What’s with many governments and authorities, and their constant threats and attempts to ban free speech online? The stated reason is always “national interest”.

Of course, the usual public outcry and debate is about what really constitutes national interest – the interests of those who power the nation, or those who actually make up the nation?

The fact remains that such bans have never really helped nations improve security, or even stop terrorist or communal forces from doing their evil (in India, we’re a target of both).

All these bans do, are drive the rot below the surface, to rear its ugly head in the most unexpected places.

The only people that actually get stopped are the innocent bystanders on the digital highway, who have nothing to do with terror, but become a victim to arbitrary authoritarian actions like bans.

Instead why not let the ‘so called offenders’ stay in public view, ranting and raving about what they think is right and wrong? Why not let them continue their ‘offences’ in the belief that they’re invincible or whatever?

What they will do is expose themselves, give us an idea of who’s saying what, and help intelligence and police forces watch out for signals of an impending trouble…

Look at the United States of America, for example. They probably have the greatest record of free speech and expression in the world. Their people can say or do things in the context of their government and national symbols, which would get me arrested in many countries, if I even mention them here!

But the US intelligence system I believe monitors and tracks these ‘posts’ and ‘trends’ – playing the wait and watch game, more often than not nipping any trouble in the bud, before it can bloom.

It is one of the most important lessons for warfare – “Know your enemy”.

Is that so hard to digest?


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