Tanzania's independent websites, podcasts and video channels have gone dark as the country's new blogger tax goes into effect


“First they came for the Tanzanian bloggers and IDAF because LOL, Tanzanian websites…”


Part of me wants to register a fictitious person/corporation as a “blogger” and create some real hijinks in the following manners:

  • Use this as an umbrella for “multiple personalities.”
  • Exercise as much free reign as the Tanzania equivalent of theonion.com with lackluster editorial control.
  • Overwhelm the censors with a fire hose worth of content to filter through (including some Mad-Lib style fill-in-the-blanks auto-generated content.)
  • Request journalistic relief/refunds on the registration fees due to inability Tanzania’s censors to review material in a timely manner, and for failing to review materials as promised by their implied censor review SLAs.
  • If the Tanzania government decides to prosecute, they would ultimately be chasing shadows. (cemetery plots, made-up (fictitious) relatives of inmates/politicians/ruling parties, suitability framed “corrupt” government officials.)
  • Different (randomized) content for governmental TLD visitors as opposed to others.
  • “Guest Contributor” IDs randomly assigned from a pool of the rosters of inmates/government officials.


I could write out an entirely new comment, but why bother when I can just copy and paste the one I wrote yesterday under a completely different post! :frowning:

RIP web. I fell hard for you in the 90’s. By the mid-2000’s you were starting to scare me a little bit. These days you’re being abused hardcore by the money-grabbing commercial jerks and surveillance happy creep-a-zoids. All along, I saw intense freedom twinkling in your eye and knew right away you were too much for us mere humans to grapple with, and that eventually we’d have to put you down. I’ll miss you.


There is certainly cause to be hopeful that western style democracies can resist things like this, but there is no reason to believe that:
This absolutely, under any circumstances, cannot happen here*.
There aren’t some very highly motivated people willing to try.

If we merely believe this cannot happen to us then all the warning signs telling us when it is already happening might just go unheeded.

Here, being wherever you personally are

If there was a trial, it was China, and it was successful. This is just now the roll out for everybody else.


Sentiments Douglas Rushkoff has taught me by talking about the ethos of early web adopters, and how slowly it was all eroded away. I often send tech-zealot friends to his podcasts & books when they think that technology will solve problems. Without guidance technology will continue to be used against humans, and the internet is a perfect example of how even a technology born with the highest of ideals, and that has been fought for (over and over it feels like) is slowly bent to the will of corporatists and self-interested politicians.

I also want to note that he isn’t perfectly this down on everything. You should check him out (as I imagine many on this board have), as there are options out there for hope.


No, that’s good. Thanks for the name drop. Will check him out.


I agree. American citizens are no “smarter” or “better” than Germans/Italians in the 1930s.
America does, however, have more robust constitutions and institutions than the Germans/Italians had. No question that Trump make himself an autocrat and corrupt the state if he could. But he cannot (yet). No bomb shelter is bomb-proof; it’s just a matter of megatonnage.

A good metaphor. Our democracy, like the Web, had common norms of propriety – which were not mandated/codified – which were then grossly violated. The web is now awash with email spam, driveby viruses, privacy intrusions. In the same way, Trump can simply refuse to publish his tax returns, can fire FBI directors, can ignore science in making law, can target political enemies, can use his power to solely benefit his political base, can serially lie to the American people, etc. etc.


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