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When I was a kid I dreamt of a world where no injustice could go by unnoticed. It’s a kid’s dream for sure, but what if I was to say that I still believe in such a world to this day? Would you call me a fool? Naive, even? When I was a kid, I […]

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

When I was a kid I dreamt of a world where no injustice could go by unnoticed. It’s a kid’s dream for sure, but what if I was to say that I still believe in such a world to this day? Would you call me a fool? Naive, even?

When I was a kid, I loved computers. I was fascinated by them. They intrigued me. I found them to be remarkable machines running on electric impulses going on and off in intricate circuits. And since electricity, in it’s beautiful wave-like form, could travel the world, the interconnecting of computational systems was nothing less than remarkable. As I learnt to read and write, I soon started to feel empowered.

I felt that everything could be taken from me, but as long as I had a keyboard, a screen and an internet connection, no injustice done to me could ever go unnoticed. Alone against the world I could scream and the imagined perpetrators would shut med down almost immediately, but online I had only to whisper. Those who found my voice and my words to be interesting, they started listening. And after a short while, they too joined in.

At this advent of the personal computers, I was told that large computer companies destroyed computers in order to balance supply and demand on the market. Whether this was an urban legend or not, I don’t know. But the idea of human beings destroying fully functional computers struck like tightening barb wires around my young heart. To me, this was far worse than burning books.

It was then I got the idea. We should supply the whole world with computers!  This wasn’t an original idea of course, but to me it was. Countries with uncensored internet access won’t go to war against each other, I thought.

And guess what? I still do.

I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of injustice. After all, we’re all human beings and conflicting interests will always result in cruelty. And I have no intention of messing with Mother Nature. Our biology isn’t binary like the machines and there will always be something worth fighting for, because such is life. For better or worse, such is our drama as a species. But there’s nothing that says that we can’t all have a voice.

The day will come when all human beings have access to internet. When each individual on this planet is connected to each and everyone else. Governments will try to take advantage of this and they will try to design the computer systems to their benefit. Even in a country with such liberal traditions as Sweden, the government is monitoring each and every email sent through a server based on our soil.

Power corrupts, and this raw data power is simply far too great not to try to tap into for the authorities. They will continue trying and they will always say the same thing. “It’s for your own good.”

But with every human being connected and free to speak their minds, we stand a fighting chance of a better tomorrow, a tomorrow where injustice simply can’t go unnoticed. But in order to get here, we need to acknowledge some basic truths, truths that might not be as self evident as they should be:

  • The United Nations must recognize internet access in the declaration of human rights, because in today’s world, you have no voice otherwise.
  • Information by it’s nature is the accumulation of all things ever learnt and as such, it’s the rightful domain of the human race. It’s the idea of the public library gone global.
  • Integrity and privacy of the individual always supersceeds the security claims of any government, since individual freedom is of far greater importance than the authorities’ abilities not to abuse their powers.

You could argue that I’m wrong; that internet access for everyone won’t make this world a better place. At such claims, I have no argument. I have no magic crystal ball. But what I can tell you, is that I’m still that little kid who thinks that freedom of speech and IT is a pretty awesome combination.

This post is a part of Amnesty’s blogger outreach project on freedom of speech and is part of Amnesty’s campaign “Letter Writing Marathon”. More information about the project and Amnesty’s work for freedom of speech can be found here (in Swedish).

I hereby ask Rick Falkvinge at to give his view on the subject “Freedom of Speech” with the hope that we will be many who reaches the finishing line by the 10th of December which is the Human Rights Day.

More in Swedish:

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.

Add your comment:

Raj Singh

Really great post and well-timed for the SOPA. I truly look forward to the day information is accessibile to everyone and education is more highly valued (not fiscally, mind you). 

What I hope for more, however, is that the spread of devices and information will lead to a more fact-checking mentality among people. As the public library goes global, it becomes easier to publish material no matter who you are. 

The good: less mediated propaganda and more user-generated/controlled content. 
The bad: anyone can “contribute” anything and content could indeed become highly mediated by power-oriented institutions. 

I know I am always questioning what I read, but I don’t always follow up on what issues I question. Understanding context and authenticity of claims is going to be huge in the age of (more) information. 

Thanks for sharing, Jerry.

Doktor Spinn

Agreed, Raj. And it sure is a relevant concern, especially since The Knowledge Gap Hypothesis states that tomorrow’s class society very might be closely related to your access to good vs. bad data.

I’m sure data-mining is becoming a profession in its own right, with professionals scavenging in their hunt for those clean data sets. 

As for knowing one’s sources, I think there will be professional curators, i.e. journalists specializing in database journalism. I also believe that the schooling system must reform and focus on how to abstain and validate data based on understanding, rather than focusing too heavily on knowledge on behalf of understanding.

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