The concept of "free speech" is a bit of a problem these days. Technology has outpaced law in the matter. When you need not necessarily worry about governments silencing you but rather multinational corporations accountable to their shareholders that changes matters. American jurisprudence has tangled with the concept of "limited public fora" being operated by private parties in the context of its free speech law. Unfortunately that body of law is uniquely confined to the United States of America and applies effectively nowhere else.

Philosophical collision is inevitable in today's global marketplace of ideas. When the dominant technology companies that make up the limited public fora of the contemporary Internet are mostly based in the United States there is certainly going to be a clash in ideals. It can prove rather easily that people can be rather divided and that, no, not all cultures happen to be fundamentally the same.

Recently there was an unfortunate event in New Zealand. The fallout from the event has proven interesting from a research perspective. Crackdowns on not just Internet sites but also television broadcasters occurred. I must declare an interest as a foreign shareholder in Sky NZ and also note that in the next available proxy vote I intend to express my displeasure at its recent actions. Action was swiftly taken to insulate the populace there from being exposed in any way to the footage shot by the gunman when he attacked the Mosque. A concerted effort was made and continues to be made to blot out an unfortunate part of the historical record.

Bad things do happen in this world. In contrast to terror attacks elsewhere across the planet, the response in New Zealand has seemed strange. Americans have never needed to be shielded from footage of the events of September 11, 2001. The British aren't shielded from footage of the events of July 7, 2005. The events at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last year didn't fade away either.

My shock and lack of comprehension possibly comes from the human suffering I face every day at work. If we're trying to build a utopia on this planet we're definitely not succeeding. Technocrats are not leading the way on that front if my daily case load is any indication of the individual misery, misunderstanding, frustration, and consternation out there. Hearing an errant member of the US Congress asking Facebook representatives for explanations of why it didn't stop the livestream in question before it got too far underway just leaves me in awe of where we stand as a civilization.

Technology is a tool used for good or evil. The default state of this world is evil. We've been in such a prolonged state of peace and good that our detours back to bad times feel ever-more jarring.

More technology isn't going to necessarily save the day. No algorithm will necessarily know what lurks in the depths of a human heart. I know I've come off lately to other people as rather cruel and fitting the stereotype of Yankee Gun Nut. All I can say is that the attempted social change over the past several years is finally hitting some friction points and showing how divided human beings are.

This too shall pass. I probably need to go back to reading more about ed(1) and how to master it.

Related material:

Brislen, P. (2019, March 19). Terror attack aftermath: "Free speech" is great, but has its limits. Retrieved March 19, 2019, from

Chen, C. (2019, March 19). ISPs in AU and NZ start censoring the internet without legal precedent. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from

Christchurch mosque attacks: "Predictable risk" in Facebook livestreaming feature. (2019, March 19). Retrieved March 19, 2019, from

Farivar, C. (2012, July 12). Internet content blocking travels downstream, affects unwary users. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from

Fingas, J. (2019, March 18). New Zealand ISPs block websites hosting Christchurch shooting video. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from

Hollister, S. (2019, March 16). Sky New Zealand yanks Sky Australia after Christchurch footage sparks outrage. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from

Katinakis, N. (2019, March 19). Blocking websites hosting footage of the Christchurch terrorist attack. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from

Kelly, M. (2019, March 18). New Zealand ISPs are blocking sites that do not remove Christchurch shooting video. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from

New Zealand internet providers send open letter to social media providers. (2019, March 19). Retrieved March 19, 2019, from

Paredes, D. (2019, March 17). NZ ISPs block websites with footage of Christchurch shooting. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from