Sit, Markie! Waaaait… Now fetch the private data! Good boy!
Ronald Reagan famously remarked that the most frightening sentence in the English language was, ‘Hello, I’m from the government and I’m here to help’. The obvious rejoinder has been Shang-haied over the years, but is attributed to actor-producer Martin Gabel in 1945, addressing an actress in a stage play who had a tendency to fidget when it was not her line; Don’t just do something, stand there.
But these niceties aside, we have discovered, to our horror, an even more petrifying sentence in the pages of Leftist yawnfest The Atlantic;
‘Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures’.
Don’t you just know where this is going?
In a feature about the upside of COVID-19 – and for the Left the virus is all their Christmases, sorry, Eids, at once - The Pratlantic has found a definite reason to always look on the bright side of life;
‘The world has faced pandemics before, but this time we have a new superpower: the ability to gather and share data for good’.
Notice the clever wording? ‘For good’ has two meanings. We’ll let you join the semantic dots. If this was a statement by one of The Atcontrick’s resident, latte-slurping interns, we would have simply shaken our heads and passed on. It was not. Gentle reader, it is the wisdom of one Mark ‘could do better, Mrs. Merkel’ Zuckerberg.
The opening paragraph to the Wanklantic feature, Internet Speech Will Never Go Back to Normal, is worth quoting in full, in case you are bored with dystopian novels by Orwell, Huxley and Zemyatin;
‘COVID-19 has emboldened tech platforms to emerge from their defensive crouch. Before the pandemic, they were targets of public outrage over life under their dominion. Today, the platforms are proudly collaborating with one another, and following government guidance, to censor harmful information relating to the coronavirus. And they are using their prodigious data-collection capacities, in collaboration with federal and state governments, to improve contact tracing, quarantine enforcement, and other health measures. (The rest of the first para is the Schnookerberg quote).’
Note the cheery, happy-days-are-here-again tone (‘following government guidance’. Huzzah!). Note also the bald statement that big-tech was in a ‘defensive crouch’ before Vinnie the Virus breezed into Vegas. We would hate to see what an aggressive stance in banning anyone politically to the right of Alexandria Ocovido-Cortez would look like. Tiananmen Square with laptops instead of tanks is one scenario.
The article strides confidently on, gathering not the darling buds of May, but your data;
‘In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the USA largely wrong’.
Zoinks, Scooby Doo! There were we thinking that while America had a centuries-old First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech, China has been working on a social credit system which watches your social media behavior and, if you don’t say ‘Dear Reader wunnafaw!’ 50 times a day, no tickets to the theatre for you or your family.
Look, we could do this all day but it is, as St. Iggy of Pop once sang, like hypnotizing chickens.
A lot of the Left are loving this. Those brown people you have seen in shithole countries ending in -stan, whipping the backs of the legs of those outdoors? There are purple-haired, nose-ringed lezzers in London who will be queuing for jobs like that if this keeps up.
All right, one more, just for those of you who were having a halfway decent day;
‘The harms [sic] from digital speech will also continue to grow, as will speech controls on these networks. And invariably, government involvement will grow. At the moment, the private sector is making most of the important decisions, though often under government pressure. But as Zuckerberg has pleaded, the firms may not be able to regulate speech legitimately without heavier government guidance and involvement. It is also unclear whether, for example, the companies can adequately contain foreign misinformation and prevent digital tampering with voting mechanisms without more government surveillance.’
Information technology and its kid brother social media combine to create the perfect sucker punch, a Trojan horse containing very bad people with very bad ideas. Hey, kids! Contact anyone! Send crazy pics! Have fun, fun, fun till Big Brother takes your freedoms away. And The Twatlantic celebrates, probably hoping for a role in the future Pravda the online press will become.
Why do we leave our information with people we wouldn’t leave our kids with?
Photo credit - Elaine and Priscilla Chan