The cost of sharing

Adding to the long list of articles covering the Global Voices Bloggers summit recently was one on The Economist that ended by noting,

“…Global Voices’ annual summit in Budapest this week, where hundreds of bloggers, academics, do-gooders and journalists from places like China, Belarus, Venezuela and Kenya were due to swap tips on how to outwit officialdom. The aim, says Ethan Zuckerman, a Harvard academic who cofounded Global Voices, is to build networks of trust and co-operation between people who would not instinctively look to the other side of the world for solutions to their problems.

That is a worthy if ambitious goal. Doubtless, authoritarian governments are in close touch too, sharing the best ways of dealing with the pestilential gadflies and troublemakers of the internet. But they will not be posting their conclusions online, for all to see. Which way works better? History will decide.”

I would argue that not everything that is developed in terms of tools, techniques and strategies to combat State censorship is or can be published online either.

Sure, there are the really useful general guidelines on a number of issues – such as blogging safely and using products like TOR to maintain one’s anonymity – but some techniques I employ and advice others on in Sri Lanka, based from my direct experience of using a range of ICTs in violent conflict and in a context of impunity and human rights abuses, are simply not those I can share on this blog, much as I would like to. 

The cost of doing so outweighs the benefits of public sharing.

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