aNewDomain.net – In 2010 Eric Schmidt wrote an article for Foreign Policy magazine stating, “The advent and power of connection technologies — tools that connect people to vast amounts of information and to one another — will make the twenty-first century all about surprises. Governments will be caught off-guard when large numbers of their citizens, armed with virtually nothing but cell phones, take part in mini-rebellions that challenge their authority. For the media, reporting will increasingly become a collaborative enterprise between traditional news organizations and the quickly-growing number of citizen journalists.”
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Despite knowing this, we the people are caught off guard, and this rosy view of democracy in action does not match reality.
Google finds itself between a rock and a hard place, as a writer in the Guardian defined it. Will Google serve the state or the citizen/user of its services? Google prides itself on its fight against foreign totalitarian governments, but now finds itself collaborating in a PRISM total watch program. This is a convergence of corporate power and government power. The ability to cross-check all commercial and personal communication metadata is a master stroke for Big Brother, and it is effective. When Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are forced to collaborate with the national security state, we remain powerless. The optimistic view that connectivity leads to more democracy, and “No Evil” can happen needs to be revised by Silicon Valley masters.
You can buy a Police state 2.0 these days, says Schmidt in a January 2013 Harvard presentation. The assumption being it will happen somewhere over the ocean, not here. If US citizens do not hold Obama accountable this 2.0 version could happen here and now. Dismantling a sophisticated spying power structure is a massive citizens’ effort which will not happen overnight. Pressure on information technology companies, making them more transparent, is a mission that counters their tech corporate optimism.
The Schmidt speech at Harvard in 2013 had this to say:
For citizens, coming online means coming into possession of multiple identities in the physical and virtual worlds. In many ways, their virtual identities will come to supersede all others, as the trails they leave remain engraved online in perpetuity. And because what we post, email, text, and share online shapes the virtual identities of others, new forms of collective responsibility will have to come into effect.”
The coalition of the titans mentioned above wants to merge all our identities.
update from today is a total denial by Google chief lawyer.
See Schmidt’s rosy connectivity presentation at Harvard January 2013.
Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At aNewDomain.net, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him at DavidMc@aNewDomain.net.