Is either a wonderful thing or a nightmare, depending on who you are.
Anyone who follows Bishop Hill or WUWT will know about the long running saga of Tony Newbery vs the BBC. For those who haven’t heard, it concerns a FOI request he submitted to find out the attendees at a meeting in 2006 to to formulate policy on climate change. The Beeb have been fighting tooth and nail to stop this information getting out, culminating in a High Court ruling which sided with the BBC.
Now, thanks to some amazing investigative work, the list has been revealed – it was out there all along. Although clumsy efforts had been made to remove it, The Wayback Machine found a copy. You can read all about it at Bishop Hill.
This clearly shows (as if any more evidence were needed) that the BBC is corrupt to the core, and is a perfect example of the internet giving “power to the people”, as Citizen Smith would say.
However, whilst reading the comments at Maurizio Morabito (who blogs as “Omnologos”) – the man who published the list, I was alarmed to see a reference to an “Internet Kill Switch”. This has been talked about for some time, and many wise people have said it can’t be done for a number of technical reasons. But the link given leads to a site called “The Watchers” which I hadn’t heard of.
This notes that the
United Nations body, International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has asked for the kill switch to the internet, leaving cyberspace subject to political control and constant monitoring.
And further informs us that
A draft of the proposal, formulated in secret and only recently posted on the ITU website for public perusal, reveal that if accepted, the changes would allow government restriction or blocking of information disseminated via the internet and create a global regime of monitoring internet communications – including the demand that those who send and receive information identify themselves. It would also allow governments to shut down the internet if there is the belief that it may interfere in the internal affairs of other states or that information of a sensitive nature might be shared.
Just imagine a world where the BBC story above could not be investigated. Or the Global Warming scam had not been uncovered. As I’ve mentioned before, I used to be a regular shortwave listener back in the early 80′s. At that time the Iron Curtain was still up, and broadcasts from Western countries were frequently jammed. This wasn’t entirely successful due to the nature of radio propagation. Now consider if all non-approved content was either blocked, or every access recorded and perpetrators followed up by the authorities. I know the Chinese government has a restrictive firewall in place, and that too can be circumvented with the right know how. But they are a communist regime, and no “free” Western government would ever think of trying something similar, would they…
Yet in today’s paper I read of the Leveson enquiry into press censorship, and how John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons, Culture, Media & Sport Committee warns against going down this slippery road. Call me a cynic, but there are already lots of small attempts at controlling what we can do on the internet. In the last year the film and music industry have become very good at getting material removed, and the campaign for net filtering to protect children from porn is showing no signs of going away. All of these are ways to test the water, and try out technology without the masses really knowing what’s going on. Give it 5 years and I think the internet will be a very different place – 10 years and I doubt we will recognise it.
Use it while you can…