Saturday, August 08, 2009

Cyberspace - The Russians, a Bishop, and Murdoch

Following my thought on Samuel Pepys and blogs, I notice a number of diverse reports on the use of the internet recently. Thus today's Independent newspaper front page news proclaims that:

Russian hackers have been accused of being behind an enormous cyber attack which temporarily shut down two of the world's most popular social networking sites in order to silence a Georgian blogger who is critical of Moscow's policies in the Caucasus.

Twitter went offline for several hours on Thursday whilst Facebook and Livejournal suffered major slowdowns following a large distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack which flooded their networks. The attacks are believed to have been aimed at a 34-year-old Georgian economics lecturer who has written blogs critical of Russia's military presence in the area.

A few days back the BBC reported:

Social networking websites, texting and e-mails are undermining community life, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has warned.

And The Times (ironically) Online:

Mr Murdoch said that newspapers would have to follow The Wall Street Journal and start charging for online content. Warning that “the current [business] model is malfunctioning” for newspapers, he said that News Corp is “leading the way in finding a model that maximises revenues and returns”.

And even the Daily Telgraph:

The mother of computer hacker Gary McKinnon made an impassioned appeal to US president Barack Obama today after her son failed in his latest High Court bid to avoid extradition to America.
The 43-year-old, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome (AS), is wanted for trial on charges of hacking into US military networks.

These reports have at least one aspect in common, namely that they evidence the increasing ease of communicatiing and accessing information in C21 and the importance some attach to controlling or limiting this ease of communication or access. If true these reports would also indicate that:

The Russians prefer that the freedom of communication should be limited if otherwise a point of view unattractive to their prevailing political mood, will be aired. They seem to fear the weakening of their perceived control - why?

The Archbishop fears that the young will use the internet as a substitute for face to face communication rather than as a faciliator to such socialising as well as additional means of keeping in touch. The Archbishop is a great communicator but I wonder if Dom Bosco's attitude of being able to influence young people more by going where they are would be more effective? Today the young are often on Social websites.

Mr Murdoch fears that his newspapers will lose £ms by the dissemination of communication being too easy and too free.

The Americans fear that the unwinding of the world's military might will leave them more vulnerable.

Essentially all these reports indicate that the internet may be creating pressures for changes in the model of government, influence or control from that which has a few at the top the impact of whose decisions trickle down to the maasses at the bottom - ie a triangular shape - to one where those in the middle are increasing their own empowerments -ie more of a rectangular shape.


  1. On reflecton, maybe an hexagon rather than a rectangle is model we're heading towards as eg the poorly educated and those without internet access, will alas predominate as the new poor at the bottom.

  2. Did you know, Jerry, that in Dubai you cannot access the websites of mail order catalogues like Littlewoods because the pictures of women's underwear are deemed offensive to the sensibilities of the powers that be! I have a sneaking feeling suspicion that Flickr is off limits as well...

  3. Greetings Barnaby.

    Even French swiming costumes now - Times reports:

    "France’s struggle with Islamic dress has moved into the swimming pool after a 35-year-old woman was banned from bathing in her “burkini”, a head-to-toe swimsuit."


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