So today we were greeted by news which was to be expected really, and to be quite honest I don't even know why I'm bothering to write about it seeing as every blog in the UK is probably already covering this story but for the sake of adding to critical mass, I'll state the issues.
Today the news was reporting on the '1984' style press control:
Apparently the British Government has seen fit to bring in a bunch of new laws which not only strongly restrict the media's ability to report on stories (not that the mass media was ever that great at bringing things to peoples attention in the first place) but also means that there is a serious threat of ordinary internet users being sued for damages for cases of slander and or defamation. Those at risk includes me, for writing this blog and it includes you if you decided to post up unsubstantiated bullshit on Facebook or Twitter - quite literally you can be held accountable for saying anything, really, if someone can falsify evidence to the contrary to what you have said.
That said, this is nothing new. Hundreds of people have already been arrested (and charged) for things said on Facebook, and I'm guessing the toll for people losing their jobs for 'I hate my boss, I think he is a cunt' comments, probably extends to the hundreds of thousands mark. Lets face it, the internet isn't safe anymore, in particular Facebook which was always an intelligence finding database from the get-up.
You have to ask, is this really an attack on the 'free-press'? Or is it really an attack on the internet's ability to quickly get information across?
Lets be honest, if it wasn't for the internet most of us would still be believing there was actually a point to the wars in the Middle East, that the economy really was failing due to genuine mistakes and that politicians actually have our best interests at heart. The internet has been a brilliant tool for unlocking minds and dispelling the bollocks stories we've been told over the centuries, until now. This could be seriously damaging for everyone who actually cares about learning the truth about things.
Lets take a scenario for arguments sake:
A woman is kidnapped and gang raped repeatedly by a group of highly wealthy politicians and bankers. She gets out, and no one believes her, the police are too scared to chase up the case and so in desperation she posts her ordeal up on the internet, because currently if you have a huge problem which no one seems to be helping you with, you post it on the internet to try and get publicity. If these people were so rich that they could pay off the police and pay for some witnesses to vouch for them being some place else at the time this rape allegedly happened, they could then take that woman to the cleaners and infinancially rape her too, just to really rub the salt in the wounds.
Whilst this may seem a bit of an extreme example, there are tons of cases which have received publicity through the internet, people who have won against corruption and blackmail, this Act would potentially put a stop to that.
Thing is, its not just freedom of speech which is under attack.
The past few years has seen both the European Union and America try and bring in internet laws such as 'SOPA' which far extend past their premise that it is just for preventing online piracy. In any case, despite both SOPA in the states and the European equivalent, the legislation was rejected on privacy grounds. Despite that, starting from next year in 2014, in the UK internet service providers will be required to log and monitor your download habits and give you a 'three strikes' warning, where presumably your internet speeds will be slowed until eventually you receive nasty letters through the post asking you to come to court.
The same is happening in America too, albeit they get six strikes instead of our three.
Europe and America both have the sinister issue of having to pay £20 (or $30) to appeal against an ISP's decision, because, you know, its not like the UK or America has a Bill of Rights or anything. And it gets worse. You ever posted something like a video of your mate falling over, onto YouTube? You put some music onto that clip? Guess what, if you did, you could be fined under these new proposals.
In any case just be glad you don't live in Germany where the lines between civil and criminal cases are blurred. If you are caught downloading porn illegally over there the porn studio send letters to your home demanding a payment settlement and then post your name publicly for everyone to laugh at (unless they pay £650 straight to the firm straight away without question.) Apparently the potential damage to relationships is neither here nor there to these arseholes.
Trouble is, its set to get worse. Gone are the days where the internet danced to the tune of dial-up tones and the anarchistic web pages ran wild, slowly but surely the internet is becoming standardised and my prediction is that eventually all the websites we take for granted today will be shut down and we will all be given some form of internet passport. The internet will be like a glorified Ceefax, except it draws more information out about you, than you do about it.
For example, there was huge controversy about Google's terms and conditions changing last year. People generally don't care that much anymore now its old news, but in my opinion people should be very scared of an internet organisation which demands you use a 'real name' when filling out your profile. Its not my belief that Google is necessarily some Government sponsored spy (that's Facebook) but I do think that they are deliberately and undeniably creating a file on you to know how best to sell products to you.
Facebook on the other hand is without question being used by police forces to gather intelligence on us, and as technology increases that ability will only grow. They are working on software which can predict where in the world flashpoints and crimes are about to take place and software which evaluates all your likes and dislikes in your Facebook timeline and makes a judgement on you about how likely you are to commit a crime.
All we need now is some sort of drug which makes us all docile and apathetic.
Oh hold on!
Welcome to the New World Order!