Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to analog: The end of the Internet = typewriter redux

A couple of years ago I published the following article:

“Killing the Thing You Love: Predator Drones, Wilful Neglect and the End of the Internet,” International Journal of Knowledge, Technology and Society, Vol 8, Issue 1: 153-166.

At that time, armed drones were new and marked a deeply disturbing trend in the use of Internet technologies. The drones were using the telecommunication infrastructure that had been created by the US Government and then privatized. With the US military in charge, the drones were annihilating opponents of the US and innocent civilians. To me this amounted to abuse of the infrastructure, as well as an abuse of legal systems. The law in most places does not allow for summary executions without a judicial procedure. Drones killed with the movement of a joystick and the push of a button by unnamed military personnel safe on US soil. 

To me, drones marked the end of the Internet - at least as it had been imagined. 

My ruminations were accurate, prophetic perhaps. My analysis we have witnessed the end of the Internet has now achieved confirmation status with the news that the German Government and apparently the Russian Government are using typewriters for communicating securely. Why? Because the National Security Administration sees and hacks everything, as do other nations' security agencies. (This is at the planning stage in Germany). Typewriter redux marks the material end point of the Internet, if the report from The Guardian is to be believed.  end of the internet v 2

The forcefulness of securitization by national powers large and small has led to this. The full scale global circulation of information is at an end. With the Internet, it was hoped that knowledge would be freer and more spirited in the way it offered resources for human betterment. By that I do not mean that human beings would realise their potential with more consumption. Unfortunately, consumption seems to be the handmaiden of securitization: buy more stuff while experiencing more security.

Or to put it another way: the end result is Internet pleasure generating more consumption which offers more granulated information to security agencies: both commercial and public. 

Typewriters are back. All those ones sitting on bookshelves behind writers being interviewed on television will need to be dusted off, carbon ribbons found, machine oil purchased and off we go - clak-clak-claketty-clak. 

With drones and securitization, is there any hope for the Internet?