This Orwellian saying has never been truer. 2011 did not only spell the Arab Spring and a worldwide wave of protests against bankers’ greed it was also the year when the Internet as we knew it disappeared. Below is a list, far from complete, unfortunately of what has been achieved or what is in the pipeline.
In the US the “SOPA” (ironically sopa means trash in Swedish) law is currently going through the law making machinery. The US entertainment industry has taken upon them to be some kind of global content police. And if a web page contains what the industry considers copyrighted material it can be closed no matter where in the world it is registered. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn will all be forced to join in and close down users on loose accusations – if nothing else to save their own skins. The possibility to stand corrected and to reverse the decision to close you down if you as a user are wronged is next to impossible.
German companies have now completed equipment capable of storing everything that happens on the internet. This means that if someone does something wrong, it will be possible to back track this person’s activities and map the person’s previous contacts and social networks, including highly private matters such as political opinion, religious beliefs or sexual preferences. In practise this means that even if you yourself haven’t done anything wrong or illegal, you can still become involved in various scandals just because someone you know or may just have had contact with is suspected of something irregular.
It’s data retention on acid.
The EU data retention directive will be re-examined in the Swedish Parliament next year. All phone calls, SMS, MMS, emails, internet connections and mobile positions will be stored. All this in order to be able to map of whom you have had contact with, when and where… innocent people will encounter very unpleasant surprises.
EU is taking a grip on “cloud computing” this means that not just our telecommunications will be monitored, but also our FILES will be registered and monitored. Google, Amazon, and others what are ye doing to stop this?
As if this sorry state of controlling wasn’t enough – there is the ACTA agreement which means that our Internet operators are forced to become criminal investigators, carrying the full responsibility of the law for what their customers are doing in their cables. To do this they have to implement monitoring mechanisms of everything and anything that happens on the net. Since common sense have given way to control and fear the question will no longer be if you can do what is legal, more and more the Facebook and Apple approach will prevail – what fearful faceless operators believe is appropriate will be the norm. Fear and bigotry will rule.
But as if this already scary situation wasn’t enough the face less European technocrats are building an extensive security bureaucracy of which one part is the European Network and Information Society Agency, ENISA. ENISA will ensure that the monitoring and registration information will be shared between the EU Member States in accordance with the so-called convergence principle. And so the Union’s capacity for intelligence activities will be reinforced.
European research projects such as Indect continues. Indect researches camera monitoring with facial recognition and pattern analysis in real-time, associated with each registry and other monitoring forms. Only now it is more secretive than ever before, because the media and citizens have been a little too “curious”…
These are just some of the things that are in the pipeline for 2012. And as usual privacy and civil liberties will be betrayed in the name of fight against terrorism, child pornography, file sharing, and more. You can justify just about everything, you only have to try a little…