Back in 1997, I was a famous Advocate at Law with an MSc on Criminology, with appearances in national TV channels, interviewed by Reuter and all national media, continuously feeding journalists with information about the Internet, helping them when a crime occurred with global interest.
I had started a Ph.D. on Internet Law which I never finished, but my thesis’ topic was unique; it still is. There has not been a dissertation on the subject yet. I was discouraged from completing my research when I saw my supervisor professor using my arguments in a seminar as “her” arguments. My ego was hurt… I was too young.
On that unfinished dissertation, I had underlined that the Internet’s nature is freedom. In democratic regimes, the Internet should not be censored. Yes, there are dangers indeed, especially for the children — you have read about kids committing suicide, and some of them recorded their attempts live. Many of them died.
The Internet is like a razor: it can cure and can also kill with the same effectiveness.
This is not a reason to censor it though.
There have seen suggestions by governments to control the Net, and we see efforts against Facebook *demanding* from them to “control” the content published on their platforms. Facebook promised to apply Artificial Intelligence to “predict” if a particular behavior is suicidal, assumingly to alert the environment of that user and help that way.
One could argue that those governmental Dinosaurs cannot, and they will never understand for the next 5–10 years at least, that they cannot stop technology, neither can they “rehabilitate” humans, especially kids that way. If someone, a kid or an adult, has a suicidal behavior, it’s not the Internet, the Facebook or any other media responsible either for that behavior or for his/her death as a result.
On the other hand, another one could argue that self-regulation is the only cure to the “problems” arising from the use of the Net. That is possible by establishing institutional bodies that can both protect the freedom of the Net and also apply self-regulation in the daily practice. This is an obligation of all governments; any other action against online communities and social networks is proof of the political “ignorance” about the power of the technology today.
But is this the case?
When it’s obvious that common sense is not followed by politicians, something else is happening underneath the surface of the reality served.
It’s easy to conclude that governments want to avoid their role to protect society by passing the responsibility to others. Or that governments are afraid to be judged for their effective measures — or not.
If you really want to understand the problem, try to think about the Internet as a danger to all political regimes. Blaming Facebook works as their ultimate hypocrisy. Politicians today play the role of the technologically agnostic individuals to facilitate the legislative efforts to control the big companies by justifying the censorship they want to apply. The “help to kids” is the carrot they use for getting society on their side and then going against our freedom and constitutional rights.
Governments cannot easily digest that Facebook has so many followers — aka potential votes against them.
CEOs of such companies are always a political danger. It’s not a coincidence that the recent breaches of data with their routes dated years ago, and the latest official questioning of Mark Zuckerberg by the US government “happened” after Mark’s tour throughout the US and the rumors that wanted him to “think” about involving with politics — even hitting the Presidency of the US. Public humiliation has been the favored way of authorities to “kill” the opponents since the ages of Inquisition.
Don’t fool yourself.
The Internet has the bodies that can regulate itself.
The cultural decline of society’s principles on a global basis is the real culprit of any efforts to censor the Internet, and the modern tyrants help by imposing their relentless brainwashing with media that try to survive by bowing to politicians. Society, today and especially parents, have been transformed to “buyers” both literally and also metaphorically: they “buy” everything that can alleviate their duties as the easiest way to avoid any additional “burden” in their already profoundly depressed present.
Is there hope?
There is no hope for as long parents maintain the “generation gap,” and the moral and ethical values of our society decline.
It’s our “laziness” to fight our ignorance against our tyrants — supported by the relentless brainwashing and financial torturing imposed by media, — that will fuel the governmental efforts to censor the freedom of the Internet, and social media is just the start.
Keep your mind open and do not digest everything served to you easily no matter how conveniently that attitude facilitates your worry-free life.