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The Sunday Post - 21st February 2021

in Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 21 Feb 2021
Image courtesy Vanity Fair

In the News This Week

‘Knowledge itself is power’, wrote Sir Francis Bacon back in 1597. Well, what he actually wrote was ‘ipsa scientia potestas est’, but you get the drift. The phrase was later credited to Thomas Jefferson, the second and third president of the United States and the principal architect of the ‘Declaration of Independence’, who used the phrase in letters no less than four times between 1817 and 1821.



In 1837, Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Baronet, a historian and political writer came out with that immortal phrase "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men...", in a letter to an Anglican bishop.

With those thoughts in mind, I want to bring us to the near present, the early to mid 1990s. I was working with databases, more accurately, building them, connecting them together and writing the questions that allowed them to talk to each other. We were doing this over open telephone lines using a framework that was new, the internet, using a common language that could be understood by every database, no matter what computer programme it had originally been written in, think Esperanto. They were exciting times. Yes, like another notable with a portfolio of decent quotes, ‘We [sic] had a dream’. It was a dream of unlimited communication of data. All information would be available to anybody, no matter where they were in the world. Even then questions were being asked, such as ‘What about countries like Russia or China’ where information is tightly controlled by politicos and what is presented to the public is often a long way from the truth? I remember a Falklands War veteran on a student scholarship at Lancaster University remarking that the same question should be asked for every country, but then, he was a bit of a rebel.



We were also concerned about the type of information that would be made available. Even in those early days if you wanted a glimpse of how the technology would be used in the near future you only needed to visit a sex site. They were always the first to come out with flash productions (no pun intended), new javascript, new graphics, well not new, just presented in a different way. Tesco’s and Barclays were leagues behind.

The problem was and is, the technology was moving so fast that it became impossible for our esteemed leaders to a) understand it or b) be able to envision where it might go or c) be able to make decisions fast enough to control the information flow.

Perhaps we were all rebels then. We certainly never envisaged the technology being used by terrorists and organised crime, or rather there was a feeling that if the technology was available to everybody, once the majority realised the value of what they had then the type of data flowing would be self-regulating. Decent people would control the anarchists. It was about this time that kids started making a lot of money designing games like ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’. So much for that good idea.

Which brings us to the present, specifically Facebook, Google and Australia.



Australia want to introduce legislation to protect their news industry. Like record and film producers, their news people want paying for their output. The Internet has made it virtually impossible to control where news will pop up once it has been put out there so the only way to make any money from the news is to charge the websites that allow that news to be presented from their sites. Websites such as Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, the unelected custodian of unimaginable quantities of knowledge, has arrogantly blocked Australians from seeing or posting any links to domestic or foreign news outlets on its platform. Now that is power. By removing the news feeds and manipulating the information available to Australians, Zuckerberg is actually closing down freedom of speech.

Google meanwhile is talking about paying for its news. A small, relevant, diversion here. Google has something called Publisher and News. Websites such as visit-andalucia.com contribute news items through Publisher that can then be picked up by anybody, anywhere in the world via News - in theory. Google informed me some months ago that I could no longer have a News feed because I was in Spain and the Spanish government want to charge for news generated in Spain. Slipped that one in quietly, didn’t they?

Anyhow, back to Bacon, Jefferson, Sir John Dalberg-Acton, Martin Luther King (Jnr) and Zuckerberg. I do not care how many billions Zuckerberg has in the bank, he still has a lot to learn from our more learned friends. Let us hope he learns fast.

Trumps Tweets - Think Before You Tweet

Talking about learning. Perhaps how information, mostly disinformation actually, was disseminated in the United States whilst Trump was president can serve as another lesson of ‘How it can all go wrong’. Or perhaps Trump had shares in Twitter who made a fortune from the president's impromptu nightly tweets.

The Alternative Right, commonly known as the "alt-right," is a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization.

Considered a fringe movement for years, the alt-right gained considerable attention and relevance during Trump’s presidential campaign, not least due to Trumps' Tweets. Indeed, Steve Bannon, the senior counsellor and chief strategist to President Trump and the former chief executive officer of Trump’s campaign, had notable ties to the alt-right. Once relegated to obscure internet forums, the alt-right’s newest pulpit became the White House.

Image courtesy of Vanity Fair


The past year has thrown up serious challenges for all businesses. We are committed to helping the economy recover by maintaining this site and all its advertisers for FREE but we do need your help.
We are not asking for money - all we ask is that you SHARE this article on your timelines and in your groups.
Please help us maintain a free website that provides a huge resource for so many people and businesses.
Thank you – Julie Evans and Nick Nutter


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