I try to avoid talking about politics. I think most politicians represent the worst of the general populous.
Throughout history history the human race has proven time and time again that we're our own worse enemies. We fear the things we don't know or understand, persecute each other and those that dare question or step outside the norm. We are a destructive group of beings.
Perhaps our greatest flaw is our estranged disillusion of the illusion of control. That didn't make sense to me the first time I said it in my head but I'm sure it's what I mean. We're always trying to control things, people and even time. We like to experiment, and for very brief moments in each era the experiment starts to look to be successful. We appear to be in control (this is where the illusion of control sits). But every so often, every now and again, a little piece of our frankenstein contraption falls off. That is when we realize we're not really in control. And the disillusion begins and at the strike of reality we become estranged to control.<!-- more -->
Unfortunately the dawn of reality leaves us in a position where we don't know what to do. It can be almost as if everything you knew up to that point was all a lie. Almost like a tale from a film. And where am I going with this?
It's been just over 25yrs since the debut of the web. Just over a decade since it was transformed into what we now know it to be. At it's core the web should be open. It was unfortunate that the internet's backbone had to be designed with central points of control but it is quite possibly too late to change the fact that ISPs are required.
We're at a pivotal moment in history. A large piece of the frankenstein monster is falling off and the disillusion of control ensues. In ~6yrs we will look back at this decade as a turning point, hopefully for the better. While we'll look back and may miss the full impact of this decade, the next few generations will feel it the most. We're at a point where we will decide if they will feel proud or betrayed by our generation. Democracy, dictatorships, whatever else they want to call themselves are in a position where the strike of reality leaves them not knowing what to do. Blindsided by their ignorance of the unknown, they react by unknowingly (or stupidly) pouring more fuel on an already raging flame. We often give media coverage to disruptive startups in all sorts of sectors and have slowly but surely glossed over the disruption technology is delivering to the face of politics.
The web is under threat. Correction, the web has always been under threat from those seeking to gain complete control of it. It just matters now because more people have turned their attention to it. I can't remember where I read this, but I remember a quote saying something like, "revolutions happen when the people are informed of their rights (or the fact they have none)" or something to that effect.
Many people didn't care, many still don't, when they were unaware of the fact their governments keep a close eye on them. Or some knew but saw it as a small price to pay for the supposed freedoms and safety they are privy to. We're such a brutal set of beings, it doesn't matter until it affects us directly. It's not like most of the world didn't already know about the "great firewall of China" and others like it but it seemingly didn't matter until it wasn't just everyone else, it was us too. Why can't we learn? Why can't we every use the mistakes of the past to make a better future? Must we always repeat the same mistakes, albeit in a slightly different form, every time. I'm hesitant to say this because obviously the lives of those lost does not even begin to compare but we (human race) made a similar mistake with the holocaust. People knew, and ignored it practically until it was at their doorstep. Makes you wonder doesn't it? What kind of cretins are we?
Money, greed, power are always motives. They help create the illusions we seemingly need to press on. But who is it that has the real power? Is it the people or those empowered by them? Chose those words carefully to point out that in both cases, it's the people that have the real power. If we don't empower our politicians, what different are they then compared to you or me? Richer, probably. More connected, obviously. Empowered? Only if we allow them to be.
The battles being fought on all angles will shape the future. Not just those currently affected by the immediate impacts but the future of you and me. The future of our kids, their kids and kids' kids... We've had our taste of a great web. It's shown that it has the potential to do so many things. It has and continues to break down so many barriers between all races and creeds on this puny planet. You got to ask yourself, do you want to be responsible for that potential's demise? Do you want to play a part in delaying (yes, delaying, it'll eventually happen, only a matter of time) the disruption? No one knows what the future holds, but think of all we've achieved. Do we want to step back? Think about if science hadn't been suppressed in the middle ages, who knows how much more advanced our society may be. The current struggle to control and suppress the reaches of the web is on par with that suppression. We all have a role to play and there is no middle ground, you're either for or against.
You might be tempted to make the argument that "the government knows best" or that their actions ensures your continued safety and security. Yes, there is no denying that there are people out there who would want to hurt you and those you love. Maybe the government being able to control what people see and do helps keep you safe...maybe. But is it worth the price and not just that are you willing to pay that price? Knowing that those who come after you probably won't have the ability to make a choice of whether they want to pay that price. That aside, why this way? Controlling everything and everyone just isn't a maintainable route. What happens if we decide to be controlled and future generations decide they don't want to be? How will their voices be suppressed, what level of action will they take when another piece of the frankenstein monster that is control, falls off?
People seem to get caught up with thinking this is all about the web and this post has largely followed that trend, but this goes way beyond that. Democratic or not, every human being has a right to lead the life they choose, not one dictated by others. Which is why it is so amazing that something like privacy only made it into the human rights act 1998 (European Convention on Human Rights. Article 8.1). It's up to us that, as we figure out what the web is, what we want from and where it ends up, we don't allow it to erode. The progress of generations will depend on the decisions we make as a collective over the next few years.
Don't think because it's got "technology" somewhere in there that you don't understand or can't do anything about it. Reach out to those who can. Remind those making stupid decisions why they're in a position to make those decisions. Shout at your local rep.. Write letters. Sign petitions. Let your voice be heard. There is no middle ground. Say something or sit silent as everyone else determines your future for you. If you won't do it for you, do it for those that will follow. For those who will look back and be proud that you weren't silent.
USA, UK, China, Turkey, Russia some of the bigger ones that are setting very bad examples. They're stupid mistakes, none they haven't made before either. Some people never learn it seems. sigh, humans