Theresa May pledges to create new internet that would be controlled and regulated by government

Image result for theresa May Internet regulations

A plurality of views and perspectives is a fundamental ingredient of a flourishing democracy. Freedom of speech is a prerequisite of an inclusive, genuine democracy. When a government tries to stifle some perspectives, and control which views may be expressed or permitted online, it’s an indication that we have left democracy behind, and strayed into the realms of authoritarianism.

If Theresa May gets to form a new government next month, then it would appear that the Conservatives will be attempting a regulatory land grab of the Internet. But, if the Conservatives’ digital record is anything to go by, its pledge to negotiate an “international settlement” and be a “global leader” for an incredibly complex area of Internet and data law looks, frankly, like the stuff of dystopian movies about totalitarian regimes. I suspect the phrase “digital crime” is set to take on a whole new meaning. 

May is planning to introduce far-reaching regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online. Much of the internet is currently controlled by private businesses like Google and Facebook, Theresa May intends to allow government to decide what is and isn’t published, the manifesto strongly suggests.

I’m all for an internet environment that is safe and free from harassment and bullying. However, we already have legislation in place to ensure that it is.

The proposed laws would also force technology companies to delete anything that a person posted when they were under 18.

 The companies would be forced to help controversial government schemes like its Prevent strategy, by promoting “counter-extremist narratives”.

It seems that this is a Conservative reaction to the EU Digital Single Market Project.
It’s aim is “to create a true digital single market, where the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured — and where citizens and businesses can seamlessly and fairly access online goods and services: whatever their nationality, and wherever they live.” (Commission Press Release May 2015).

The new EU digital single market legislative package seeking to improve cross-border access to digital services and create a level playing field for companies will be launched in 2015. The Commission will also seek to complement the regulatory telecommunications environment, modernise EU legislation on copyright and audio-visual media services, simplify the rules for consumers making online purchases, and enhance cyber-security. This ambitious agenda includes concluding the long-running negotiations over data protection reform.

As my friend Hubert Huzzah has pointed out, the European Single Digital Market will make it difficult to defraud people, and importantly,  it will the Election manipulation in the form of  “we are just advertising on Facebook” strategies worthless.

The Conservative plans are in keeping with the Conservatives’ commitment that the online world must be regulated and controlled as strongly as the offline one, and that the same rules should apply in both.

“Our starting point is that online rules should reflect those that govern our lives offline,” the Conservatives’ manifesto says, in justification for the new level of regulation. 

In laying out its plan for increased regulation, the so-called “small state” Tories anticipate and reject potential criticism that such rules could put people at risk.

“While we cannot create this framework alone, it is for government, not private companies, to protect the security of people and ensure the fairness of the rules by which people and businesses abide,” the document reads. “Nor do we agree that the risks of such an approach outweigh the potential benefits.”

Tucked away at the end of the Conservative’s manifesto, it’s clear that May wants to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works:

“We will take up leadership in a new arena, where concern is shared around the world: we will be the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the Internet.”

Among the new self -appointed powers proposed, the government intends to force internet companies to remove “explicit” or “extremist material”, backed by legal power to impose fines.

This is a government that has labeled disability campaigners  “extremists” and fully endorsed the media labeling of those in standing in democratic opposition to Conservative policies as “saboteurs”.

The Conservatives say “Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet.  We disagree.”

The Conservatives are claiming this proposal is part of an ambitious attempt by the party to impose some sort of “decorum” on the internet and social media.

Senior Conservatives have also confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the phrasing indicates that the government intends to introduce huge restrictions on what people can post, share and publish online.

The plans will allow Britain to become “the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet”, the manifesto claims.

Internet imperialism, how very Conservative.

There are many proposed measures in the manifesto that are designed to make it easier to do business online, of course, but the Conservatives are proposing a rather more oppressive approach when it comes to social networks.

One particular issue that caught my eye was the Conservative’s voiced “concerns about online news”, warning the government is willing to “take steps to protect the reliability and objectivity of information that is essential to our democracy”, while pledging to “ensure content creators are appropriately rewarded for the content they make available online”.  

One Tory source clarified that this comment relates to Google and Facebook’s growing dominance of the advertising market, which the newspaper industry believes is crushing its business model. The source suggested that if the web giants failed to act voluntarily then they could be forced by legislation to find ways to financially compensate traditional news producers.

Implications for social media

So, the Conservatives will also seek to regulate the kind of news that is posted online and how companies are paid for it.

This may have some potentially serious implications for the growing number of online independent media platforms that have developed precisely because of an undemocratic crisis of representation in our mainstream media, which has increasingly become an unreliable source of objective news, generally. 

Independent media includes any form of autonomous media project that is free from institutional dependencies, and in particular, from the influence of government and corporate interests.

We are not constrained by the interests of society’s major power-brokers. So far. 

I haven’t forgotten Iain Duncan Smith’s pledge to “monitor” the BBC’s news coverage for “left wing bias”, or the jackbooted government officials visiting the Guardian offices to smash the hard drives containing the Snowden leaks. This doesn’t signal a coming improvement if it is to be based on Tory standards of “objective and reliable”. 

The manifesto also says that the government will work even harder to ensure there is no “safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online”. That is apparently a reference in part to its work to encourage technology companies to build backdoors into their encrypted messaging services – which gives the government the ability to read terrorists’ messages, but also weakens the security of everyone else’s messages, technology companies have warned.

The proposals follow on from the Investigatory Powers Act being passed into law. That legislation allowed the government to force internet companies to keep records on their customers’ browsing histories, as well as giving ministers the power to break apps like WhatsApp so that messages can be read.

Imagine a future when the only online reflection of reality is a Conservative one. Antisocial media.

“In every really great world-shaking movement, propaganda will first have to spread the idea of this movement. Thus, it will indefatigably attempt to make the new thought processes clear to the others, and therefore to draw them over to their own ground, or to make them uncertain of their previous conviction.

Now, since the dissemination of an idea, that is, propaganda, must have a firm backbone, the doctrine will have to give itself a solid organization. The organization obtains its members from the general body of supporters won by propaganda. The latter will grow the more rapidly, the more intensively the propaganda is carried on, and the latter in turn can work better, the stronger and more powerful the organization is that stands behind it.” Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf.

Hitler’s promise of “strong government and stability” was widely supported particularly by industrialists and businesses, who were terrified of the left wing unions, socialism and communism.

A lot of people describe Theresa May as a New Right Conservative, some have been misled by her semantic shifts and claimed she is a “red Tory”. However, it seems she is more of an old right wing authoritarian, after all.

The stuff of nightmares.

 


 

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38 thoughts on “Theresa May pledges to create new internet that would be controlled and regulated by government

  1. Despite tenacious attempts to flog a dead horse, it seems the Hegelian dialectic is alive and well in the Tory party.

    Wait … is she … could she be ….
    Nooooooooooooooooo
    Surely not
    … is she doing the YMCA dance there?

    YES, yes I believe she is!

    Actually that’s probably apt as that’s where I’ll likely end up living(if I’m lucky) under this crypto-fascist regime. Well that or an internment camp for political opponents.

    And having lived in one already, I can tell you that the song is a dirty lie and it is not fun to stay in the YMCA. It’s ####### terrifying.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Conservatives seek to impose despair, oppression and poverty for the many in their manifesto. Contrast this with Labour’s offering of hope and a way forward to a brighter and fairer society for all

    Liked by 2 people

  3. How can that happen? The government doesn’t own the internet and this isn’t North Korea. We have some rights that are unbreakable also I don’t think internet providers would be thrilled because they would lose customers, look what happened to the snoopers bill, doesn’t it sound familiar?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on wgrovedotnet and commented:
    Govt. will have the power to silence opposition, stop leaks exposing corruption within the party, silence dissent wherever govt. lies and propaganda conflict with the truth and make George Orwells Bog Brother in 1984 look like a poor relation. This is totalitarianism heading the way of Hitler’s Third Reich. We, the masses, will have our every word scritinized and if not supporting her Party’s dictatorship, censored. It will be like walking in the dark, with only those who conform with State sponsored double speak, being allowed to have their voices heard. If the Tories win, we can kiss good bye to freedom of speech and the right to peaceful assembly. Next will be the banning of undesired literature and multiple arrests and limitless detentions/fines(another way to fund their excesses in their uncosted manifesto) then on to State Enforcement rather than public policing. This Govt. policing of the internet is just the tip of the iceberg. Complete dictatorship is just beyond the horizon – then will come the uprising and riots of the peasant revolt, probably crushing them by using Bungling Boris’ water cannons.

    Like

  5. “Theresa May pledges to create new internet that would be controlled and regulated by government – Real Media – The News You Don’t See” you forgot to add “and won’t see if May’s plan succeeds.”

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  6. That speech she gave in Downing Street hours after the London Bridge attack was clearly prepared in advance and delivered on a day when the media and Labour were politically silenced. Funny how the security services dropped the ball twice during the campaign….I wonder..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “One particular issue that caught my eye was the Conservative’s voiced “concerns about online news”, warning the government is willing to “take steps to protect the reliability and objectivity of information that is essential to our democracy”, ” – This sounds like over here (America) with this “fake news” thing. In the latest NDAA, they added something in there that gives the Department of Justice and I forget who else, authority to look over news and let us all know if it’s fake or not. I’m not expecting a great deal of honesty there.

    Another thing I wanted to point out. That picture you put up of Theresa May. That slogan. I mean, David Cameron comes out with “Better Together”, then Hillary Clinton comes out with “Stronger Together”, and now Theresa May comes out with, “Forward Together”. Did they all attend the same meeting? Great article, by-the-way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Yes what the US have, the UK share, including strategists, slogans and a loathing of legitimate criticism. Seems the right on both sides of the Atlantic have forgotten what “democracy” means and have opted for the authoritarian-> totalitarian spectrum of administrative style.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well the MIC(Military Industrial Complex) yanks can continue to be wanks and keep their tanks. Hopefully, because we are a smaller country than the US we can have grass roots movements quicker and easier than those US citizens trying to make a difference through collective dissent. That’s no guarantee that democracy in the UK will prevail, but if we do, then it will perhaps give power to the people over in the US.The proles will have to stand together or lie back and let the ruling “class” walk all over them, only they can stop the dictatorial measures being applied retrospectively for wrong actions of the past.

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