“The unintended consequence of making [the Internet] available to the masses is that it grants to individuals the unprecedented ability to organize themselves. The dilemma for the authorities is that the roots and branches of the Internet have become so intertwined into every aspect of the social infrastructure that, unlike a newspaper or television station, it is now impossible to limit the Internet’s empowerment of the masses without at the same time diminishing the communication system they themselves can no longer live without.” — The Coming Global Coalescence, page 42, print edition.
“When the powerful world of old media mobilized to win passage of an online antipiracy bill, it marshaled the reliable giants of K Street – the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Recording Industry Association of America and, of course, the motion picture lobby, with its new chairman, former Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat and an insider’s insider. Yet on Wednesday this formidable old guard was forced to make way for the new as Web powerhouses backed by Internet activists rallied opposition to the legislation through Internet blackouts and cascading criticism, sending an unmistakable message to lawmakers grappling with new media issues: Don’t mess with the Internet.” — New York Times, Jan. 19, front page.
If one needed any further evidence that it has become dangerous to try to “mess with the Internet,” it was revealed during the final debate of the four remaining candidates vying for the nomination of the Republican party in the coming election for president. When asked for their opinion of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) in the Senate, all four expressed opposition, in defiance of the efforts of their natural supporters. As far as the Internet is concerned, this is a game changer. They have obviously come to the conclusion that the Internet and its freedom of information culture has been so embraced by the public that it would now be political suicide to try to limit it. But at the same time, it is the free dissemination of information that is advancing the continued exposure of how the political system works that will in the end prove to be the exposure and the downfall of the political culture. For politicians, this is an excellent example of being “on the horns of a dilemma.” Whether they fight against the Internet or support it, they are doomed.
Chris Parker sings “The #SOPA #PIPA Protest Song”