Well not the Internet… But the Internet as we know it, the (almost)free world wide web. With bulletproof infrastructure in the western countries, impossible to be turned off, with vast fields of uncontrolled data and free access information. Well it’s gone… Now you can pull the plug. Few things have happened in 2011 that made governments and companies think about their future and the role of Internet if something happens:
- The Arab Spring - a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world.
The protests have shared techniques of civil resistance in sustained campaigns involving strikes, demonstrations, marches and rallies, as well as the use of social media to organize, communicate, and raise awareness in the face of state attempts at repression and Internet censorship.
As you may know Facebook, Twitter and Google were working to enable people of the revolution access their networks and organize through the Internet. Whereas the regimes, which opposed the Arab spring where censoring the Internet in their countries or even shutting down the Internet infrastructure. I repeat: they had shut down all Internet traffic during the Arab Spring (in for an example Egypt).
- London Riots – when massive looting and arson took place in England. The interesting part is that most of the people engaged in these actions, weren’t demanding, protesting or stating anything. They were groups of young people using this occasion for stealing, some of the young rioters turned out to be rich. The Police and the government had problems with identifying the rioters understanding them and stopping them. Looting groups were extremely well-organized through the use of social media, mostly Twitter. They were able to mobilize themselves for looting & arson so quickly, that the Police wasn’t able to respond with sufficient speed or/ and power. But the most horrible fact is that during Arab Spring the Internet censorship was used in the Arab world. The London riots have made European governments discuss the option of censoring the Internet during certain crisis situations.
- The #Occupywallst movement – the movement itself is a big concern for me, it is clear that the society is frustrated by the result of world financial crisis, the poor got poorer and the rich stockbrokers and CEOs responsible for the crisis got their bonuses and kept their jobs. But what concerns me most is that the #occupywallst have targeted the wrong guys and in a result they may do more harm than good. They call for changes, they claim they’re “fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process”. But instead of more control put on banks and corporations, this may end up as a governments reason to limit your freedom. To control more, to be able to supply society with minimum wage jobs, so that the 99% will have jobs, less wild(free) capitalism, more controlled economy (socialism). Controlled economy has never any good, these guys want one.
- The possible world crisis. Usually leads to increase of crime, social unrests, raise of taxes, more social economy and other unpleasant matters. This conflicts with idea of freedom, and Internet is freedom. Anything that is opposite or far from freedom is conflicted with the Internet.
All the above may lead to increasing the censorship and control of the Internet. Governments have seen that social networks may play big role in change of power. They have seen it, and probably they do not like it. They have also witnessed current Police helplessness to groups organized through social networks, their speed and efficiency is just above any state-force. England’s PM has already mentioned the possibility of shutting down social sites during certain events. Will they start to adapt the Internet for their needs and defense? Is there already a turn-off switch in you country? What will happen if people demand more freedom, less taxes and more? What if they go to streets in many countries? Won’t somebody try to stop them from setting the new world order?