Kim DotCom has called himself the internet resistance. He declared himself as the highest profile to be victim of the US restricted laws about internet. He is supposed to be the person who stands between people’s freedom and big brother. Is he a hero and should get a medal or is he just a guy who completely lost it?
Is revolution an old fashion model?
There are people we admire for what they do and others for who they are. Heroes are loved for both. The 20th century got an enormous list of people who were outstanding for more than what their own lives would represent. From Che Guevara to Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or even Zapata. They all were liberators of humanity. Interesting concept as today, freedom is always a matter of perspective. Especially when we talk about internet and technology in general. What is free does not necessary mean you can use it the way you want and even if it is legal.
In our modern countries, the concept of revolution became more or less an outdated idea. People’s life became pretty much straight forward and despite the fact certain things remain unsatisfactory, nobody would really start a revolution. There is of course a romantic side in the idea of building a revolution, being the new Che Guevara. More than one high-school student would get these ideas in mind. This would happen just before getting a diploma and trying to find a job. Probably getting a decent job, pay the bills and raise your kids might be a more important matter.
What all the above heroes have in common? Probably Nelson Mandela had the perfect answer for this.
“I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.” So most of the time, no real hero were born a hero. Is their aim to overcome an exceptional situation that will transcend them. Of course this requires often the sacrifice of their lives to a cause, to a purpose.
Today there are not so many “causes” to fight for in our Developed countries. Probably most of the true battles were already won or lost in the past. Do not read me wrong, there will always be causes worth to fight for but who in our comfortable lives would sacrifice the small piece of happiness for a greater good? Not so many. There is also the idea that revolution is not applicable anymore as society became more complex. We tend to talk about evolution rather than revolution: In general the system is tight to each single level of the machine. So in general new ideas take place if people evolve. And internet does not help as the more our lives become digital, the more our habits, actions and gestures are recorded in a log somewhere. And the more people go online the more ethic questions are raised.
Internet, the place for modern revolution?
Internet is a typical human being activity. Despite the fact it is all managed by machines and cables, the way it is built and the way it evolves matches the way Men are. In the 19th century the news about an event or a fact would take around 50 years to go around the globe. And probably it would not reach everybody. When Genghis Khan died in 1227, it took several years to all the people in Mongolia and China to realize it. When Henry VIII died, it took almost a year to everyone in England to be fully aware of the news. And I do not dare to ask how long did it take to Christopher Columbus to inform all Europe that he has discovered a new land, just by going West. Dissemination of information was a mess. Today we have internet. Sometimes we get the news even before it becomes news. That’s the power of it. And we know that information is power. By connecting all the people together Men created a worldwide spider web. Sometimes you can feel being the spider but sometimes you might end up like the fly, caught in a sticky web and being monitored by a multiple eye beast. You need to be careful then to not being eaten.
So, because internet opened the access of information, it is harder for a country or an organization to take advantage of other people. Information flows and today anyone can be the source of consistent and reliable information.
It is an amazing power that many countries used. The Kosovo war started a new era for field journalism as people would report what was happening in the ground. Then we got the so called Arab Spring. The protests have shared some techniques of civil resistance in sustained campaigns involving strikes, demonstrations, marches, and rallies, as well as the effective use of social media to organize, communicate, and raise awareness in the face of state attempts at repression and Internet censorship. Twitter was heavily used and so Internet became the new Kalashnikov.
Internet and the idea of Free culture
With the rise of internet and since 2 computers started talking with each-other troubles started. Before the computer era, a piece of content would exist in a certain number of units, not less not more. The digitalization of content also brought a challenge towards the existance of the support and the copyrighting of the content. When you would buy a record in the 60’s, you would be able to listen to it and also to let your best friend to listen to it too as he would borrow you for a moment. At the end still only one record existed.
Today, with digitalization, one book, one music album or any film have a non defined number of copies. Can be 1, 10, 1 million. The more people download the content the more copies exist. And what happens when you wish to share that content with your best friend? You might end up sending “a copy” of it via email or via file share protocols. And here troubles start with the multiplication of copies. Same usage than in the 60’s but we tend to generate illegal copies of it. If this habit would remain at the friend local level, it would not be a problem. But with the World Wide Web, by the moment you create a new digital copy that you send to someone, the risk is that copy become millions. It is all exponential. Things like Peer2Peer protocols made the happiness of millions of people worldwide. From pictures, to movies, music, softwares and games, everything was available online and for free. Wikipedia, youtube, dailymotion, youku and broadcaster websites democratized the availability of content. In the middle of these amazing evolution, something was left aside: copyright.
While major companies like Microsoft, Adobe or Universal would complain about the lack of revenue, others started wondering how behaviors would evolve. One of the biggest phenomenon of all was Megaupload and Megavideo. Started by the Kim Dotcom in 2005 and shut down by the FBI in 2012. The principle was easy. Users would upload their files and allow other users to view them and enjoy the content. Very fast it became one of the biggest movie, software and music illegal use of all. It made the fortune of its owner. With some proof that Megaupload directors knew the illegal character of the users activities , the FBI shit down all Megaupload sites and places Kim Dotcom in jail. In 2013, Kim Dotcom relaunched a new hosting and stockage service called mega. It has over 7 million users distributed in 49 languages. The new key point is that all files are encrypted so even people at Mega do not know what the users have in their servers. This was a massive change as although illegal files could be present in Mega servers, the directors cannot be considered of illegal copyright acts as they do not know what the users would be doing. Kim Dotcom also had a project called Megabox that was never launched. Kim Dotcom claims the freedom of Internet away from all the NSA, FBI and other Big Brothers are watching you.
The real question is how to define that freedom? Is total freedom means illegal too? By not knowing what are inside the servers, it means that Mega created a free zone in which everything is possible. Good and bad. Does this make internet a better place?
Today, people seek a better visibility and transparency on the entire system. Personal data is completely freaking people out and the more you try to understand, the less you get it.
Kim Dotcom, satan or saint?
Probably both. Some people would describe him as a megalo-dictator. Others see him as a digital hero. Can we describe him as a true revolutionary? Probably not as the dictionnary would define:
Mega is not a revolution as it does not mark a change, or an innovative way that discontinues the way we were doing things. And that’s probably what we are missing with Kim Dotcom. He is just a man trying to fight the system by resisting to it. Rather than resisting, he should actually change things. By being a game changer, he would make an entire establishment completely obsolete. This is what you are missing Mr Dotcom. What do you do today that is bringing a true change in how people communicate, exchange files and even consume music, films, softwares or even media.
Generation Y is already in place and they can be a game changer. Just need someone to bring a true innovation. So Mr Dotcom, rather of being a few resisting and hiding from the big bad wolf, why not being legions and changing the way things work. Megabox was already a start. Otherwise you will end up as all the napsters, emules and other old fashion systems. It is up to you now.
Info sourced at wikipedia, Kim Dotcom website and facebook page. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.