Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Space the Internet Created

Note: The image above does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended. All rights revert back to the owner. Image sourced from

I still remember the first time I heard about the Mideo Cruz exhibit and the flames of controversy it stoked. I was riding a cab on my way to school; the vehicle's radio was on, with Ted Failon confidently spewing nonsense about freedom of speech and (what he thinks are) its limitations. I remember him arguing that the Cultural Center of the Philippines, being a government building, is property of the people of the Republic; and since majority of Filipinos are Catholic, he continued, then exhibits that offend the feelings of the religious have no place in there. The first thought that came to mind was "what a moron," followed by "thank god for the Internet!" Unlike the CCP, the Internet, at least for now, is beyond regulation, specifically, regulation by morons like Ted Failon. Phew! Heathens like me still has a place for our subversive speech! I was glad. There is still justice in the world.

Later that day, in celebration of the Internet and subversive speech's victory in cyberspace, I decided to contribute to the cause. I "liked" Facebook status messages that supported Cruz' exhibit in the CCP, helped reproductive health advocates dispel misconceptions about the R.H. Bill by answering questions posted in online fora, etc. For the second time that day, I was glad...until I came across an article ominously titled "The Dark Side of the Internet," or something to that effect. (I wanted to post a link to the article but I can no longer find it.)

The author argued that the Internet is no longer an outcast's paradise. Aside from attacks from the outside in the form of attempts to regulate, the Internet has already been infiltrated by government agents, blackmailers, and cyber-bullies. Oppressive regimes like those in Iran and Syria have been using the Internet to track down dissidents by monitoring their internet activities; opportunists use it as a tool to collect information about people for the purpose of using the same against them; and, finally, thanks to the Internet, bullying is now a 24/7 affair. The Internet is no longer a safe space. I was no longer glad.

--Jan Nicklaus S. Bunag, Entry No. 1

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