The internet has become a scary place

Remember how, as a child, there were places in the house you didn’t particularly want to look or be caught in when the lights went out? I don’t remember all the places in my parents’ home that fit that bill. But I do recall certain moments in time when the darkness made me do odd things.

The nights I would attempt to leap onto my bed from as far away as possible in case there was someone under the there who wanted to grab my feet as I climbed in. Or how much I hated the 2 full length mirrors on the the closet doors because they would reflect things in a moonlit room that I could never properly interpret properly before the terror set in. Or how when the lights went out during a power outage, I would suppress the urge (sometimes unsuccessfully) to scream bloody murder.

As a child, these were traumatic moments for me. And the absolute truth of the matter is that now I find myself struggling with similar terror when it comes to the internet. I’ve got lots of excuses for why I no longer blog regularly. This morning (afternoon?) I find that the most compelling excuse (reason?) is that I have become ever-wary and traumatised by the idea that my thoughts are archived in places where people can then refer to later to help crucify me (figuratively, of course).

With all the talk of Manning, Snowden and the like, I am increasingly aware of all the knowledge I have about how technology works. And I don’t particularly want to be caught in the fallout.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily believe anything I have to say is criminal. Nor do I believe that anything I have said here is likely to net me an espionage charge. I am not into treason. But what I do have to say is sometimes controversial and plenty unorthodox. The result is the silence you have been observing on this blog for months now. I just don’t want what I have to say going down in internet history. I now write, again, in paper journals. Anonymity online is a thing of the past.

The truth is that no matter what you have to say – whether it is to disparage the latest bikini fashion (you’ll pardon me with this one, I just finished watching Jessica Rey’s presentation on the evolution of the bikini) or commentary on the latest political nightmare that is racism or potential treasonous acts by so-called “whistle-blowers” – it will be stored on a server somewhere. Accessible by all manner of people with all kinds of agendas. People have an unattractive way of showing their bigotry and will use anything they can get their hands on to persecute those of us who speak our minds.

Oh, I know you might say that is a world-view that is decidedly fatalistic. And I might agree, if it weren’t for some of the hate I see spewed at the smallest of things these days. Everybody is entitled to speak their minds and be allowed to do so without persecution. Yet that is not what is happening. This so-called “free speech” is being attacked from all quarters these days. No one is immune.

The thing is, the internet has become that dark space under my bed for me. I don’t want to be caught saying things that can and will be used against me in a court of law – no matter how unlikely that scenario is. I don’t want to feel the urge to scream bloody murder when the lights go out because of some unnameable monster who is likely to take my words and twist them to their own advantage. I don’t want to be afraid. And thus, I continue to be quiet.

Mother help us, but technology is going to be the death of us.

5 thoughts on “The internet has become a scary place

  1. I have to agree with you, Cam. I think alarm bells started going off in my head after I watched that show with Will Smith. It got me thinking about those possibilities happening in real life. Plus, you know what they say about truth being stranger than fiction.

    It’s sad and unfortunate the way many things around us have devolved. The Internet is a wonderful medium. It should never be seen as a scary place. But then, neither should the world in which we live. But that’s another story.

    • Indeed. I find myself starting a blog post or a Facebook post and then reconsidering because it is just way too easy to imagine my words being used against me. Especially when I tend to air my thoughts as they are today. Often, my thoughts change as I do my research, talk to people, new events unfold … I’d hate to know something I said 10 years ago was taken out of context and used for some sinister purpose.

      It’s just damn easier to say nothing.

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