The Web is ISIS’s Nuclear Bomb

The Web is ISIS’s Nuclear Bomb. This is what Loretta Napoleoni, author of books on the economic side of terrorism, wrote in an article for the leftwinger Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Napoleoni claims that – as the Marxist ideology did in the past with the “word-of-mouth” or, better, “word-of-book” – ISIS’s propaganda gets its power from a new “ideology-spreading-tool”: the Internet, and thank to the Internet will last, no matter what:

Even though, hypothetically, we should succeed in taking out all of ISIS’s warriors by bombing them and killing al Baghdadi, the ideology that these people have created and their universal message will last on the Internet. 1

I don’t have enough authority to challenge the curious association Napoleoni did between Karl Marx philosophy and ISIS’s vision of the Islamic religion, but I find grossly superficial and offensive for the victims of (every) war to compare “the Web” to a nuclear bomb.

As I wrote in a post, war is made of bullets, and bullets hurt as do (nuclear) bombs. Bombs make carnage, slaughters, shred a human being in pieces, burn, annihilate, vaporize, wipe communities, blindly kill innocents, pollute lands for centuries or millennia (ask Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors for additional info, just in case.) E-mail, newsgroups, chats, FTP (yes, Napoleoni, the Internet is not only made by HTTP) are tool of freedom designed by free people to give humans a free chance to communicate with no physical and social barrier.

Those like Napoleoni – and her cultural associates, member of the “Internet-as-a-threat Club” – should simply accept the fact that ideas are countered (and sometimes, fought) with ideas and that the worst way to challenge a disturbing statement is to censor it.

The idea that a sole statement might change somebody’s personal philosophy up to turning him into a human bomb carrier is simply wrong. Change of mind happens by way of tragedies, loneliness, apartheid and injustice and not because of a tweet.

As per the “Internet Patrolling” advocated (not only) by Napoleoni – though sadly labelled by her as ineffective – again, let’s go back to basics: as the East Germany, Russian and Italian political police history show, to fight an enemy and prevent attacks there is no substitute for an actual, massive, ruthless and pervasive physical control. But t this is disturbing and, rightly so, nobody in the Western world is available to give a government so much power.

And here comes the brilliant solution: let’s fall back on the Internet and blame “the Web” as a radicalization tool.

No, Napoleoni, ideologies will not last because of a blog. They will stand until there will be inequality in world, it means until the end of time.

  1. Orginal text in Italian: Anche se, ipoteticamente, riuscissimo a stanare con le bombe tutti i guerrieri dello Stato Islamico e a far fuori al Baghdadi, lideologia che costoro hanno creato ed il loro messaggio universale in rete rimarr

The Internet As an Intrinsic Threat: Yesbutters vs Whynotters

Italian politcians’ mantra, starting from the Chair of the Low Chamber, Boldrini and down to local parties’ minions is “The Internet is an opportunity but…” and then a stream flows of statement like “we need to regulate it”, “we need to keep it free for the righteous citizen”, “we must block hate speeches” and so on.

This reminds me of an old, untitled essay I read on Giancarlo Livraghi’s gandalf.it:

Yesbutters dont just kill ideas.
They kill companies, even entire industries.
The yesbutters have all the answers.
Yesbut were different. Yesbut we cant afford it.
Yesbut our business doesnt need it.
Yesbut we couldnt sell it to our workforce.
Yesbut we cant explain it to our shareholders.
Yesbut lets wait and see.
All the answers. All the wrong answers.

For the positive part, dedicated to the Whynotters, just follow this link.

Why the Right To Be Forgotten Is Plain Wrong (and What Is the Best Way to Protect Your Reputation)

The Right to be forgotten – not a “right” per se, by the way – is a distorted way to enforce the right to privacy and an actual form of censorship because strips from the Court’s hands the power to decide what should be known and what shouldn’t and, further more, is a way to enforce a bottoms-up censorship that a State can easily turn into a top-down dissent shutting.

The Right to be forgotten is the wrong answer to a (maybe) real question: how do you get rid of your embarrassing past if I’ve changed course of life?

Answer: instead of trying to hide the dust under the carpet by removing the search engines’ indexes, just use it at your advantage: run a blog, a social network page or whatever elicit the interest of the search engines’ robots and tell your story. This way you can counterbalance the (allegedly) negative effect of a news relating to you because a search engine will reveal your side of the story too.

This, of course, if you are sincere in your life-changing effort because, if you’re not, you might find yourself exposed again to the consequences of your con stunt.

Is the solution to the Right to be forgotten actually as simple as that?

No, because to do so you should be able to properly handle an argument, collect and provide evidences and effectively deliver your statement. And since Cicero’s adepts aren’t that much, it is better to go for the censorship solution: cheaper, faster and good for the powers-that-be.

The Government Censorship Machine Ready to Start?

Laura Boldrini, the leftwinger president of Italian Low Chamber (Camera dei deputati) has endorsed the settlement of a commission “for the Internet-related duty and rights”.

This commission is the tragical… sorry I meant “logical”, consequence of the dangerous “Internet Bill of Rights” campaign.

Given Boldrini’s attitude toward the Internet,  I do hope that this commission wouldn’t turn into a trojan-horse  to bash enterprise and individual rights.

The Danger of the New Crusaders and the Risk for the Medical Research

Repubblica.it, an Italian online newspaper, accounts for the cancellation of a fund-raising initiative to collect money for the research on rare disease. The cancellation has been motivated by the fear of riots provoked by animalist activists who object living animals to be used in medical research. This form of terrorism is a dangerous growing trend in Italy, and one of the reasons for this growing is that extreme animalism is not perceived as bad as its “political” sibling (thank to the support given by teen-agers oriented TV channels, politicians and artists.) I don’t see how the opinion of (former)models, self-professed experts with no impact-factor or citation-index or bloggers-on-a-mission should prevail over the facts stated by the major Italian research institution.

Anyway the consequence is that police authorities and the government aren’t taking seriously this issue letting activists to continue threatening the medical and biotech research in Italy. Of course I don’t claim that “every animalist is a terrorist” and I don’t want to enter into the semantics of both words. What I do not find fair is the justification for the use of violence in the name of an idea: the field of history is crossed by enormous rivers of blood because somebody bleieved to be absolutely right, thus taking the burden to “convert” those who disagreed.

As often happens in Italy, this is the result of the a confusion between “ethics” (that is a personal matter) and “law” (that is – or is supposed to be – a tool for balancing contradictory interests.) This confusion is likely to badly affects the feasibility of the scientific research in Italy. I still haven’t collected enough information about how big a disincentive this animalist threat is for the health companies who want to invest in Italy, but the very first hints don’t let imagine a bright future.