This post is going to link to quite a few old articles as every time I’m about to write it something new adds to the pile of stuff that needs to be included. So it’s time I accepted the pace of things happening is just too fast and I should try to tie a few bits together knowing it’s all going to be out of date before I hit publish.
The Government has a love hate relationship with the Internet, it loves the amount of data and control it could give over us but hates the fact that it allows people to talk to each other and exchange ideas. As such they have to pursue a multi-pronged approach to the Internet, make sure that everyone is connected and then make sure they control what we do and see. It sounds fanciful I’ll admit but sadly it does rather add up.
Consider that the Government wants as many people on line as possible which makes sense as they also want us all to have our very own personalised website for dealing with the government (H/T Old Holborn) – perhaps with links to online terrorist reporting or other such important civic tools. If you’ve not got a computer they’ll buy a laptop for you, which will probably have webcams which if activities in the US are anything to go by, which will be used to monitor you for “improper behaviour”. Perhaps as is already happening with CCTV cameras operators monitoring your behaviour will issue a warning. Of course I’d fully expect these personal websites to feed into CRB checks, and for security purposes you’ll no doubt (after a few suitable scares) need an ID card to login.
To make things even more like ” 1984″ housing estates are being built with their own Broadcasting channels and giant TV screens, to go with all those screens being installed in schools and doctors surgeries (along with yet more CCTV cameras), showing government information films.
The other main prong as mentioned is control, well:
- In South Australia anonymous political commentary is now illegal
- In Italy it’s being proposed that you need Government authorisation to upload videos
- In America they’re considering making conspiracy theories illegal
- Internet based News Organizations can now voluntarily be regulated by the press complaints commission (No problem as long as it remains volunatry).
- France is debating a draft law to filter Internet traffic (amongst other things)
- The World Health Organization wants governments to tax online activity
- Nominet disconnected 1,000 websites on police assertions about criminal activity on the sites.
- WiFi hotspot operators are being held liable for their customers downloads
- In the Digital Economy bill:
Falling back to using old fashioned post to communicate and thus avoiding the internet won’t I’m afraid help.
Meanwhile out in the real world we’re already being made to walk through check points when wandering around our cities during police “lock downs”. To put aside any concerns over exaggeration as to how bad things have got even the Information Commissioners Office are saying “that we are in fact waking up to a surveillance society that is already all around us.”. Just to make that surveillance easier the Government is working on tracking us via our mobile phones, even with out that it’s already very difficult to disappear.
All in all it does rather add up to a quite unpleasant state of affairs