Significant change is coming to our internet. It is about to be tamed. We know that Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter and other tech behemoths were maliciously used by Russia, or Russia’s cut-outs, to help elect the U.S. president they wanted. Apparently, three million more Clinton over Trump votes was what we wanted. Nevertheless, we were had, super big time, by a nemeses eager to weaken us.
According to cyber experts, and political leaders, this gross social media invasion will happen again in our midterms and certainly in the 2020 presidential election. A swelling number of election officials across the country are enhancing their electoral databases and voting machines. But this is only a hardware defense. How do you prevent a covert invasion of, and by, social media? What do you imagine will be done to block this unprecedented intrusion and blatant manipulation of our electoral process? The path ahead looks predictable. Try this.
Remember that Facebook initially denied there were any intrusions into their systems and were negative about opening up their proprietary systems for a look-see. That did not play well.
Next step: the technology companies finally yielded and will certainly make an honest attempt to ferret out foreign manipulations and take command of their bus the muggers ride in on. It will not work. It is simply not that simple. Certainly not as simple as Twitter suspending a Weinstein accuser’s account for violating its rules…because she tweeted a personal phone number.
It is also not simple because net neutrality means just that. Everyone on the internet is an equal player which means that the internet is the purest form of democracy in action. You may recall from history class that our founding fathers did not want, nor design, a pure democracy. They created a representative form, a government that is of, and for, the people but not actually by all the people. Instead, it is run by representatives we elect to the U.S. congress. They get to do to the actual governing.
Next step. Congress will do what they often do when stymied by systemic irregularities like this: they regulate.
It won’t be too long before they pass something like The Internet Protection Act. Opponents will call it the The Web Wacker War. Tech companies will object. Consumers will march. Politicians will grouse until they realize the same foreign social media manipulation can happen to them too.
The final step. Our wide-open, unfettered, purely democratic internet will be gone as we know it. Just as Congress regulates our broadcast industries with guidelines, rules and restrictions prohibiting violence, foul language and explicit sex, the web will be officially regulated and harnessed.
The next step? The broadcast industry was regulated back in 1934. It took 80 years for cable television to smash those regulations and give us back our unfettered violence, foul language and sexually explicit television.
How long do you think it will take for us to return to the untamed, unfettered and sexually explicit internet as we know it?