People’s total disinterest in freedom and privacy issues, especially on the internet

People's total disinterest in freedom and privacy issues, especially on the internet 1Apart from a few oddballs, few people are upset by the European Commissions plans to control and monitor our online activities. And since most things are now connected online, the regulations affect the bulk of our communications – emails, chats, video calls, but also regular phone calls. All conversations are monitored and filtered in various ways.

Perhaps the average citizen never thought that the internet would be a haven of freedom, that it would be a refuge from the heavy hand of the state? And maybe they were right? The embryo of the internet was created as a military resource in the 1960s, and the link to the state and its bureaucracy has always been there.

The fact that some techies managed to create an online electronic sanctuary at the turn of the millennium was probably more of an accident of labour. It was a bug, not a feature. Downloading films, books and music for free was seen as a right, anything that could be converted to ones and zeros could be shared freely in perpetuity. And there was an anonymity that no longer exists. Everyone could communicate freely, widely and boldly.

There are, of course, a considerable number of people who miss this time. And it was a happy, even lucrative, period when many entrepreneurs laid the foundations of their future businesses and fortunes. But for money to be made online, more and more regulation was needed. The free sharing economy didn’t create hard cash, but it was also a springboard for people who guessed where developments would lead.

The average person probably never believed the fervent proselytising about online freedom. He doesn’t care if he is bugged online, because he won’t say anything controversial or illegal, just as he keeps his mouth shut in public or when meeting with government officials. Email and telephone are simply not a safe source of communication. Nor will he post controversial things on social media, and it is used less and less, perhaps posting an occasional holiday picture or when the children graduate.

We order products online, look up facts on Wikipedia, scrolling short videos, listen to music and watch TV series that we pay for. The internet is not magic anymore, it’s a tool, and we don’t expect it to tickle our fingers like it did in 2001.

If we want to talk seriously, we meet in real life, at each other’s homes, in pubs, when we play sport, etc. And then we might talk earnestly, express more controversial opinions, if at all. Most people don’t want to stand out, say strange things, spoil the mood. For most people, there is no real freedom to lose. Our politicians can calmly and methodically continue to dismantle our liberties and rights.