Saturday, April 22, 2006

What's exactly being subverted?

After a decade of ever more prevalent "subversive" Internet technologies the world we live in is, if anything, less free than it was ten years ago. The more participatory our media become, the less participatory our democracy.

Related to this, there's an assumption in the plotting of The Constant Gardener that rang a bit of false note with me - that no matter how under the surveillance cosh you might be in the 'real world, in the virtual one information can continue to express its natural inclination for freedom.

In 1995 a search on the then quite raw WWW for "Guatemala AND organs AND baby parts" would have produced a qualitatively very different set of results to the same search today. You could argue about the overall levels of factual accuracy in both sets of results, but without doubt the earlier listing was more eclectic, with spikes of real controversy, often based on genuine insider insight. The participatory Internet appears to be drowning out such voices in a jabber of armchair opinions.

Guatemala's adoption industry (whose front end I encountered on March 29) continues to deliver grizzly stories from the back end. This week, a pair of local out-of-towners suspected of baby theft were beaten then burned to death by what the wires call an "angry mob".

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