Day 86: [Censored]

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March 26, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

It’s been a while since SOPA and PIPA have made headlines, which to me seems dangerous because the less attention we give the issue of censorship, the more likely it is that subtle censorship sneaks forward onto our freedom.  We need to pay attention and we need to remember that there are people out there actively trying to restrict the exchange of content, information, knowledge, opinions and ideas for one bad reason or another.  You’ll hear it called defense.  You’ll hear it called enforcement of law and order.  You’ll see people demonized as hackers and criminals and terrorists for what they’ve done to threaten the secrecy of information deemed too important to be shared with the likes of you and I.  Today’s project is giving us a glimpse into what might be to come if we continue to drift our gaze elsewhere and go on living in comfortable ignorance of the attempts being made and made again to limit our liberties.

Free and Open is a fictional account that’s only barely fictional.  Telling the story of a censored world through the eyes of citizens-turned-criminals in the wake of federal restrictions on free speech, the unfolding plot is anything but far-fetched.  Three main characters – an aspiring journalist, a documentarian and a former military contractor responsible for the firewall now policing the net – are at the center of the web-based mini-series, but you and I could just as easily play a part in this world under lockdown.

The series combines topical issues and human drama into twelve action-packed, ten-minute episodes designed to both entertain and examine the consequences of limiting internet freedom.

We are laser focused on achieving authenticity and believability. The series goes beyond simple speculation about an internet police state by incorporating:

  • An authentic use of law and technology- no deus ex machina doomsday viruses here.
  • Interviews with scholars, politicians and technology experts that will be woven throughout the show to establish themes, ideas and context.
  • An amazing cast of professional actors, some of whom you’ve seen before, to create a believable universe.

Artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover it up.  The creative team behind Free and Open has created a world that’s a little too close to home for my comfort.  Keeping this issue fresh in the minds of the people it will inevitably effect is not the goal of most mainstream media.  An anti-censorship film coming out of Hollywood would be a bit like Hitler donning a yarmulke and opening up a synagogue – not bloodly likely.  So help this not-so-fictional account of a world not so far away from our own by backing Free and Open on Kickstarter before April 25.


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