Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another path towards control

Did you think the battle over free information was over? There's another way to argue for control of the internet. Faltin Karlsen, who is currently looking at problematic use of games and the Internet, writes this concerned note:

A group working with the next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in the category called Substance-Related Disorders, suggests that:
"Gambling disorder has been moved into this category and there are other addiction-like behavioral disorders such as “Internet addiction” that will be considered as potential additions to this category as research data accumulate. Further, the work group has proposed to tentatively re-title the category, Addiction and Related Disorders."

This move will conflate substance addiction and compulsive behavior into one category and increase the scope of the diagnosis. In short, in 2013, overuse of Internet can become a diagnosis. This is problematic in a health perspective (although also with positive sides), but regarding freedom of expression it has more severe implications. Governments in countries without democracies and where freedom of expression is under pressure will have a valid argument for monitoring and regulating the use of the Internet even further. In the West it is difficult to assess what consequences this will have but it might easily put freedom of expression under pressure, in lieu of worrying about the health of the population. I can’t even imagine the avalanches of media panics this will entail.

It appears that the new motto for control is "Let's close it, and say it's for their own good."

1 comment:

Klepsacovic said...

This just seems to add a new word choice, not a new behavior for totalitarians. Before they'd block the internet because of content: it was filled with lies and indecent images and ideas. They'd block it, for the protection of their citizens. Now they can get around the free speech troubles of that by saying it's for health reasons. But were cries of censorship really interfering with the blocking?

My fear is that this is going to spawn of a new generation of fake disorders, an excuse to marginalize certain people.