Celebrating 25 years of his brainchild the world-wide web – Tim Berners-Lee called for the creation of a Magna Carta of the internet to protect the openness and freedom it gives.
On hearing this I had a classic cartoon moment. Two versions of me one on each shoulder – the optimist and the cynic.
The optimist was the first to react. He said.
“The genie is out the bottle now. It has grown too big for the state to get any control over. What is more people have grown used to the freedom now – they will not let it be taken back from them lightly.”
The cynic laughed.
“Don’t you believe it. It will be put back in the bottle trust me. And the people will demand it. Just you wait and see! All it will take are a few well planned attacks. A few high-profile cyber hack or breaches that instil enough fear. Maybe a bank will lose all of its customers money overnight? Millions of people suddenly poor and with no recourse! Pile on a few power grid shut downs, a few deaths in hospitals due to hacking attacks, a few high profile identity thefts resulting in wrongful arrests and the fear factor will ratcheted up. A campaign by the Daily Mail and then the vocal minority will be hollering for the government to take control.
“And lo and behold – they will have this law – just laying in the draw – ready to react.
“Have the last twenty years taught us nothing. Every riot, every murder, every terrorist attack was followed a few weeks later with a new law passed to ‘tackle the threat’. Did we really believe that could write new laws that quick?
“Just watch, bit by bit, horror by horror, they will get us to demand they make us safe and sound – and controlled”
I fear the cynic is correct. Lets us see.