back to article The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems… but not in the way you think

In a predictable but still shocking pronouncement, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has put much of the blame of recent terror attacks in London and Manchester on the internet and internet companies like Google and Facebook. "We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed," she argued in a speech following the …

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    1. naive

      Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

      It is doubtful is the typical socialist approach just to toss money at each social issue helps in this case.

      The real solution is to get society organized. What we do now in most western countries is allow millions to be idling around, making them feel useless. We give them social benefits, put them somewhere in a bad neighborhood, and hope they won't be too much of a nuisance to the rest. All bills to make that happen are footed by the working middle class.

      Internet censorship is for sure not the solution to random terrorist attacks. Stopping social benefits, and introduce a national wide work duty will help, this includes introducing permits for taking leave, which have to be carried so they can be checked by police officers on the street. Why not offer every unemployed man or women a job as police officer, soldier or as maintainer of public areas. Society would blossom, integration issues with minorities would evaporate over night.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

        I've applied for such cleaning jobs. I was turned down due to lack of experience of being a cleaner.

        1. cambsukguy

          Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

          Good cleaners are hard to find, although I think it is not training as much as mind-set really.

          For instance, I have too much attention to detail and would take too long without quite a lot of pressure to do otherwise.

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

          "I've applied for such cleaning jobs. I was turned down due to lack of experience of being a cleaner."
          What? Your mother/wife/sister [delete whichever is inapplicable] wouldn't give you a reference? Shame...

      2. Bernard M. Orwell

        Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

        " Stopping social benefits, and introduce a national wide work duty will help, this includes introducing permits for taking leave, which have to be carried so they can be checked by police officers on the street."

        Fuck off, brown shirt.

        My forebears fought and died to prevent this kind of bullcrap being imposed on us, and I'm certainly not going to stand idle if nobbers like you decide to try and impose it anyway.

    2. nijam

      Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

      > Austerity simply is wrong, and it will look wrong from many viewpoints

      You could make a much better case to support the view that profligacy is what is wrong.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

      Just stop with the tax and spending arguments right now.

      The very wealthy are dodging billions in taxes and the average punter is getting screwed. And that's the long and short of it.

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/apr/08/global-inequality-may-be-much-worse-than-we-think

  1. SwordOfEnlightenment
    Coat

    Internet to blame in 1970s and 1980s bombing campaigns?

    Interesting article, thanks. I just keep wondering why nobody blamed the Internet for the Provisional Irish Republican Army bombings in the 70's, 80's and 90's. After all in those days we started to see things like token ring, X.25, HDLC, uucp, Ethernet, bulletin boards, analogue mobile phones and even TCP/IP. I'll get my coat .... feeling old now ;-).

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Internet to blame in 1970s and 1980s bombing campaigns?

      Until the IRA started bombing on the mainland it was seen as sufficient to send troops to Ireland for extra training. As long as only people in Belfast and Enniskillen were being blown up it wasn't really considered to be a problem. Same with Afghanistan except that there the US also supplied a lot of the weapons. As it is doing again in Yemen…

    2. Daniel von Asmuth
      Flame

      Re: Internet to blame in 1970s and 1980s bombing campaigns?

      You had SNA, JCL and Rexx. Enough to turn anyone into a terrorist.

      Why have so few (attempted) attacks been blamed on the El Reg community?

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken
        Coat

        Re: Internet to blame in 1970s and 1980s bombing campaigns?

        "Why have so few (attempted) attacks been blamed on the El Reg community?"

        Because whoever it is who would do the blaming knows that:

        a) Technical people are usually too rational to resort to terrorism.

        b) The commentariat can't be asked to leave their keyboards other for minimum requirements of nutrition and personal hygiene.

        Take your pick...

  2. Mark 110

    How does breaking encryption monitor people in parks?

    As I understand it one of the London attackers was reported to the anti terror hotline for his activities in his local park. I fail to see how breaking internet encryption could have helped monitor his activities in the park. You would need a police or intelligence guy in the park.

    This is just a distraction tactic by Theresa May. She cut police numbers making it more unlikely there would be a police / intelligence guy in the park. Lying to cover up her mistakes as usual.

    1. Redstone

      Re: How does breaking encryption monitor people in parks?

      She cut police numbers making it more unlikely there would be a police / intelligence guy in the park.

      The guy was investigated, but as Jihadis know how to play our laws so they stay just inside the law, he was let go without charge, so in this case police numbers would have made no difference.

      Also, yes she may have cut funding (cutting officers - rather than pet schemes - was the local choice by regional forces) but those officer numbers were cut from an all-time high. At the moment the numbers are the same as what we had at the beginning of the 2000's. I don't remember us having to resort to vigilante policing due to lack of numbers then.

      1. Mark 110

        Re: How does breaking encryption monitor people in parks?

        I don't remember us having a permanent terror level of serious for several years back then.

        But then that was before we decided to bring half the stable governments in the Middle East down through military force (or support for armed rebellions), causing the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and creating a power vacuum for the bereaved relatives to arm themselves and attack us.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Big Brother

          "bring half the stable governments in the Middle East down "

          Yay. Let's hear it for dictatorship.

          Because if you want "Strong And Stable Government (c Lyton Crosby 2017)" that's the Gold standard.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: How does breaking encryption monitor people in parks?

        "At the moment the numbers are the same as what we had at the beginning of the 2000's. I don't remember us having to resort to vigilante policing due to lack of numbers then."

        The threat levels were different then.

      3. collinsl

        Re: How does breaking encryption monitor people in parks?

        The population is larger than it was in 2000, and crime is becoming more complex and paperwork demands on police are higher as well.

        So instead of an officer breaking up a domestic where the wife is hitting the husband with a frying pan (as a hypothetical) and writing up a one page report on the crime, the officer now has to do the crime report, a victim impact statement, a use of force report (for arresting the woman), a referral to social services for ongoing support, an injury report for the man (including photos), a prosecution recommendation statement to go to the CPS, and a whole other set of forms and photos because the woman hit him with the frying pan and he now has a bruise on his arm which has to be reported.

        And on top of all that he then has to go and deal with a report of "someone insulted me on facebook and now I feel concerned for my safety" which almost certainly wouldn't have happened with the prevalence that it does in 2000.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: How does breaking encryption monitor people in parks?

      "As I understand it one of the London attackers was reported to the anti terror hotline for his activities in his local park."

      And it now turns out that he'd been investigated and the investigation dropped and also featured on a TV documentary about radicalisation.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The more politicians and media outlets railed against Brexit, the more voters saw the issue as an opportunity to give the powerful and the prevailing bloody noses.

    Except that the powerful and prevailing are still exactly where they were before, and will use the brexit and the terrorist scares to extract even more power and wealth for themselves - all at the expense of those same voters.

    1. nijam

      > ... the more voters saw the issue as an opportunity to give the powerful and the prevailing bloody noses

      Yes, none of us believes it was an actual opportunity, though... it was just marketed to the electorate as such, which is why it was *seen* as such.

      1. lorisarvendu
        Happy

        "Yes, none of us believes it was an actual opportunity, though... it was just marketed to the electorate as such, which is why it was *seen* as such."

        I'm reminded of a recent phrase from across the Atlantic..."draining the swamp". Can't remember exactly who said it, but I hope that's going well for him...

  4. Mark 49

    Monsters from the Id

    Some interesting points, though the personal prejudices as to what are good and proper views to hold don't do the article any favours.

    The analogy I like to give to people when discussing online behaviour is based on Forbidden Planet and the demise of the enlightened Krell. A civilisation of a million years destroyed overnight by the creation of a mind linking device. The primitive part of the brain suddenly let uncontrollably loose to destroy in madness.

    It seems a fair analogy for the Internet. Human personal interaction had just about developed to be civil - after all, a punch in the nose for being obnoxious is a great teacher of manners. Humans had more or less learned to control the urges and impulsed from the more primitive parts of the brain. The Internet has let all that loose, there is no punch in the nose for being a cretin behind a keyboard. Instead, all the monsters from the Id can be released in to cyberspace. Humans are just not evolved enough to cope with the Internet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Monsters from the Id

      "[...] after all, a punch in the nose for being obnoxious is a great teacher of manners. "

      The punch was usually administered by someone who was losing a verbal argument. Resorting to violence is the stock in trade of those who are intolerant of others through prejudice or insecurity.

      Accepted manners are taught by example.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Monsters from the Id

      As far as analogies go, this is a good one.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People are stupid.

    There's your answer as to why the world is the way it is. Don't get me wrong I'm from the Socrates school of "I know that I know nothing" meaning in my opinion that there is always a capacity to learn or change opinion.

    May and her ilk are moving the country down a path to a totalitarian regime with the controls they want and will get.

    Were doomed I tells ya.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Were doomed I tells ya."

      There is a standard psyops speech that used to be given to new employees of a company.

      "When I have convinced you that there is nothing you can do that will make a difference, that you are powerless, I have won.

      So whenever someone tells you 'You can't do this. I'm just being honest, as I don't want you to be hurt, or we shouldn't be doing this, it's not for the likes of us' ask yourself are they helping you, or helping themselves? Whose feelings are going to be hurt? Theirs or yours. Usually it's theirs that they are thinking about."

      In the UK in the 60's 80% of both the young and the old voted. Today retirees still turn out strongly but the young don't. As a result governments have become quite generous to the retirees and quite stingy to the young. Why? They know they can because the young are convinced their votes cannot make a difference. They convinced themselves (or were convinced?) that they were helpless.

      And until the young start voting again in large numbers their votes won't matter.

      Have an election where the young turn a virtually certain Labor/Conservative/SNP/Lib Dem/UKIP victory into a shock defeat and suddenly "the young," and their specific problems, are now a group who have to be dealt with again.

      You are not "doomed," if that were the case Blair would have had his way with ID cards decades ago. But it takes effort to stop the actions of career civil servants sleep walking the British people into a full on police state in the name of "security." The price of freedom is external vigilance against these a*holes.

      The English seem to love Dystopian SF, from Milton to Wells, from Orwell to Moorcock (even Hugh Laurie's character in "Tomorrowland") nothing is quite as good as an unhappy ending. The inevitable failure of everything. Nothing is so comforting that in the end you're doomed.

      This is bullshit. A product of weather, a fucking horrific school system that treats eighty percent of a class as expendable vermin, along with the untreated PTSD of withdrawal (in the addiction sense) from the British Empire. No wonder Dr Who was created by a Canadian.

      Now wake the fuck up.

  6. frank ly

    The May Way

    "What is the solution? Well, the end of religious wars came about largely because of two things: greater personal and economic freedom and better education."

    So, let's reduce personal and economic freedom and cut the education budgets. Er, .......

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: The May Way...

      ... starts to look more and more like an "Hey, let's give totalitarism a try! After all, we've missed out in the 1930ies and never got to test it. Who knows, it just might work for us!" approach.

      Seriously, don't.

    2. fandom

      Re: The May Way

      Except it was exhaustion that killed the religion wars, when Felipe II of Spain asked parlament for more money for the wars he was told "If they want to go to hell let them"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Well, the end of religious wars came about largely because of two things: greater personal and economic freedom and better education."

    Teresa May says she is going to allow new faith schools to select all their pupils by their religion. That will overturn the 50% cap imposed not many years ago.

    No new Catholic schools have been opened since the 50% cap was imposed. They say that once they are allowed to select all their pupils by their religion - then they will aim to recruit thousands of new pupils who currently would go to non-denominational schools.

    The children selected for these faith schools will be particularly those whose home environment puts their religious identity above anything else. They want their children's school to reinforce that religion and its views about society. Indirectly they segregate them from their peers who have different views - even in their leisure time.

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/nov/29/should-new-schools-be-able-to-select-children-by-faith

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      That and grammar schools. If you wanted to completely segregate society, that's the way you'd go about it.

      And what's the reason, just because certain religious organisations have got the funding to build new schools that the state is unwilling to build.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wow, exactly the opposite of the direction that schooling should be moving. That'll guarantee civil strife and then considering that there is in reality no God(s)/god(s) and that religions are human constructs, the long surviving ones simply covering more of human nature than the shorter practiced, that have become nothing more than control mechanisms. Religion should be banned from all schools and only taught in Universities and Colleges.

      I'm also of the belief that there should be no private schools. Surely, the schools that we plebs sends our children to are as good as the expensive private schools the wealthy send their children to. Right?

      Perhaps if Corporate and Wealth taxes were increased and Government incompetence/corruption was great decreased the schools for us plebs could be made to be much better.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The best way to sort out the NHS and schools in this country would be to ban all MPs and their families from going private.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "Wow, exactly the opposite of the direction that schooling should be moving."

        But some won't take no for an answer. They're SO anti-social they'd rather live completely apart than integrate. If forced upon them, they'll push back tooth and nail. But since they were BORN there, you can't just exile them, so you have born-here malcontents who hate you simply because. Haters gonna hate. How do you solve that?

        "I'm also of the belief that there should be no private schools."

        But that will also be impossible to enforce. Not only do you have the above who'd rather pull their children out of school and enforce their parental duties to the death, but you also have to deal with specialty and trade schools that pretty much HAVE to be privately run because anything else would be hopelessly inefficient.

        "Perhaps if Corporate and Wealth taxes were increased and Government incompetence/corruption was great decreased the schools for us plebs could be made to be much better."

        Corporate taxes will never work because they'll just pass the costs on. As for corruption, that became intractable with the rise of transnational corporations who can play sovereignty against you ("Shame if I decided to just up and move...").

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Teresa May says she is going to allow new faith schools to select all their pupils by their religion. That will overturn the 50% cap imposed not many years ago.

      So on one hand, she condemns terrorism, and on the other is advocating for allowing the set-up of jihadi training schools.

  8. Guus Leeuw

    Optional religious wars were ended?

    Dear Sir,

    can you please provide a citation as to when religious were ended?

    Isn't this "terror because Islam/Muslim" a religious war? How about the ban on flying to the US from anywhere in the Middle East? Can Indonesians fly to the US? Why?

    It is all and always religious wars... They started 2017 years ago by (according to gospel / rumors) Herod the Great. Reason? Personal benefit: Herod did not want to lose his seat as Roman-appointed King of the Jews.

    The theme really hasn't changed in those 2017 intervening years. Whether people wore red-crosses-on-white-garments, chased and killed all cathars, broke free of the roman catholic church into protestant churches, started the church of England... It's all the same stupid thing.

    Removing religion isn't going to help - I have come to believe, because there will always be people who will find the next best to improve their own personal situation over that of others. So removing one case of "my-dick-is-bigger-than-yours" isn't really going to help society at large.

    Regards,

    Guus

    1. Dave Schofield

      Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

      Religious wars started much further back than 2017 years (+/- whatever the current error on the dates is). Religion is just a handy excuse to kill people you don't like.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius

        Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

        @Schofield

        No, religious wars were not "a handy excuse". They were deadly serious efforts to save the immortal souls of those who lived under mistaken regimes. They were led by anointed Kings who ruled by the grace of God (Latin, dei gratia, as noted on British coins). That applies not only to European Kings: Chinese Emperors ruled under the mandate of heaven; some Arab Kings claim descent from the Prophet.

        No, I don't accept that religious posttion. But it is mighty difficult to argue with somebody who does.

        A moslem said to me once: "We have the Jewish religion, Christianity, and Islam. Why do people not just accept the latest version?"

        But why should they accept any of those, in this scientifdic age?

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Religion is just a handy excuse to kill people you don't like."

        Or feel threatened by. No actual cause, just a vague, amorphous fear of "them."

        Or whose economic success you are jealous of.

        Or whose lifestyle you followed and it didn't work out for you and you blame for the subsequent failure of your life.

    2. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

      "Removing religion isn't going to help"

      Apart from the fact that I don't understand your first sentence, I disagree with you. Societal ills (poverty, injustice) may be the cause of a great deal of social unrest and crime, but if you want mass murder of unknown innocent people you will find that in almost all cases the cause is religion. Yes, there are psychopaths out there (Brady, for example) who have mental problems way beyond what any of us can imagine, but if you look at these worldwide bombers, child kidnappers and knifemen, all of them, all of them are motivated by their phantom god and his promise of virgins. What a pity that these criminal imbeciles will never know the fallacy of their stupidity.

      So you're wrong. The sooner parents stop whispering the filth of religion into their children's ears the better. It's child abuse. As the late great Christopher Hitchens said, religion is a force which makes good people do evil things. Look no farther than Manchester and London for the proof.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

        if you want mass murder of unknown innocent people you will find that in almost all cases the cause is religion.

        I always knew socialism must be a religion. The Soviets, Chicoms, Pol Pot, GDR, et.c industrially murdered millions in the name of the socialist utopia... I think the worlds other religions (even Islam) have a lot of catching up to do.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

          ", but if you want mass murder of unknown innocent people you will find that in almost all cases the cause is religion. "

          I think you'll find deeper causes should you look. The ones that spring to mind are:

          1. Fear

          2. Greed

          3. Jealousy

          Everything else seems like window dressing to me.

          1. horse of a different color

            Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

            You missed one - resentment. I doubt Islamists are either jealous, greedy or fearful.

            1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

              Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

              And let's admit "hate" plays a part, hate for what people are and what they do, whether that's genitally mutilating girls, abusing children, oppression, or killing the innocent.

              And there's hate for those who stand idly by and allow such things to flourish.

              There's a non-religious aspect to "they hate us for what we are".

            2. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

              Resentment actually goes to envy/jealousy. Resentment is malcontent over being in a worse situation than someone else. That falls right into the definition of Envy as a Deadly Sin: coveting that of another which one does not have.

              1. Mark 110

                Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

                So a few bits on the above:

                I agree that resentment is an issue. And I also agree it is an aspect of Envy/Jealousy. However theres more to it than that. We have caused the deaths of their relatives by our governments actions. The poster that spoke about hate's post was a little weird - FGM isn't considered within the community as harmful its a normal thing, not hateful, but he is right in that they hate us and our hedonistic society. They hate us because we turned up with lots of bombs and guns and killied their relatives and friends. We all (those of us over 40 anyway) grew up with residual hate for Germans for similar reasons (AND YES I AGREE, not the same, similar).

                On the whole Judaism, Christianity, Islam thing. Mohammed actually says in the Koran that we are all 'people of the book' and followers of Islam should not attack people of the book except in self defence. Mohammed does dictate some other stuff regarding 'polytheists' and needing to attack them in the Koran which explains the endless conflict with the Hindu religion. But then the bible says some pretty weird stuff in Ezekeiel. Ignore it, get over it. Most of my Islamic friends have.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

                  "And I also agree it is an aspect of Envy/Jealousy. However theres more to it than that. We have caused the deaths of their relatives by our governments actions."

                  That's just plain Wrath. They hate us for killing their families and want revenge. And some of them don't care about the whole Vicious Cycle thing.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The internet is to blame.

    Whoever wins on Thursday will be blamed on the internet and gutless voters who were scared by the terrorists into voting the way they did.

    Never mind that they got out and voted in spite of it making them less safe, they were bowing to terrorist fear by voting for the people we didn't vote for, dammit! They were brainwashed into thinking wrong thoughts! What? No, I'm not brainwashed and neither are you, everybody else is.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: The internet is to blame.

      As a form of brainwashing, Church of England is probably the best. Schools get marched down to church once or twice a year to half-heartedly sing a few hymns, and maybe the most fanatical it gets is tea with the vicar.

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: The internet is to blame.

        "Church of England is probably the best"

        I'm guessing that by "the best" you mean the least harmful. If so, then I refer you to Jainism, an order devoted to the sacredness of life, whose monks reputedly brush the ground before them as they walk for fear of treading on an ant.

        To paraphrase Sam Harris, it's not extremism in religion that we should fear, it's the fundamentalist perversion of religion. In the case of the Jain monks, the more fanatically extremist they are the better.

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