Often in my youth I contemplated things that seemed to me to be unfair or even blatently one-sided and I remember asking older, wiser and much more learned people why things are this way. On several occasions I heard the same answers “that’s just how it is” or “some things will never change” and my personal favourite “it’s complicated”. All were (unfortuantely) true answers to a simple question. It seemed that was just how it was or that it has been this way since anyone can remember and so it will probably stay this way forever. Now hold that thought and bear with me for just a few moments I am actually making a point.
It would seem that Vic Toews has found himself in a bit of a predicament the last few weeks. The Minister of Public Safety for Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has been arguing the logic behind the rather unpopular and intrusive C-30 bill. The bill is apparently being introduced to help law enforcement fight child pornography on the internet. There would seem to be more than a few fundamental issues with the bill itself including some that Mr. Toews wasn’t even aware of. Beyond the fact that NOWHERE in the bill is child pornography mentioned it opens up the private online lives of Canadians to authorities that may or may not misuse or leak the personal information they discover. This is a very unsettling thought for those of us that carry on our lives online, some private and some public.
You see one main issue here is CHANGE and how some in power (at least perceived) wish to fight that change. You know that saying “money makes the world go ’round”, well it’s less true today and actually a bit different. That money is for the most part 1′s and 0′s that exist on a complex network of wires and servers and THAT is what MAKES that money go ’round, indeed it is often what makes that money exist at all. Those that know how this network called the internet work are ACTUALLY the ones that control the money, ergo if you control the network you control the money. Now think about this, information is in fact the more important currency as the more information one has the more one can control the people or more importantly the actions of those people that believe they have this money. Having said this let us now entertain a few more possibilities.
For generations lobbyist’s have for the most part controlled the decisions governments make. You see, most lobby groups are usually very well funded by private interests and corporations and they in turn attempt to “persuade” government policy to meet their own agenda. This is “just how it is”, right! I would like to put forth that there is a new group/procedure to lobbying and one of those groups or at least by far the most public is called Anonymous, and they are changing the rules. Anonymous (@annonymous for Twitter users) is actually not a group of people per se but rather a philosophy. There are tens of thousands of these like minded individuals out there (typically younger and VERY tech savvy) that have watched as the current governments and corporations have pushed around people with less influence and money, probably their own parents and frankly are sick and tired of it! Lobbyists have money, there is no doubt about that but the NEW lobbyists (like Anonymous) have (or can quite easily acquire) INFORMATION and if my earlier theory proves proper then LOOK OUT! because it’s about to get much more interesting “up in here”!
The internet has become a great equalizer for many groups whose voices may not previously have been heard, or rather ignored altogether. Openmedia.ca has used the power of the internet to help change the way people are unfairly billed for usage and brought about a truer sense of net neutrality for Canadians. Blogs have given a voice to people online whose writings would never have made it into the mainstream media for various reasons. You can imagine how disturbing this is for those establishments that have historically made decisions and created policy all the while knowing the general population had little to no recourse. Perhaps governments and corporations got lax in their comfy little worlds where people were just a delivery system for their grand fortunes and seemingly unlimited power. Generations have watched and read what has in my opinion become censored/controlled media and been bombarded with marketing messages that helped bring about a disasterous economic crash that will take generations to recover from. I often wonder if the missive of governements and corporations is “shut up and buy stuff”.
The winds of change are blowing hard against those that have lived in relative comfort of their fortunes and ability to control things around them. Problem is the winds are changing direction. In Part 2 of this blog I will discuss more of those changes and what they mean to us as Netizens and occupants of the planet Earth.