As I’ve said previously in many places, the Internet was a surprise to the rulers of the world, and a cold, painful surprise. Before the Internet, information was very well controlled and kept inside of fixed bounds. In other words, most information remained in controlled channels, most of the time. Other information flows could be passed off as belonging to “aberrant cranks with conspiracy newsletters.”

It is in the very nature of human domination that the rulers must keep their noble, necessary, pristine image, in spite of their many sins. At the present time, television and the newspapers remain under close control. Talk radio in the United States is a bit of a wild card, but at least it usually promotes one wing of the rulership structure.

The Internet, however, is a big problem: it allows for no choke points and no gatekeepers. It cannot be easily controlled.

So, if you can’t control the information gates and flows, you must attack all the individual minds.


Sure, governments want to see everything that everyone is doing, and to root out any potential threats to their dominance, but the real purpose of surveillance is to make us all self-censor.

Let’s say you learn that your local government has behaved very badly and you think about protesting. But, you know that they have facial recognition technology, and you know that they have every email sent in their country for the past five years? Will you still act knowing that the government can, with the push of a button, call up all the emails you sent to your friends when you were depressed? Or every web site you ever surfed?

Not likely. They can make you look like scum any time they like – very publicly and flamboyantly. So, you self-censor. Thus, the Internet scourge is stopped by surveillance.

Surveillance negates free speech over time. The first amendment may remain on the books, but using it exposes you to any number of prosecutions, not to mention the embarrassment and damage caused by criminal charges being made public.

The Federal Register in the United States now contains over 80,000 pages. In addition to this, there are state laws and who-knows-how-many pages of departmental demands. We are all criminals now. We remain unbound only because of prosecutorial discretion, and because evidence is hard to gather and organize. But with surveillance, gathering and organizing evidence is swift and cheap.

From the standpoint of a tyrant, a surveillance state is a perfect weapon: It chokes off all dissent before it can form, but leaves the rulers looking pristine. The enforcement mechanisms are fear and shame, and, being internal to all involved, they remain unseen, no matter how powerful their effects.


The rulers of the world would love to get rid of the Internet, but they know it won’t be easy. They have been using multiple tactics for some time, with limited results.

In the name of fear, however, they are succeeding in creating a surveillance state that invisibly targets every person. A system that strikes, directly, the deepest human weakness: fear of shame.


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