A friend noticed the change in Cory Doctorow’s tone recently, he explains it as the anniversary of Aaron Schwartz’s death but a lot of us are despairing. Like Tim Berners-Lee warned middle of last year, there is an attempt to not only close up the Internet and make it some walled garden, a virtual shopping mall – but also there’s the current mass monitoring of people. Big Brother Web v2.0.
I suspect it’s similar to what I feel, that we’ve been pissing in the wind, we won SOPA but then like the hydra 10 others come along…and the majority didn’t give a fuck to put it bluntly. All of us have been trying to signal what was coming for many years, and were told we were being dramatic, that this was some Orwellian future that would never happen. Even writing to my representative as I have done many times (most recently wrote to Glenda Jackson opposing the Great Firewall when it was in the Commons – because I knew that LGBTQ youth would be affected…much use that it was).
Well no, sadly we now have been proved correct from what was derided as ‘tinfoil paranoia’ with mass NSA & GCHQ monitoring, ‘not really proper media’ Wikileaks and more recently to the mass blocking of Childline and Samaritans in the ‘who will think of the children?’ Great Firewall of Britain, ‘well won’t happen to me’ IPNAs (future crime? How Minority Report) and now the police (well the tinpot Banker army that is City of London, LOL) playing Judge Dredd with domains ignoring any form of, you know, due process. And there IS due process for ‘infringing’ domains, but it involves those pesky courts. This is where it’s heading, that due process is ignored, protest shut down with court orders, one law for the 1% and another for the rest.
Do we get a grudging thank you? No, but I’d not expect that. Does this mean at least people finally take arms in this fight? No, oddly too…apathy and cynicism reigns supreme. Posting cat gifs and Upworthy crap while The Titanic burns and Rome sinks (…And I Can’t Stop Laughing! You Won’t Believe What Happened Next! Click Here To See A Real Police State And It’s Warming Story Of Totalitarian Rule!). I mean look at the insane treatment of Stephen Gough, the Naked Rambler for an example of an IPNA/NSA future could look like – and this is under the current ASBO laws. The idea that someone who just refuses to wear clothes, rather than being given the classic Traditional British Eccentric treatment which is to raise an eyebrow then go back to your Times supplement is jailed FOR YEARS should be a wake up call for most…we are returning to a strange sort of Victorian values which actually don’t make sense, and don’t actually protect anyone at all, but give the semblance of some weird picket fence 1950’s lifestyle – or even worse a Keep Calm 1940’s cupcake austerity drag that never, ever, existed.
This is why Cory’s analysis is correct, it will get a lot worse before if it get better…if it does at all. It depends on all of you giving a fuck. This might be why the note of despair is here, given the history on that count.
There are signs of something in the making – the Day We Fight Back is an interesting step but like SOPA it needs a real push from everyone, not people sitting back liking pictures of Doge (wow! how appropriate! Apathetic unfunny disengaged version of the cat macro for the 2010s), then moaning when their rights are taken away – or they randomly get caught in a GCHQ/NSA sting, or not be able to find help when they need it because all the ISPs are filtered.
By the time everyone is saying ‘why didn’t you tell us?’ – even though many of them chose not to listen – then it’s already too late. Revolution or a new form of serfdom to major corporations and governments controlling what you see, hear and share – tis your choice. Go back to the 1950’s or actually join the 21st century? As John said last night, we’re entering a revolutionary period – well only if people actually stand up and make their views known, otherwise it’ll be a totalitarian period. Your choice.