Saturday, June 26, 2010

Internet – The Silk Ribbon Of Democracy!

Governments world-wide are starting more and more to use internet and state of the art technologies in order to control life of individuals. The fear of electronic totalitarianism is justified with possibilities created by this new digital era.

Justin Bieber is just 16 years old and he probably never heard of George Orwell. Big Brother is just an interesting reality-show for him where he can see nervous breakdowns of real people, live, where he can see spontaneous throw-ups after produced parties and where he can watch a few sex-scenes without trained professionals. Justin Bieber is absolutely not interested in the fact that the most visited sites like Facebook and YouTube are just one of the traps of digital era which all kinds of establishments are using to gain access to every little detail of ordinary people lives and gain total control of everyday functioning of society. No, he is not bored with that. Why? Well, Justin Bieber is currently the most famous star in America.

We are talking here about the latest teenage musical hero of the generation of people that isn’t yet qualified for acquiring a driving license, and a star that sold almost one million CDs in one month. With achieving this, he occupied the position of now adults Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, or, decades before him, Michael Jackson and little actress Shirley Temple. But, he doesn’t have anything in common with them. Today, Bieber is the main idol of digital era and in difference with his famous predecessors, his parents didn’t had to bang on producers door and he didn’t had to appear in some kids commercial. He himself created his fame and exclusively over the internet. Three years ago he was just performing some songs, recording himself doing it and posting those videos on YouTube. Over time he became quite popular, he increased his communication with the fans and pretty soon he became interesting to the producers who invited him to make an album. More than a year ago he recorded his first album “My World” and really soon he had more than 50 million viewers on YouTube, not to say that he became the most commented gay on Twitter. His second album, which he published recently, is called “My World 2.0”. This sounds like the newer version of some computer program. Well, why not call it like that? Justin Bieber is an internet project.

This modern digitalization of life, which is spreading globally the fear of establishing a total system of control, on the other hand is offering a possibility to an ordinary person, to feel and live something he never could before. That was the case of Bieber, a regular kid from Ontario. He used this to become a world-wide known star. Just ten years ago he would have been just another failed music talent because he didn’t have a rich parent behind him.

Little Justin Bieber is the first one who realized this 21th century dream. But, on the other hand, he is also part of a new internet generation that doesn’t have some basic common knowledge’s. When he was asked about Germany, he said: “I don’t know what that word means. We don’t use it in America.” Obviously, he doesn’t care much for the fact that his every stupid statement is public and everyone has an access to it. He is taught that if he shows some interest for the word “Germany”, he could always type it on Google and check what that word means. He also isn’t interested with the fact that Pentagon could monitor everything he, or somebody else, is doing 24/7. Well, does he even know what Pentagon is?

The modern society is definitely in the middle of “electronic dictatorship” and “digital democracy”. While the youth have in their hands a possibility for breakthrough that their parent couldn’t dream of, that same internet, which is controlled by global centers of power, is monitoring every second of our lives and that contradicts with the elemental right of people, with privacy.  On this right, modern western civilization is based.

A recent research in UK, cradle of modern democracy, stated that their citizens are being monitored with more than 4 million cameras, this means that on average level there is one camera per 14 citizens, and that every visit to some internet site is just another way of getting information about some individual. Having in mind this research we could ask are self if we are living in a time where we must accept a concept of privacy that implies that privacy doesn’t exist.

In the last few years, western countries are working on a quiet suppression of civil privacy rights, and all this is a part of a fight against global terrorism. After the terrorist attack on New York, on September 11, 2001, Big Apple is slowly changing her name to Red Pepper because of many cameras that are monitoring the streets. Now, even internet is under heavy control. One of the last moves of British laburistic government was initiative for a law which controls internet flows to the measure that even ministers would have the right to block certain web pages. The British media called this a “silky loop of democracy” and some individuals are pointing out that internet as we know it now, is doomed to death. The totalistic countries are facing with less and less critics about their internet censorship, and west is dealing with ideas of using those methods in their own counties. In America, for example, two senators have suggested to Congress to allow president Obama right to call state of emergency and to shut down every internet network if it is in the interest of national security. Its like David Wood, a British expert on IT security, would say, we live in a society in which countries are hermetically sealing any access to data that are under their control, while in the same time, they want to find out as much as possible about their citizens.

To summarize, a modern individual is currently torn between the fact that we live in a world where making profile on Facebook is much more important than the country he lives in, dangers that the global terrorism is bringing, or to make love in his front yard without the fear it will be posted on the internet.

Despite the efforts of establishment and the centers of power to control the flows of internet, many theories which emerged in the last few years are saying that internet is the right path to complete democracy. Why? Because it allows a regular individual to engage himself much more directly in to the political life. Some extreme theories are predicting that one day, when complete digitalization occurs and everyone has a computer always by his side, everyone will be able to participate in decision-making, like in the village assemblies in the distant past.

Besides this utopia which is predicted by IT enthusiasts, the significance of further internet development is something we should all be encouraging. That is stating Mary Wolf, a former NBC producer and now a director of a computer center in one of Washington ghettos. For the last 15 years she is educating children in the neighborhood where no one has a college degree and where most kids are living without one or both parents, mostly on the edge of survival.

“I came to this place which is known about crime and I managed to build a computer center where kids could come after school instead of going out on the streets. They come here because they are able to see here, over the internet, that there is something else outside their gloom everyday life. Thanks to this I lived to watch how one of my students is receiving a college degree, nine years after his first visit to my center. He graduated  IT.” – she said.

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