ISIS is winning.
Just as they are losing the battles on the ground they are about to win the battles of the minds.
We pesky Westerners have been free-thinking, free-speaking and free-voting people for two or three centuries. ISIS represents a re-evolved world-view where religious correctness supersedes political freedom eerily reminiscent of the Catholic Inquisition of the Middle Ages.
By playing on our supposed fears, by using random terror attacks, they have given our political leaders the freedom to curtail all our freedoms and impose a political and security regime which matches the wishes of those leading ISIS. Hate speech is also to be banned.
Therese May, Donald Trump and now Malcolm Turnbull are all promoting a scheme which will see Social Media, in all its forms, responsible for removing any content which relates to terrorists and their actions. Good! I hear you say. Terrorists should not be able to plan their attacks on the internet. Maybe not, but we should be aware of the unintended consequences.
Our leaders are calling for greater regulation and transparency on the internet. This is code for opening sites like Tor to Government inspection. Algorithms will be developed and the privacy of terrorists will be compromised. To find those terrorists, ALL the internet will need to be open to inspection. That includes all our internet dealings. Those passwords we use to do our banking, Our private dealings on the internet. All our opinions as expressed on the internet. And while we may not plan a terrorist attack, how long will it be before hate speech is re-defined to suit those in power?
That may all be good because we will eventually overcome the terror threat. Yet what is the definition of a terror threat? What is the definition of hate speech? That can be widened at some time in the future, possibly the near future, to include overthrowing an unpopular Government. Campaigning against a sitting Government. Legally overthrowing a Government. At the ballot box. Anyone campaigning against their previously elected Government could be accused of a form of terrorism or of hate speech. Leaders of Nations do not like losing their power.
That is where this move to regulate the internet and open it to Government inspection will inevitably lead. The algorithm will be tweaked to include this movement and then that movement and then the other movement. It is the creation of the algorithm in the first place which will set all this in motion.
Satirists, commentators, meme-makers, cartoonists will all be in the firing line, regardless of their political affiliations. Freedom will be lost. And those in charge of ISIS will cheer because they will have won.
Even then there is yet another inevitable danger. Every Government collection of the data of our lives has been hacked by criminals. Normally after they have gained access to secret Governmental data-mining programs. How much of the data collected from the soon to be ‘transparent’ internet will remain in Government hands?
How soon will that transparency be in the hands of those who wish us ill?