How long have you been using the internet? Has it changed in that time? Leave a comment, I’m really interested.
At the end is a link to something that has just come up on the BBC that really underlines this for me.
How long has the internet been available to most of us? say 15? 20 years? I remember building websites in 2000 with FrontPage. I remember dial up in 1998 and searching for things. I know it has actually been going since the 80s but actually available to the mainstream I want to talk about.
So, it started so well. Information was out there, social media started. Personally 10 years ago was quite nice. I know in the background black data was pissing around, but to your general user, they could build a nice little website of their own, they could join facebook and find friends they hadn’t spoken to for years, they could find facts easily. It seemed like a really nice and useful way life was moving. Yes children were starting to not leave the house quite so much, yes children didn’t seem to quite have the same childhoods we had had in the past.
By paying for a little help with tags or ads you could help your little website get seen a bit more. That was nice.
Then something started happening. Original thoughts and ideas were getting stolen and copied, and it was really too difficult to stop.
You started to notice that your searches were really a lot more relevant to you, they were showing your town?
Social Networks started monetising, and adds started appearing. Shitty ads on facebook, about how the queen uses certain face-creams etc, complete and utter crap ads. Instagram that originally was for ‘insta..nt sharing of photos’ now was showing an ad every eleventh photo, and then algorithms kicked in and you didn’t see your mates pics chronologically but how instagram decided they wanted to according to their system.
Twitter the same.
Now you do a search for anything and you’ll find down the side a pile of shitty ads of the last thing you looked for being sold very cheaply in a city next to yours, a little known secret that people your age do to get what you want!
And then you discover that all those quizzes your friends have been doing on facebook, all the steps you have taken with your fitness tracker, every page you have looked at, almost every detail of your life has been logged and is filed somewhere, and is potentially being used to influence massive decisions with scammy companies like Cambridge Analytica etc they are not the only ones or the worst. The very fact that Trump was voted in in bizarre circumstances, the very fact that Brexit was voted in in bizarre circumstances begs the question how.
So the latest twist in all of this is the new GDPR ruling that is coming in at the end of May. Effectively it will mean that no one is allowed to keep anyone else’s data – without their express permission (anything that could identify a person – a name will do if there’s a way to know it’s you) will not be allowed. The implications for companies, for government bodies, for social media, for e v e r y t h i n g is fucking massive.
I personally think it is time we shut the whole bloody internet down.