bring, silencing the voices of the disheartened?
I am not being political here, I am not scaring you, I am just asking you:

Where will you draw the line?

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