Thursday, 14 July 2011

Seeking a Free Internet.

I spoke to a woman today whose mother was ill but had ‘kept it’ from her children. I was a bit shocked at this level of ‘protective behaviour’ but got to thinking of how censored my life is/has been.

At school the information I was given was heavily censored as was the ‘news’ I got in later life from the TV and newspapers. I realised early on that anything important....I would be the last to know.

I can seek to ‘self censor’ a little less than I do, but, society demands a degree if one is not to be totally marginalised.

So, while I would of course love to turn the warplanes into butterflies above my nation, I know that the world is not a just or fair place. In fact, I have read, “in an unjust world, the only place for a just man is in jail” ... though jail society is hardly structured around justice and freedom, I would guess.

I have tried, where possible, without extreme inconvenience, to act in accordance with my beliefs but I still pay tax money to a Government that bombs innocents and buy products from corporations that pollute, corrupt and oppress. I have to live with that and get on with my life. The only thing worse than a bad conscience is a clean conscience.

The recent drive by FB and Google to get real names linked to accounts has had me puzzled for a while now. As an example... a friend I know has zero digital footprint. Google them and a name from 1812 is the only reference .... another has a name so common there are 57 million references on Google.

The name is not the issue I think. What is of interest, however, I believe is the FACE. With current face recognition software it is possible to compile a database of everyone. Granted that might take a few years, but, with FB and Google pics there must already be hundreds of thousands of people, maybe millions, who could be recognised at airports, city centres and ‘sensitive sites’. Big Brother, as I alluded to recently. ... and the photo links to the driver’s license, address, age...etc... quite a salable commodity.

The idea that government is going to allow it’s citizens the freedom to wander the Web with little or no control, accessing information that they wish to keep to themselves, does not take into account the paranoid nature of the Elite who hold power.

The Elite fear the Mob on the one hand and the Powerful Individual on the other. This is the basis of the politics of power.

Those still innocent enough to believe in the ballot box may believe we can vote to exercise our democratic freedom. Those of us a little more worldly-wise know that politicians are owned. How quaint it was of someone to say, after Obama had been elected, that Only In America could Anyone become president..... the truth being, of course, Anyone With $64,000,000 To Spend On Their Campaign could become president. That was not his money, that is a debt he now has.

So, what freedom I do have is purely in my wallet. I can, in a limited way, vote with my cash. I can spend my time where I choose. I can close my FB account. That freedom I do have.

... but a free Internet? ... yes, I do support the idea, it would be wonderful.

... but I am a little too cynical to believe it will happen in my lifetime.

On the other hand, I do believe that resistance is not futile...



  1. No, resistance is not futile! The internet did not start out this way; it is also our internet! We have paid the telcos billions, which they used to set up the wires (and cheated us and Congress and continue to cheat us) yet they insist the net is "theirs."

    It isn't theirs. None of us could afford a radio or television broadcasting station, and so those media delivery systems were locked and closed. The internet is a communications platform, not a broadcasting media channel. The telcos and media barons wish us to forget this. It is up to us to teach them that this is not television, not radio, and not restricted to multimillion dollar corporations pushing their propaganda and tripe.

    This is electronic democracy and we must use it or lose it; the time is now.

  2. Neil Postman would love how Facebook has kept the Mob happy. Like television that he attacks in Amusing Ourselves to Death, social networks provide entertainment and distract us from the business of real life outside the window--ironically, through connecting us to real people, not a TV network.

    Miso, Tim Wu's book The Master Switch leaves the future of the Net as an open question. You are correct that it is different from earlier telecom tech, but keep in mind that every earlier technology for communication went through an epoch of openness before a few companies tightened the screws and works with the government a de-facto partners. Choices waned.

    Verizon or AT&T could choose at any time to fight harder against Net Neutrality. What we need is a strong ruling from the US Supreme Court about the duties of common carriers.

    I fear Apple, AT&T, and Verizon more than I do my state or Federal government, in this regard. Ironically, my old bogey-man, Microsoft, has fumbled matters so badly that they seem a toothless lion in this fight.