Communication in the internet age (and 2) | Luis Britto Garcia


What role do internet varieties serve? In principle, the utopia of converting the receiver into the transmitter. Towards the last third of the XNUMXth century, Marshall Mc Luhan proclaimed that the media had transformed the world into a global village. It was a village, yes, but of recipients, that is to say, of subjects. They received ideas, fashions, and models from the hegemonic centers, participating in them only as a touch of local color or curiosity. This situation was repeated in each country: the parochial elite broadcast, the masses received. The Internet temporarily opened the possibility that anonymous being was listened to. It soon became clear that the isolated individual had no chance against the big content manufacturers. As interesting as their reporting was, they couldn't compete with CNN's news machine. As hilarious as their posts were, they didn't stand a chance against the big entertainment billers.


The so-called social networks took advantage of this failure. The dissolution of extended families and the concentration of the population in megacities where no one knew their neighbors created the opportunity to revive village gossip through computerized means. Vance Packard pointed out that it was enough to look at our telephone books to verify that in the midst of the enormous urban concentrations we continued to organize ourselves into tribes of a few dozen. Social media reinstated these village clans with computerized means, with the added advantage of avoiding direct personal contact. From one neighborhood to another, from one city to another, from one country to a different continent, we exchange minute by minute trivialities, aphorisms, gossip, false self-images to form computer kin without consequences, which we can erase as soon as they become annoying. Sometimes these ghost clubs turn into addictive group therapies that exchange insults, sometimes into ravenous monsters that consume the time available for life. Everything except reality.


Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, says Lord Acton's aphorism a thousand times quoted. Endowed with the immeasurable power that the Internet confers on them, network operators soon become legislators, executors and ultimately censors of their users. Thus, they establish vetoes and arbitrary codes not voted on by anyone against certain organizations, people or messages. In the postal services, such abusive conduct was only permitted in the case of criminal investigations authorized by a judicial body or of restrictive measures of strategic information during a war. Network operators claim the right to perpetrate it on their own initiative, on any content and at any time. Thus, we have seen messages and pages of individuals, organizations, and even the president of the United States erased from cyberspace. I do not agree with what you say, but I would give my life to defend your right to say it, claimed Voltaire. I do not agree with what you say, therefore you do not exist, says the internet operator. In the computerized world, exclusion from the internet is the new ostracism; an exile that does not exclude a single country, but the world.


Computer networks and their operators, like capitalists, transfer control of an economic fact to that of a political fact in such a way, transferring the autocracy they exercise within the networks to the outside world. Thus, they legislate, decide on the application of their laws and execute decisions themselves in an unusual case of accumulation of powers. All would be lost, Montesquieu said, if a single man or a single assembly gathered the power to give the laws, interpret them, and execute them. The networks choose governments through the analysis of big data, which allows sending messages multiplied by boots with personalized fake news according to the wishes, fears and phobias of each sector of the electorate. Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and surely Joe Biden were elected thanks to such tricks. The networks seek to overthrow governments through hate campaigns that do not admit a response: many have been overthrown by color revolutions sponsored by them. The networks outlaw everyone who uses them for their true purpose, which is to disseminate information. The perpetual exile Edward Snowden, the perpetual prisoner Julian Assange are evidences and warnings of this.


All social control becomes political control. The unusual concentration of powers inside and outside the networks is a fait accompli that has been imposed almost without resistance. We would have qualms about being part of a country, a club or a party in which we do not have a vote to elect leaders and guide their policies. But we are subjects of supranational social and antisocial networks run by anonymous, about whose decisions and operations we have no news or the right to claim, and who seek to exercise full rights over our data and our creations. By the number of their vassals, they exceed that of many of the nation-states; Because of their global reach, they avoid the territoriality that places them under the police and their courts. On the networks and internet an absolutism infinitely more irresponsible and perpetual is established than that of the old monarchies of divine right.


This unusual concentration of powers is a fact that future revolutions will have to correct. Perhaps the time has come for a new Rousseau to proclaim the subversive doctrine that the sovereignty of the networks always resides in the user; that the latter cannot assign it, transfer it or voluntarily become a slave or data of its operators because madness does not confer rights. For a new Marx to verify that the expropriated information tends to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and that the time has come for the expropriated to expropriate the expropriators. Only free information will open the doors to the kingdom of freedom.


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