The Dissemination and Control of Information

1. The Internet

The Internet/ Web is by far the most nebulous form of media communications arena, and therefore is also the most difficult to control and contain. Many Governments have simply used Draconian Powers with which to shut down the Internet or restrict the user’s ability to ‘surf’ ( to look at whatever information, publication, media or other interests exist on the Web, without restriction) freely within a given Nation. China, for example, has, on numerous occasions blocked Google’s search engine from accessing material Chinese Authorities consider to be too sensitive or too politically controversial to allow being examined. Other Nations too have used a number of measures to restrict access to material that we, in Western Europe, the UK and the United States consider to be part of our accepted freedom. Whereas, certain countries within the Arabic Nations restrict access to information or media they consider to be “contrary or blashemous to the accepted (Koranic)  beliefs and morals of Islam and/or against the encumbent political authorities. ” Recently though, there has been a lot of talk about the need to ‘police’ the Internet – especially in the light of the World Wide Web being used by International Criminals and Terrorists.  However, it is at a local level, within the boundaries of supposedly Free and Democratic Countries that the greatest threats to all forms of freedom of speech and freedom of belief are being experienced. In the UK, the Government has started to use powers which can compel Internet Providers to hand over information and details about all manner of communications – in many ways, breaching their own Laws on Data Protection. They have also extended the Laws on Terrorism and what constitutes a Terrorist Action, by allowing the Security Services to effectively ‘spy’ on the UK users of the Internet. There are also plans being put forward to restrict Local (and therefore Global) access to Social Communication websites during times of Civil Unrest.. This is in direct contradiction to the behaviour the UK Government had towards the “Arab Spring” uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and (at present) Syria. It also means that, was there to ever be a Dictatorial Government in the UK – organizing opposition could not be made through Social Websites. Also, access to other websites hosting video, audio and other media would also be forbidden. This would make Government Dictatorship wholly incontravertible. It is hard to see how any UK Government could justify this approach. Even in the instance of the London Riots, the use of Social Websites has actually identified more rioters than CCTV alone. However, the freedom to oppose, criticize or protest against any political party or Government is being rapidly eroded by the use of  ‘Libel Laws.’

I will discuss this in more detail later, but for now – let us look at how the Internet is currently being controlled and contained.

Anonimity and the Intrusion of The State in matters of Personal Identity.

It seems that every time you wish to make a comment about something of interest to you, there is a requirement by websites to fill in your personal details. Even if the comment you wish to leave is innocuous – the same requirement is made by most websites. This has become more prevalent with Newspapers, who seem to require more information than even Social Websites. Why is this?

Simple: They want to know who you are, and as much as they can about you: whether to sell you things you don’t really want or just to have information (power) over you: they do not allow anonimity.

To be anonymous is now perceived to be a threat to some idea of National Security.

To be anonymous or to attempt to be anonymous is regarded as a crime.

This is surely a bizarre and curious accusation, because those who are  in danger of being persecuted for their beliefs, attacked for their viewpoints and opinions and even in mortal danger if they are identified should be allowed to be completely anonymous. Yet the Government (and it’s predecessor Labour Government under the Prime Ministership of Gordon Brown) has determined that this is no longer allowable.

And that anyone who attempts to remain anonymous  has “something to hide..”

Yet: the truth is that, anyone who intends to breach National Security and carry out an act (or acts) of Terrorism will do so, irrespective of any information carried about their Identity.

The only true safe guards are those which are carried out covertly by Government, Armed Forces and the Security Services.

Indeed, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland – those suspected of Terrorism were subject to Diplock Courts, which consisted of  three UK Court of Appeal Judges, Prosecution and Defence Barristers, but no Jury. Each of these cases were heard in camera – that is, in seclusion from Press and Media. This was to “preserve the anonimity of those witnesses and members of the Armed Services and Security Services.” (ie MI5)

There is an increasingly irrational fear associated with anonimity – a fear which has been systemmatically connived at and profited by the Government, Police and the Security Services.

  1. Government  fears any and all anonymous opposition.

2.  Government  fears  any and all anonymous activism.

3.  Government  fears  any and all  hidden  identities that are not controlled or containable by the Government or the Security Services.

nb: Yet there are many who work within the Government who are anonymous to the Public, who did not vote for or appoint any of them. There are few who have even heard of the Chief Whip – yet, the most anonymous man in Government has immense power and he has never been voted for by anyone.. This extends to the thousands of Civil Servants who attend to the Government Idealogues who remain ‘faceless’.

During the last Labour Government there was a lot of fear fomented about Terrorism. The events of  The World Trade Center  on 11th September 2001 and The London Bombings on July 7th 2005 acted as a pursuasive argument to tighten the Laws on Terrorism. This lead to a raft of badly drafted and enacted Laws which did little to reduce the threat of  Terrorism, but only served to curb the freedoms enjoyed by British Citizens.

Then the ‘issue’ of Identity ‘theft’ on the Internet by international criminal syndicates became prevalent, and the Government tried to find a way to prevent it from spreading.                 Their ideas centred around “more information” being carried around, rather than already existing information being structurally reinforced.

In 2006 Prime Minister Gordon Brown launched his campaign to have Biometric Identity Cards (www.biometricidentitycards.info/articles/biometric_identity_cards.html)  imposed upon the British Public. Most of the arguments against such Identification Cards were about the overall cost- to- benefit ratio. By 2007 Brown and the Labour Government had been defeated in their aims.

2. The Media and Press

Many of the Newspapers we read belong to huge (yet largely “invisible”) Corporations, and many of the Titles of the different papers belong to the same corporation. News International – owned by Australian billionaire, Rupert Murdoch [and currently under investigation by the Leveson Inquiry into “Phone Hacking” at the now defunct paper, The News of The World. ] actually owns far more of the familiar UK Newspapers than might have been thought. These include – The Sun, The Daily Star, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express , The Times and Financial Times – all of which have so far,  not yet been investigated. This vast array of Newspaper titles are responsible for the dissemination of news information, political reportage, alleged ‘public opinion’ and a huge variety of other forms of news, – all of whom strive to portray a different identity, and all of whom are beholden to the same owners, senior management, shareholders and financiers. It is through these ‘political organs’ of dissemination that Government is able to repeat their policies and political ideologies, until, almost like a mantra, they can become embedded within the subconscious of the population. It is no small consequence that ‘politicized’ Newspapers are able to overwhelm (and therefore drown-out) dissenting, antagonistic or opposing viewpoints and comments, while appearing to give the impression that they carry the nation’s political and ideological consensus.

(more to follow…)

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