Monday, February 21, 2011

An Internet Switch

I was reading several articles about the goings on in the world where big changes were done on the political scene via Facebook and some other social media sites.

In Tunisia the change of the government was started by a sold lone fruit vendor who had his local bureaucrat impound his scale so he could no longer sell fruit, in turn could no longer feed his family on the ten dollars a day he made.

Seems he needed a permit for it, but as the story went it was basically a strong arm to extort money.

He had enough.

He went to the city offices and protested and set himself on fire.

Wow.....that's a statement. I have often thought of the glamor of finding a tank and driving up into the local building department enforcement office, but never taking a gasoline shower with a match for the drying cycle.
He is now a dead hero.
Tunisia is/has a new government and several other countries are doing the same thing.

Egypt for one.

This would not have been possible without the Internet and lots of students with links to Facebook.
But there is a threat to all of this.
They did use it in Egypt.
On - Off Switch.
The current Obama Administration has indicated they would yank the switch should anything like that happen, in the interest of National Security.

Just when you think there is a great way to communicate, get the news from the world, send and receive emails and photos, audio and video files......
Someone is holding the power to let you share information, in the information age.

If the net went down, we no longer have the same infrastructure that we did 50 years ago, where we recieve our news. I don't know about you, but I get about 75% of my new fix via this medium.
When I stared in broadcasting back in the 60's, the only news source we had at the radio station was a model 28 teletype machine, fed with a huge box of yellow paper....

There are no more Associated Press, United Press International machines chinking and clinking in a special room with occasional bells that signified an important alert.

When the net goes down.....that's it.
The whole world now releys on the net, accept for some small village served by the Amazon River Transportation Cooperative.......
There has been a lot of controversy about Net Neutrality, wanting to keep Government out of the Internet.
I have not read what Mexico's position is on the regulation of the Internet, so I really can't see much action be necessitated by any local happenings.
The only question is that I am pretty sure that the majority of the connections Mexico does get come from the Texas connections.
I just can see Mexico relying on connectivity from their neighbors from the south...
I just hope that somehow the Internet remains open, free and accessible.

I don't know how you feel about the Wiki-leaks situation from about a month ago, but that kind of freedom and dissemination of information is probably the only way that free societies will be able to remain.

Nix on censorship.

But that's just my opinion.............


JerryL said...

Since the switch is not a physical item, I am sure that there are devoted hackers that have already tackled the issue.
One can hope.

Calypso said...

There are private networks popping up everywhere. If the big was gets taken down something will rise up out of the ashes.

It is hard to squash the human spirit.

Felipe said...

I, on the other hand, believe in censorship. But where to draw the line, and who's to do it? Ah, there's the rub.

Steve Cotton said...

I am not a Luddite, but I find it strange that the more advanced we become technoligally, the less we are able to rekly on our own resources. You mountain men have retained more survival skills than we city folk.

Don Cuevas said...

If the Net were turned off more than 24 hours, they'd have to come and get me with big butterfly nets and a funny jacket.

Don Cuevas

Tancho said...

Jerry, one can only home that the hackers will not allow much to happen....
Calypso...private networks still need to be connected, hopefully those will not be shut down, hopefully....
Felipe, the problem with censorship is exactly what you state...who and how creates the standard?
Steve, there is something to be said for turning the clock back a few hundred years to rely on each other more so than today...but living in this time does have some advantages, but disadvantages also...
Don would we ever know that you were ready for the funny farm if the email and instant messaging was down?
Connectivity is one of the reasons I keep my options open, I still own a shortwave analog radio.....

Anonymous said...

Amateur radio still works just fine. In fact it can even connect to the internet in a different country, at least for email.

Once again good 20th century technology works when newer breaks down.