After reading this article, I decided it would be a great time to discuss the internet. I’m not sure that the casual internet user fully appreciates the true internet “golden age” we are experiencing right now. I mean consider it – we can access information, from any country, about any subject, at any time – with a few strokes of the keyboard. If that’s not monumental to you, then you don’t fully appreciate the greatest thing to happen to mankind, perhaps ever. It’s true and completely free, almost instant, multi-source, discussed – knowledge.
Perhaps never has a population been so connected and so empowered. We no longer have to accept what the media or our own government tells us. We have instant access to blogs and websites coming from multiple perspectives (even the perspective of the “enemy”) that can paint almost a crystal clear picture of the world that we live in. You can be more culturally knowledgeable in an evening in your living room than most of mankind was in their entire lives. This is true power.
Revolutions can be formed, fueled, and organized in moments. Underfunded and disperse – ideas have power like never before. All because of this network we have created that spans the earth. Yet, we think that shopping on Amazon.com or checking our email is the real gift the internet has provided us. Don’t let your apathy fool you into believing the internet and it’s users aren’t more important than that. The information we have at our fingertips, no matter how we use it, is power – and Governments all over the world know it.
It’s about control. How long do you really think this modern day wild west is going to last? Do you honestly believe that no one is going to try to control the most powerful invention ever created? How long do you really think you will be able to freely access websites that promote anti-government or even terroristic ideas? How long do you think sites that offer free music and movie downloads will be able to run? What about those sites that appose the Government or suggest that we overthrow it? Will those last? It won’t be long before the Government says it should be controlled – all to “protect Americans” from things like terrorism and child pornography.
Maybe you even agree that we shouldn’t look at things like that. There are a lot of sites I think are immoral that I wouldn’t and do not visit too. However, a man uploading child pornography to the internet and people with the desire to access it is not an excuse for the Federal government to enforce internet cencorship laws. Those are problems that should be delt with by society, the community, parents, and mental health professionals – not the federal government. When any government uses fear to enforce a nanny state and “take care” of their people – they ALWAYS abuse the power. Internet censorship is just one more tool of power and control. Like John C. Dvorak said:
And, yes, it will happen here. Why not? Who is going to complain about it? You’ll still be able to buy stuff on Amazon and shop online at B&H. You’ll still read The New York Times. Some overseas operations such as London’s Times might be licensed to operate here, too. The differences will be minor. All that you’ll be missing are a few foreign blogs, perhaps, and other seemingly inconsequential sites.
Or so it will seem. Eventually, sites that oppose the government in any way will be taken down without any sort of due process. You can see this coming down Broadway.
The aforementioned SOPA completely eliminates due process from site takedown orders. In the future, all sites will be subject to immediate takedown orders. You can count on it. You can just see this trend moving forward with very little resistance. Nobody, especially in the U.S., wants to face the political implications of any of this. We just trust our officials to an extreme. We vote them into office based on their ironclad promises then immediately forgive them for not following through on the promises. This just encourages and attracts deceit.
Watch over the next few years as the idea of a national Internet evolves from a tool used to suppress opposition to a good idea whose time has come. Yes, this will be sold as a great new idea!
It will be the way we can protect ourselves from alien sites that recruit homegrown terrorists and bomb makers. It will stop offshore piracy websites from ruining our movie and record industry. It will block international child porn rings from making roads into our nation. It will keep al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan from easily communicating with the terrorist cells in the U.S., probably preventing another 9/11. It’s a clear winner.
It will also have other benefits. It will protect the nation from spying Chinese eyes. It might prevent the cyber war that everyone is fretting about. If it is a closed system, then any attack has to take place from within and that’s easier to catch. I’m telling you, I can explain for days why this is a great idea. I’m almost convincing myself.
I can assure you that it will take very little effort to convince Congress and the public that a national Internet in the U.S. is brilliant. Then, see what happens next. Complete government control. You won’t like it, but it will be too late.
And it will be too late. By the time a few of us notice and become concerned about the disaster that has occurred, and trust me only a few will notice, our rights will be gone. Decenting opinions of our all powerful government will be eliminated, blocked, and forgotten about. Our only source of information will be popular media – already bought and paid for by the few – who already choose the politicians with generous campaign donations and pushing their agenda on networks like CNN or Fox News. Make no mistake, they can, they will, and they are slowly and successfully manipulating public opinion – and without an open and free internet – we will be one step closer to intellectual slavery.
People may say, “pretty scary idea…but it doesn’t feel likely to me”, but how strange is the idea that the government may control what site we are able to see on the internet? It’s easy enough to implement. Many of our employers already do it with web and content filters. Implemented on a national level would be no different. China does it now.
Sure, I’d like to think that our Government is cut from a different cloth than those running China, but people get used to strange things. Maybe it starts with legislation like SOPA and eventually we get used to that. Then after a few years of censorship, slowly chipping away at what we see on the internet, we don’t even notice that there is anything strange about not accessing certain types of content. Then after a few more years, it becomes second nature, and we don’t even try. We have become domesticated cattle – information sheep and our Political Leaders are the farmers.
Well, I for one appose that future. For my sake, for my children’s sake, for the Country! Write your congressmen, tell a relative, blog about it, or tell your friends at the book club. We have to stop any efforts to control our ability to access information on the internet. Stop SOPA and stop any legislation like it. This is for Liberty.