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. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Credit where credit is due. Identify the rot and cut it out

    The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet, it is incompetent candidates for high public office being led to believe they be bold leadership material with a significant presence of being, rather than their realising they be just as terrorised sheep being led through markets for eventual ritual media slaughter and/or putting out to pasture in arid fields of ignominy.

    And here be a presently active, super prime, subprime tale of catastrophic deceit and monumental cowardice which would certainly rightly disqualify any and all involved, should they have even just a titter of wit, from even thinking about themselves as strong and stable persons of interest to anyone …….. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-05/dear-great-britain-–-blame-your-intelligence-agencies-government-not-internet

    And does media rule and regulate your existence, for certainly without it and IT would you all be in the dark about everything and prey to anything with more intelligence than power can ever provide and maintain?

  2. uncommon_sense
    FAIL

    Is this article an example?

    The author of this "article" has never been objective IMO, but now he appears to live completely in his own bubble!

    This is what the radical lefty internet does to our society!

    I can't be sure he didn't mean to exemplify it, and the article is therefore a joke..(?)

  3. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Religeous wars are mechanically no different from any other type - political ideology or land-grab being the two broad classifications I can immediately call to mind - in that the reason they collapse is when the money needed to prosecute them dries up.

    You can talk about The Will To Win or Public Opinion, but they both boil down to sources of funding in the end.

    If you think carefully there are any number of relatively recent examples of the phenomena in action.

  4. Bucky 2

    It seems to me that money, religion, and all those things that government officials are fond of talking about are all emergent properties of the power of self-determination, not fundamental properties in and of themselves.

    If you don't address self-determination, then manipulating any of the other things is just putting lipstick on a pig.

  5. sisk

    Not to defend Trump or May or to deride the main point of the article but damn that's a lot of bias.

    Mind you I don't actually disagree with anything that was said here (Trump's a blight, I don't know enough about May to have an opinion - yes, that's embarrassing typical 'Merican of me, and I do indeed think that taking care of people is a much better solution to the current problems than clamping down on them), but more hard fact and less opinion in news - especially news involving politics - is usually a good thing.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      "Not to defend Trump or May or to deride the main point of the article but damn that's a lot of bias."

      And that's why it was cleary marked as a 'comment' = an expression of personal opinion.

  6. Nick Kew

    Ban Coffee

    A historical perspective: much of the Enlightenment happened in the revolutionary social hotbed of Europe's coffee houses, where people would meet and ideas were developed. The powers-that-be at the time felt threatened, and tried to ban the dangerous new drug at the centre of it.

    Nothing new in the idiocy of today's rulers.

  7. Florida1920
    Pint

    @Kieren McCarthy

    Well said.

  8. nilfs2
    Devil

    Same old problem

    Religions have killed people since we as specie have memory, the only way to stop it for good is educating people how stupid the concept of religion is, we have all the evidence in the world to prove it as well as the technology to settle the debate, but fear of the almighty, dinosaur, zombie, ghost and a bunch of old dusty documents written by people that didn't have the capacity to think that those documents could be used to wipe their asses effectively and invent toilet paper, is better evidence for most people.

    As long as we keep planting the "religious chip" in our kids, it will never stop.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Same old problem

      Then it will never stop, PERIOD. Haters gonna hate, after all, and as long as there are haters, there will be victims, revenge, and anything that goes with it.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Same old problem

      Ah, yes. Let's replace religion with another*, secular, science-based ideology and stomp out those religious nuts!

      (Has been tried, didn't work.)

      * Religion, ideology, pretty much the same from where I sit.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius

        Re: Same old problem

        @allthecool

        My remedy is different. Replace religion with apathy.

        I would make speeches promoting apathy if I thought anyone would listen.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Same old problem

          "[...] the only way to stop it for good is educating people how stupid the concept of religion is, [...]"

          Organised religion is always used as social control of the masses. What constitutes the "religious" ideology often boils down to a leader cult. We are hierarchical social animals. Once an ideology reaches a certain critical mass, backed up with social penalties, then people quickly learn to pay at least lip service. Conscious that their deviance could be discovered - they can go to lengths to advertise their loyalty to whatever shibboleths the group imposes.

          It is part of human nature to want to believe that someone has answers, preferably simple, to life's problems. You can educate people to think - but it is possible that may not protect everyone against themselves.

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Same old problem

          "I would make speeches promoting apathy if I thought anyone would listen."
          Bit isn't apathy supposed to be a problem. Anyway, who gives a fuck?

          Typed by someone who used to hand out cards with the words: "Vote 1: Informal" on them in the 1960s...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sex

    I've seen convincing arguments elsewhere that a core spur to disillusaned young males turning to violence is inability to get nookie. Teach them how to get a women to let them shag them and you could address a large part of the problem. I certainly remember in the 1970s/80s there was pressure on young potentially violent males from their elders in NornIron to get spliced as it was seens that being nailed down with familiy responsibilies and access to nookie would deter them from shooting and bombing people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sex

      "[...] as it was seens that being nailed down with familiy responsibilies and access to nookie [...]"

      Too often they had to commit to marriage before tasting those forbidden fruits. Two quick kids and then they were often stuck in a loveless relationship. 20th century Irish fiction is often of the genre called "miz lit"***. The common violence towards wives by husbands - and towards their children by both - was not a good life.

      *** "miz" = "misery"

      eg

      "Angela's Ashes"

      "the arrival of fergal flynn"

  10. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    the "problem" with the internet

    is that those lies and mistruths and beliefs you hold so sacred, are not ascendent. Other peoples' needs, perspectives, beliefs and lies can get the same attention.

    So when your corrupt liar, even with protection of Media who simply doesn't report or spam headlines 24/7 with their lies, failings, and errors loses because other outlets make up for that shortcoming, then the "internet" becomes a dangerous thing.

    A presidential candidate who failed to secure her nomination because her statements made at one rally, were on Youtube before her next whistlestop, and the crowd can judge for themselves that what she's saying NOW doesn't match, even though her allies didn't decide such things "newsworthy" is really disruptive.

    Its easier to blame the technology than the actions that the technology brought to light.

    Like a robber blaming home security cameras and not the fact he's burgling homes for his arrest.

    Even those who benefit from such exposure, fear it when their turn come around. Chump may like Twitter now, but I guarantee you if it becomes a Hazard to his puppet masters, suddenly Twitter will be "the Enemy".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the "problem" with the internet

      Then how come the same thing that became sauce for the goose HELPED the gander, DESPITE the fact neither of them had very clean pasts?

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Providing 0Day Opportunities and Vulnerabilities for Future Builder Enjoyment is No Internet Problem

      Quite so, Phukov Andigh. And such a Novel Age of Fruity Enlightenment has Advanced IntelAIgents in Creative Command and Cyber Control of Communications and Computers which lead the Masses with Media Programs which Present Virtual Realities.

      Would anyone care to disagree and share their Alternate Reality Analysis of and/or for Earthly Existences?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally I would just like to get paid what it takes to live.

    All this is very informative, interesting and ultimately not going to change a thing.

    I work for less money then I did 10 years ago, I have more "job" then I have ever had.

    My Grandparents saved up several hundreds of thousands of dollars for their retirement, they also bought and paid for a large farm and ranch, raised 6 kids, provided them education and so on. My parents they tried and failed to do the same thing, distracted by themselves, they spent a lot more then they had.

    Today, Business in general expects me to pay, 20 to 100 (dollars, Pounds, Euros insert your favorite) here, there. and everywhere, plus all those common things like housing and food. God help you if you don't have the latest doodad, app or box as society led marketing will shame you out of the room. Plus, certain more well off individuals whom can't actually do the tasks they pay people like myself to do, blame us for failing to achieve and then force us to accept lesser pay and shame us for not being grateful. All while claiming their taxes in currency is to much, even though as a percentage is significantly lower then people that get paid less then those supposed too high tax rates.

    When did being able to put some money aside each month, have a home, some kind of reasonable vacation once is awhile, food on the table, clothes to wear become the dream unattainable for so many?

    Yes social programs are expensive, but those that work full time at one job for rent, and another job for food, can't work third job for all the toys that are marketed at them all day and night. If they want to keep selling all that crap they either had better pay ALOT more wages or more TAXES to support social welfare. The alternative to all this will be devastating even to those riding in their golf carts in secure private golf courses every weekend.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Personally I would just like to get paid what it takes to live.

      "The alternative to all this will be devastating even to those riding in their golf carts in secure private golf courses every weekend."

      I don't know about that. I think they feel if worst comes to worst, they can close off the walled garden and send in the killer drones.

  12. Danny 5
    Thumb Up

    Where's the upvote button?

    I feel this article needs a "thumbs up"

    that was an excellent read. The article went a bit too far in certain areas, but in general I agree wholeheartedly!

    I see these things happen on social media on a daily basis, people simply dismiss the truth and perpetuate the notions echoed by their social inner circle. very few have the ability to look beyond, which is really startling when you see it happen first hand. Although I pride myself on my incredible objectivity, I'm most likely guilty of this behavior too, people can't help but be human.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where's the upvote button?

      "I see these things happen on social media on a daily basis, people simply dismiss the truth and perpetuate the notions echoed by their social inner circle. very few have the ability to look beyond, which is really startling when you see it happen first hand."

      They don't WANT to look. What's getting worse is the idea that people will refuse to look facts even when it stares them in the face. According to some accounts, some religious adherents simply refused to see the evidence even when looking directly through Galileo's telescope. A case of "I reject your reality and substitute my own," you could say. An irrational but perhaps instinctive defense of their own worldview that would otherwise drive them mad. When it goes that far, it's hard to continue since, as they say, you can't win an argument with an irrational person.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Where's the upvote button?

        "According to some accounts, some religious adherents simply refused to see the evidence even when looking directly through Galileo's telescope."
        Careful... Galileo was a religious adherent too and rather more famous for his sermons than his science in his day. His telescope was rather primitive and other astronomers (Jesuits) were rightly sceptical and thought that what was being seen were artefacts in the telescope's lenses.

        Three drawings of Saturn by Galileo

        Today we know that Saturn doesn't have ears.

  13. Eugene Crosser

    Good and clever, until you stumble upon something..

    Can we please have some journalists who are capable of analysis, but are not as blatantly partisan as this:

    There are large groups of people in the United States who believe a range of views that are clearly and obviously wrong: dinosaurs existed at the same time as Jesus; there is no such thing as climate change; people's sexuality is some kind of deity-imposed punishment; anyone should be allowed to buy a gun.

    No? Oh...

    1. Danny 5

      Re: Good and clever, until you stumble upon something..

      Sure, but not on el Reg.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Good and clever, until you stumble upon something..

      "There are large groups of people in the United States who believe a range of views that are clearly and obviously wrong: dinosaurs existed at the same time as Jesus; "
      Looking out the window at my feathery dinosaurs. They aren't laying at the moment, but hopefully will start again in spring...

      Downsized Dinosaurs: The Evolutionary Transition to Modern Birds

  14. EnviableOne Silver badge
    Boffin

    Fully agree with the sentiment of the article, the internet isnt broken society is.

    the uber elites control far to much of the control and deny learning to the and security to those they deem less, this situation is not new, it's what lead to the fall of monarchies and the class system, but has now been replaced by a wealth system. where class used to matter now wealth does.

    The only way to solve this is a mass upheaval of the status quo, and a major change in human nature. this will not happen overnight, and will not be without cost, but ultimatley leads to a better world for everyone.

    There are visonaries that have realised this, but they are few and far between (e.g. Dan Price, Richard Branson) but as they continue to succeed this will influence others, and monetary wealth becomes less of a measure of success.

    Every person should be valued for there particualr skillset and everyone should have the opportunity to do everything. But also people need to realise that not everyones skillset is built or enabled in the same way, some are good at logic, some good at analysis, some fast, some strong, some resilient, some empathetic, but all these are valued and all have value.

    there is no difference between a time served bricklayer and a degree certified chemist, each in theirown field is qualified and capable, and each capable of amazing the other eith their specific skill.

    if we can get to a point where this is the default, then people will feel valued and empowered and will be lees prone to adopting extreme views for a sense of belonging.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      I disagree. Somewhere along the way, someone's gonna cheat. It's damned human instinct: get a leg up on the neighbours, and so on. Even if there were such an upheaval as you describe, pretty soon someone's gonna cheat, take advantage, and we'll be back in it all over again. We're just on the tag end of the current cycle, with the added caveat that people are showing a willingness to kill 'em all and not even bother with the sorting. Perhaps that's why we haven't found any other civilisations in space...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It's damned human instinct: get a leg up on the neighbours, and so on."

        Human society would not function if that was the case. We are hierarchic cooperative social animals who band together for mutual benefit. Too many free-loaders and that society would break down. What happens is that they gradually get ostracised by the rest of the group. They either conform or are on their own.

        Humans function best in small groups. Introduce any pressure on environmental resources and there will be competition between groups.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          "Human society would not function if that was the case."

          What do you think's happening RIGHT NOW? With social structure strained, things are getting rather dicey.

          "Humans function best in small groups. Introduce any pressure on environmental resources and there will be competition between groups."

          Those "other tribes" become the "neighbours" I mentioned, so my argument still holds. When the basics aren't so hard to get (read: you don't have to hunt everyday just to have dinner), the necessary size of the "tribe" shrinks until it's down to family units (houses, neighbours, etc.). Especially when a larger social structure creates a disconnect between the top and the bottom. Instead of food and water, it's spouses, good schooling, connections, and so on. It's the same thing as the jungle, only structured a little differently.

  15. Paul

    I sent a polite form of this to my local MP

    Dear Theresa May and minions,

    1/ just because you keep saying these things doesn't mean you are making them possible

    2/ every time you repeat the mantra of "no safe place", "backdoor encryption" etc, we

    roll our eyes and think "you're a bunch of feckin' muppets"

    3/ we've explained encryption so many times and you haven't understood it, so please shut the feck up and find someone to take your place who actually understands at least something about communication systems

    4/ yes, we really do think you are morons, and what few vestiges of respect you might ever have had are long gone

    5/ our previous response still applies, see the last 20 times you made these stupid statements and they were rebutted, and every lame argument you made was refuted

    6/ repeat after me: communications are secure for everybody, or secure for nobody

  16. peterm3

    Good article

    More redistribution of wealth would help, as would better access to free education. Uneducated people also fuel extremist views as they don't have the tools to gain a greater understanding.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Good article .... introducing for Real IT, GIG Economies for Epic Scaling.

      More redistribution of wealth would help, as would better access to free education. Uneducated people also fuel extremist views as they don't have the tools to gain a greater understanding. .... peterm3

      More distribution of secret intelligence and shared information would be of greater help, peterm3, but as is all too often witnessed and propagated by media, does it immediately fuel the extremists opining views for more and more tools to keep everyone less educated so that the ignorant and inquisitorial masses, do not discover and uncover the simple secrets that effectively enslave them to virtual systems of exclusively rewarding executive administration via elite forces and sources of operation.

      However, that formerly extremely exclusive facility has rapidly become a catastrophic vulnerability with myriad remote renegade rogue accesses discovered for exploit which is requiring a whole new masterplan from established systems which will both embrace and enrich all such greater force and novel intelligence source discoverers and disruptors, for any further sort of leading establishment participation in continuity of safe and secure universal service/strong and stable governance.

      Of that should you be in no doubt for I Kid U Not.

      Nothing is as it seems and never at all like the Present is portrayed for reality shows and mass media set programs into sublimely controlling the ..... well, Void of the Mind is the Universal Stage for Grand IT Master Plays/ Greater IntelAIgent Gamesmanship Economies and Idiotic News Programming Programs, is it not?

  17. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems…"

    It is not.

    The Internet is the physical infrastructure - the international network of networks of routers, switches and server racks, and it is entirely neutral (except insofar as it carries the bulk of the world's financial transactions without us noticing). The World Wide Web is what we (and they) are talking about here.

    It pays to get your ideas right and use the correct words in expressing them.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems…"

      No, the Web is just an application of the Internet. The Internet ITSELF (as in the network) is the thing that enables this mass communication; the Web is just the favored method of using the Internet. If it had never existed, the Internet would almost certainly still be an enabler: only replace the Web with IRC chat rooms, MUDs through telnet/SSH, etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems…"

        " If it had never existed, the Internet would almost certainly still be an enabler:"

        There was a time about 1996 that distributed news groups were the melting pot of discussions on all topics - both moderated and unmoderated. It was a jungle - especially the ALT groups. You quickly learned about your own comfort zone.

        It took a few more years for the Web to take over that role.

        I remember a colleague coming into the office circa 1999 saying he had followed a lorry down the motorway - and it had a company's web address on the back doors. That first sighting signalled that the Web had made its breakthrough into public consciousness.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: "The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems…"

          "There was a time about 1996 that distributed news groups were the melting pot of discussions on all topics - both moderated and unmoderated. It was a jungle - especially the ALT groups. You quickly learned about your own comfort zone."

          I guess I'm more used to Usenet as being the file sharing channel of choice before Napster appeared along with all the evolutions of P2P sharing. For me, the discussions were all realtime on IRC using Efnet and Dalnet servers.

  18. John Savard Silver badge

    Thoughtful

    This is indeed a very thoughtful article about a serious problem. The Internet does help people isolate themselves from reality, by listening only to the views of the like-minded.

    One could jest that obviously we need to get people watching TV instead. The television licence fee that Britain has obviously should be abolished to help that along.

    As for government finances and personal finances: paper money is like a cheque; what corresponds to real money for a government is foreign exchange - or gold. Our current treaties for encouraging international trade make it hard for governments to prevent the nation from spending more than it earns except by contracting the economy and throwing people out of work.

    If money good for buying imported articles had to be counted separately, you could stimulate the domestic economy no end, and keep everyone employed, without endangering the balance of payments. This system has even been tried successfully on occasion, although it does come with its own set of problems.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    She doesn't give herself enough credit

    "We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed".

    The British government has not so much "allowed this ideology a safe space to breed", as GIVEN it such a safe space.

    And a bloody big safe space, too.

    Most of Libya, a lot of Syria, a lot of Iraq... Courtesy of the RAF and the rest of NATO.

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