The Internet is Becoming an Orwellian Nightmare And Here’s How to Stop It

James Damore, author of the memo that got him fired from Google (Image Source: Business Insider)

James Damore, author of the memo that got him fired from Google (Image Source: Business Insider)

When Google fired one of its employees over a memo criticizing the company’s diversity initiative, arguing that gender and biology might have something to do as to why women would not choose to work in tech, it generated news and arguments from both sides: one supporting the claim, based on scientific studies; the other blaming men and society for being drenched with “toxic masculinity” as to why women choose not to work in tech. Nonetheless, the employee was fired from Google and this generated another argument: that tech companies are now judging who can work in tech based on their politics.


Charlottesville protest (Image Source: Phedlund via Instagram)

Charlottesville protest (Image Source: Phedlund via Instagram)

Now after the Charlottesville protest, Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that was booted off from GoDaddy, and then from Google, became the star of the issue. It also doesn’t help when millions of videos from YouTube, owned by Google, are being blacklisted and demonetized if they prove to be right-wing or about a topic they don’t like. An example of these is Censored Gaming (@CensoredGaming_) who tweeted how all their videos have been demonetized. Censored Gaming makes videos about revealing the unethical standards of censorship, localization, and “culturalization” prevalent in the video game industry. This on top of Twitter and Facebook’s habits of censoring right-wing opinions and voices and you got an industry-wide censoring body, monopolized by the left-wing party of America dedicated to censoring anyone that criticizes them.

In short, Internet companies right now have become the judge and jury of the Internet. What’s more dangerous is that it has a monopoly on the public platforms, giving them umatched power when sending a message or promoting an idea. This is a fearsome situation where anything that they don’t like will be booted off their platforms. No one is allowed to fight back, and no one is allowed to talk back. And these are the platforms that they were making their livelihood with. If they got booted off the platform, even if they choose a much less popular platform they won’t be earning as much as they used to; a total assassination of livelihood.

Cloudflare, a service that provides protection to websites, removed their protection of the Daily Stormer website after the CEO woke up one morning with “a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet.” To think that you might find yourself saying something in the future that doesn’t align with their ideologies and find yourself booted off the Internet? All this while Cloudflare protects ISIS terrorists’ websites?

What Can We Do?

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21: Left-Right: Cloudflare Partner, Matthew Prince appears on stage at the 2014 TechCrunch Disrupt Europe/London, at The Old Billingsgate on October 21, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for TechCrunch) *** Local Caption *** Matthew Prince

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince (Image Source: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Well, there are two things we can do, each has its pros and cons. First is that we can take away the monopoly of these companies and build or support more alternative platforms. More platforms means that it will be harder for any side to police the other. The problem with this is that it will take years to build these platforms to something equal to the giant companies right now. It would mean total effort and dedication from those who support these alternative platforms.

Another thing people can try is to threaten the companies by supporting the abolition of Net Neutrality in the US. With net neutrality, the Internet speed and traffic is equal for all of those who use it. Without it, ISP can change speeds for each individual or company and charge them more for more speed. This makes more popular sites possibly more costly to maintain. Internet companies don’t like that idea because it can also give the ISPs, and possibly the government, the power to censor them. The advantage of this is we have a bullet to use to threaten the companies by siding with their opponents. The bad thing about this is obvious: no one likes to be censored on the Internet.

No one likes their opinions and ideas to go unheard. Freedom of speech means that every speech is allowed, even ones that we find hateful. There are certain exceptions to that rule, but they are so extreme it is newsworthy when one commits them. But as long as it doesn’t toe these extremes any speech must be met with dialogue and not censorship or possible loss of livelihood. And so as users, we must show these companies that freedom of speech is an absolute right no matter where you are.