Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

A ‘thought-control’ switch for demophobes?

What follows is the comment I posted on the page, in reply to several remarks casting internet control as either a Democratic or Republican initiative:

Does anyone really imagine that this proposal is a partisan issue? Has anyone so tenuous a hold on reality that he thinks this is about Barack Obama, George W. Bush, or any specific political party, faction or personality? What it represents is not progressive or conservative, but the effect of a generalized fear of democracy on the part of our ruling elite: Those in power want to retain it, and they are terrified lest independent thought and unconstrained discussion should loosen, however fractionally and inconsequentially, their hands from the reins of our society.

Internet 'kill switch' caricatured

Internet ‘kill switch’ caricatured: If only it were that simple.
[ Image Source ]

It is interesting that the author should mention Egypt and the efforts of the waning vicious despotism of Hosni Mubarak to retain control in the face of a public surfeited with three decades of unspeakable abuse, for Mubarak’s first instinct when he found his power threatened was to kill the internet. The traditional media belong to the ruling elite in almost every country — including Egypt and the United States — while the internet is viewed as a sort of electronic Wild West. This means that the internet will be the logical first target of any such ruling elite, and this proposal flows from that calculus.

To control the internet is an odious idea that has emerged from pathocratic moral lepers at home and abroad. It is not the internet that we need the capacity to kill; it is the idea of killing the internet that needs to die. If indeed the present architecture is vulnerable to such interdiction, then I propose that we undertake a grassroots restructuring such that no one or two companies can hold the net to ransom, and there is such a profusion of small, independent internet service providers as to make shutting down the web as a whole functionally impossible.

I think our freedom may turn out to depend on it.

Originally published as a review of apcmag.com article on the proposed internet "kill switch."

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