Internet Freedom

It is interesting to see that, only a few days after the web asked users to unite to fight against SOPA and PIPA, supposedly in order to preserve the freedom of the internet, both Google and Facebook have announced that they are implementing changes which will remove people’s rights to choice over their own privacy. Google is merging personal data from YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and more while Facebook is implementing Timeline, an application which will simplify the collation of data about us. Neither company is offering an opt-out. “It’ll be better like this,” they say. “Trust us.”

Maybe they’re right, perhaps the new systems will be wonderful to use, but that’s scarcely the point. Just a few short weeks ago the fear was that governments would be able to restrict what we are able to share on-line; now we have major web presences telling us that we will have no choice but to share everything that we are. You can almost see their point, though: if they don’t have access to all the information about us then how can they possibly sell it.

The internet was hailed as a brave new world when it first opened up to the masses – it was supposed to be about choice, freedom and empowerment of the people – but now it has become a corporate institution. This isn’t democracy; we are being offered nothing more than a choice between dictatorships: elected parties characterised by self-interest and protectionism or powerful, unelected companies with their own motives of self-interest and protectionism. Never mind the Big (Brother) Society and CCTV, every single thing that you do on-line will be monitored.

And so it seems that internet users are set to become the battleground upon which Facebook and Google, now apparent rivals, will fight it out. I’m reminded of the wars of old, when opposing monarchs would sit on hilltops and watch their populations slug it out beneath them – except that we aren’t actually the armies in this battle, of course; humans are, in fact, the treasure being fought over here. People are the currency of marketers and advertisers – we are truly human capital.

For anyone who ever worried about just being regarded as another number: fear not – you’re far more than that. You are a number preceded by a dollar sign. We will all be banked, no matter which way we turn, and the leviathans pay us no interest.

About Fles

Early middle-aged (oh yes I am!), no longer long-haired but still speccy and decidedly still an increasingly opinionated git. I’m basically a believer in individualism, that everybody has their own perspective and inner-beauty. I try to find humour in every situation. I enjoy reading and writing poetry.
This entry was posted in Internet, Marketing, Privacy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Internet Freedom

  1. peter claridge says:

    I see myself as more of a barcode to be honest and seeing as I always post under an assumed height talking mostly bollox, they’re more than welcome to do as they please with my personal information; it’s never done me any favours.

  2. Welcome to the world of “1984”. First they install CCTV cameras on every corner, then they gather people’s private infomation on the Internet and the last stage of this campaign is going to be watching people in their own apartments. How hypocritical one should be to talk about atrocities of dictatorship and organize an unprecedented surveillance campaign in our “civilized democratic society” at the same time.

  3. Best Compare says:

    “Stop Online Piracy Act” is more severe than SOPA as it not only will constrain our internet freedoms but will also affect what we pay money for, what we consume and what we can do. Almost anyone could become an offender right away with this.

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