Internet freedom and the Digital Revolution? Grow up!

Developed by childish grown-ups for grown-up children, the Internet has encouraged a lot of child-like nonsense from the BBC Digital Revolution team about the withering away of power and of the state. That eternal adolescent, Bill Thompson,is so excited about the Internet's potential to revolutionize our political species-being, he says, supposedly seriously, that it "counts as one of the most important things we've managed to do as a species." While the irony is actually on an equally straightfaced Aleks Krotoski when she incorrectly argues that 'it's ironic that Internet technology was devised and developed to protect the state, but is now being used to dismantle it.'

What childish nonsense from the kids manning the ideological barricades of the digital revolution. Firstly, as Fred Turner shows so brilliantly in his seminal From Counterculture to Cyberculture, Internet technology was "devised" and 'developed' in the Sixties by a curious alliance of the American Cold War military-industrial 'state' and by libertarian west coast hippies represented by counter-cultural merry pranksters like 'Whole Earth Catalog' founder Stewart Brand. Think of the Internet like an ideological map of California - impossibly incorporating both the Reaganite south and its apparent antithesis, the left-liberal north.

So, like a supposedly innocent child, the Internet is actually more complicated that it first appears....

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