I came across this talk at the Psychedelic Salon (an amazing podcast that comes highly recommended). He describes it in the podcast info as one of the most important talks he had ever played at the salon. Quite a claim by any standards. So not quite sure what to expect I gave it a listen and I have to say I completely agree.

Now I know I have been a broadcast professional and a lecturer in Media & Communications so I am little more able to deal with some of the jargon and technical language but even if one is a little reticent because of these I cannot express how important it is to really listen to and fully consider what this man is saying. It is a message I have been trying to get across for years now and still, after everything that we have gained from the internet and all that it has brought us globally, people do not fully understand how important it is for the future of humankind and to what extent battle lines are already drawn. We are in the midst of a new kind of struggle for freedom that will effect us in ways unimaginable right now.

We have so much to thank the hacking youth, subculture generally and edge-walkers of all kinds in winning us some of our relatively new and unprecedented freedoms at this point in history that are in no small part facilitating the awakening of global consciousness that we see all around us. As Dr Moglen puts it, “the universalization of access to knowledge is the single most important force available for increasing innovation and human welfare on the planet”.

Of course access to this knowledge has included knowledge of the fact that, as Bill Hicks used to evangelise in his oh so delicate way, ‘we are being fucked, every day of our lives’. The current state of human welfare on the planet, for the vast majority, is questionable at best. Governments and corporations are in a desperate struggle to pull the wool back over our eyes before enough of us realise what is really going on in the world and before we utilise the power we have in our collective hands. Both this growing realisation and the power for change are catalysed immeasurably through the use of this new medium.

This is it folks. Since the dawning of language, it has ever been ‘Programme or Be Programmed’. But the very few have known and exploited this fact for the causes of control and self-aggrandisement. Now finally, with the the kind of numbers we need to secure our future, the internet is waking us up to that fact. So it is essential in ways I cannot fully express that we retain our ability to continue to write, hack and innovate in any way we, humankind-en-masse, deem appropriate. Protect your newly won freedoms and preserve your rights to anonymity and privacy.

It is clear that the manufacture and purchase of consumer goods as a method of gaining economic growth is no longer a plausible way of providing for our future. Again as Dr Moglen so eloquently states, “we need to listen, democratically, to the large number of young people around the world who insist that Internet freedom, and an end to snooping and control, is necessary to their welfare and ability to create and live […] this is not going to be resolved by giving them assembly line car-building jobs. Everybody sees that.” We need to afford our youth, and the population at large, the space and privacy they need to formulate the innovations that will sustain our future on this planet.

We simply need ask ourselves what we want the internet to become. Do we want it to be the greatest tool for emancipation and education that the world has ever seen? Or do we want it to be the most powerful platform for enhanced social control the world has ever seen?

Whichever way you would have it go. The choices are being made here and now. And most of us don’t even realise it because it is being implemented so stealthily. Do not let the choices be made above your head and without your consent. In short, don’t let your frog be boiled!

Here’s what Freedom to Connect [F2C] have to say about themselves:

Freedom to Connect is a conference devoted to preserving and celebrating the essential properties of the Internet. The Internet is a success today because it is stupid, abundant and simple. In other words, its neutrality, its openness to rapidly developing technologies and its layered architecture are the reasons it has succeeded where others (e.g., ISDN, Interactive TV) failed.

Freedom to Connect is designed to advocate for innovation, for creativity, for expression, for little-d democracy. The Freedom to Connect is about an Internet that supports human freedoms and personal security. These values, held by many of us whose consciousness has been shaped by the Internet, are not common on K Street or Capitol Hill or at the FCC.