Apparently, during this summer’s riots, our lord and master David Cameron considered switching off Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger (see article here). According to the article the government was “working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services”.
This is a perfect illustration of something that I’ve been saying for years. The government (the establishment) is scared stiff of the internet. Not because they don’t understand it. I think they do. They have enough advisors to tell them. No. The reason is that it potentially puts power in the hands of ordinary people.
Why? Firstly, because the people have unprecedented access to vast amounts of information. Until the internet came along the ruling classes essentially controlled the information that was available to the ruled classes. Freedom of the press? Forget it. The traditional media has always been controlled directly or indirectly by the Establishment.
Secondly the internet allows almost instant communication between people anywhere in the world. One presumes that it was this that triggered Cameron’s knee jerk reaction to the riots. I seem to remember a similar issue with email back in the days of the fuel protests.
Never before have ordinary people had so much power at their fingertips. The tragedy of it though is that most people don’t realize what they’ve got. Perhaps they will eventually. But by then it may be too late and governments will have figured out ways to control it.