Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (15/21): Our digital children’s conversations are muted on a per-topic basis

Posted on Jan 31, 2018 by Rick Falkvinge

At worst, our analog parents could be prevented from meeting each other. Our digital children are prevented from talking about particular subjects, once the conversation is already happening. This is a horrifying development.

When our digital children are posting a link to The Pirate Bay somewhere on Facebook, a small window sometimes pops up saying “you have posted a link with potentially harmful content. Please refrain from posting such links.”

Yes, even in private conversations. Especially in private conversations.

This may seem like a small thing, but it is downright egregious. Our digital children are not prevented from having a conversation, per se, but are monitored for bad topics that the regime doesn’t like being discussed, and are prevented from discussing those topics. This is far worse than preventing certain people from just meeting.

The analog equivalent would be if our parents were holding an analog phone conversation, and a menacing third voice popped into the conversation with a slow voice speaking just softly enough to be perceived as threatening: “You have mentioned a prohibited subject. Please refrain from discussing prohibited subjects in the future.”

Our parents would have been horrified if this happened — and rightly so!

But in the digital world of our children, the same phenomenon is instead cheered on by the same people who would abhor it if it happened in their world, to themselves.

In this case, of course, it is any and all links to The Pirate Bay that are considered forbidden topics, under the assumption — assumption! — that they lead to manufacturing of copies that would be found in breach of the copyright monopoly in a court of law.

When I first saw the Facebook window above telling me to not discuss forbidden subjects, I was trying to distribute political material I had created myself, and used The Pirate Bay to distribute. It happens to be a very efficient way to distribute large files, which is exactly why it is being used by a lot of people for that purpose (gee, who would have thought?), including people like myself who wanted to distribute large collections of political material.

There are private communications channels, but far too few use them, and the politicians at large (yes, this includes our analog parents) are still cheering on this development, because “terrorism” and other bogeymen.

Privacy remains your own responsibility.

Comments are closed.


  1. Tio

    Guys, I left a comment here a few days ago. No one approved it? If so, why? It is ironic since the article is about censorship – what we can or cannot say online. Can I express myself here in the comments section?

    6 years ago
  2. Gayle Parker

    I completely agree privacy “remains” (should be) our own responsibility. Cultural norms, ideas and law are grounded in ethics which is grounded in philosophy. The philosophy of understanding that individuals should be free to act on behalf of their own lives because they own their own lives. Nobody else does, not the government, the church, community, etc. The rights of individuals stems from the premise that existence exists and human beings can recognize reality only if they are left free from force to use their minds to reason (figure out how to thrive on their own in cooperation with others but who are restricted by gov from inflicting force on anyone else). Legalize privacy for a start. However, politics will not change without a moral philosophical grounding of principles. Objectivism is the only philosophy which upholds those principles of individual freedom with the goal being the right to act freely, without coercion, for ones own life, liberty and happiness.

    6 years ago
  3. Tio

    I tested with links to on both Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. None are blocked or any message appears. Can we get more sources for the claims in these articles? They are very interesting but I also want to make sure that they are accurate. Cheers!

    6 years ago