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The Internet goes political in Andalucia

By Nick Nutter | 9 Jul 2019

I have been a convert to the Internet since the earliest days working on some of the first database based Internet search engines, serving on European committees to develop the Internet, working with the UK Information Technology National Training Organisation and the Department of Trade and Industry. In those days, through the 1990s, everybody in the industry believed the Internet was a ‘good thing’, allowing the free exchange of information anywhere in the world. That is what www meant, a world wide web.

Unfortunately, we were all naïve; computer technicians, software developers, communications service providers, politicians, all of us. We had not considered the criminal elements within society, political systems with a skewed view of ‘freedom’, terrorists and all the evil people in the world. We used to joke that if you wanted to see where the Internet technologies were going, you should keep an eye on the sex websites. They were the ones then that were generating vast amounts of income and developing their sites. Perhaps we should have realised that paedophiles and perverts would see an opportunity there to spread their networks. Perhaps measures should have been taken twenty years ago to restrict the type of information allowed on the net. But no, most of us thought, hoped, that existing laws were enough, and nothing was done. Mind you there was also increasing pressure from various liberal ‘rights’ and ‘freedom of speech’ groups to maintain a deregulated Internet, not to mention the dot com companies who were making fortunes, and significant tax revenue for, primarily, western, governments.

Nor did we realise that the Internet would permeate every aspect of life and allow even our own, ‘good’ politicians and the so-called free press, to contort and misrepresent facts to suit their own arguments or points of view.

Philosophising with hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it does not solve the problem.

Now most right-thinking people, that’s everybody apart from the criminals, terrorists, perverts and some politicians who still cannot get their facts straight, realise that measures have to be taken. The Internet will become regulated, of that there is no doubt. So now all we must worry about is how governments will use this opportunity to exert even more control over their citizens.

Do I sound bitter and cynical? Yes, I do and am. We had a fantastic opportunity to bring something good into the world, and we blew it.

Still, look on the bright side. It’s sunny and warm in Andalucia, the sky is blue, the beer is cold, and the sea looks inviting. What more could I ask for?

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