Open letter to Automattic and WordPress Team – WordPress blogs block

To Matt Mullenweg and all WordPress/Automattic team.

I’m a wordpresser on Brazil and i’m writing to ask you to take notice and help our blogsphere, that received a really bad and creepy news in this morning:

All wordpress.com can be blocked because of a Court decision which is a potential threat to freedom of speech and social and technical advances in our society.

I’m sending below a free translation of the news I received, and then my comments and concerns.

But the brazilians may loose access to wordpress blogs

Brazilians users can have their access to WordPress blogs blocked because of a decision of 31a Vara Cível de São Paulo (Vara is sort of a court division). The Justice has ordered to block of a specific blog hosted in the portal. But, according Abranet (ISP Association in Brazil), it’s not possible to block just one blog – the blocking would affect all blogs hosted on wordpress.com. According to a Folha Online news, the Abranet informed the decision to all their associated ISPs and sent a document to the Judge, telling him about the technical questions involving the order. The Abranet is asking Brazilian Justice to request the blocking directly to WordPress. The name of the blog has not been revealed, as the process runs under Justice Secret Rules.

In January, 2007, a court decision intended to block to access to a Daniella Cicarelli with her boyfriend in a beach restricted the access of Brazilian user to You Tube.

In the last 2 years, we, Brazilians, have faced a lot of problems caused by the people that “run” the country because of their lack of enough technical knowledge, good sense and social commitement: judges, senators, economical groups, traditional media groups, et cetera.

With a few exceptions, they know nothing about technical and social issues concerned about the communication technologies – or maybe they are afraid with the changes to social relationships, to the power and and freedom matters that this technologies and services give to people – and take questionable decisions or stands.

First, a Senator and Ex-President, part of a well known and powerful family, tried to silence some blogs that dared to disagree his actions.

Then, another Senator proposed a law to identify – maybe track – each internet user.

As mentioned above, in 2007, our blogsphere mobilized against a decision to block YouTube access because some Paparazzi recorded the “hot actions” of a public person with no common sense at all – Daniella Cicarelli, a famous Brazilian model and MTV Brasil hostess – in a public place. (Look for terms like Daniella Cicarelli, sex and beach on Google or WordPress blogs.)

This year, strong and traditional media groups tried to shut journalists and bloggers thar dared to question their opinions and actions, or that are threats to his commercials and political agendas.

The problem is now more serious, for two reasons:

  • There is a lot of importance in services like YouTube, but a service like WordPress serves better to activism, freedom of speech, debates and discussions. Blocking it will shut up a lot of brazilian voices.
  • Blocking this specific blog without revealing the reasons, because of a supposed “Justice Secret”, is a potential hazard. How can we assure that this is not a precedent for shutting down blogs that disagree with the government, a powerful political or financial group, injustices or dictatorships? There’s a lot of videos and blogs that defend different opinions about Tibet and China conflict, about the USA actions in Iraq and issues all over the world. I may disagree with a lot of them, but as Voltaire, I defend the right of speech to everyone, no matter how disgusting the opinion is.

For this reason, I ask you guys to help defend our rights in cases like this, if the court really tries to reach you:

  1. By providing the Brazilian Court with a technical report and knowledge support about the best way to handle the blocking order of this specific blog, without compromising the access to wordpress.com
  2. By providing the blog owner with enough time and ways to keep his/her right to defense, to keep his data, and use the tools to migrate his blog and show the world his/her opinion.
  3. By providing the blogsphere, with the information about the blog address and content. In order to allow us to judge the case by ourselves and the opportunity to a) take a side and b) show the world that we are fighting for our right to balance the power

You’ve shown, several times, that you guys respect democracy, common sense and internet collective good.

I hope is the same case now.

I’m couting on you

Hug’

Celso Bessa

[este texto também pode ser encontrado em português em Bloqueio WordPress no Brasil - Carta Aberta à Automattic e Equipe WordPress]

[this text can also be found, in portugueses in Bloqueio WordPress no Brasil - Carta Aberta à Automattic e Equipe WordPress]

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