What happened this week in France is quite shocking. How can they be so long to make useful laws and so quick to pass harmful ones? Well the move began in December last year. Some call it a French Patriot act. This is not the first time there is an attempt from French government to enforce stronger control on the internet. The pressure of lobbies and media industries have been pushing hard to preserve their interests.
But this time, it’s just about copying the NSA, and get legal requirement for service providers to host the black boxes. Seems that the Snowden revelations gave the lawmakers some ideas. The impact is not anecdotal in the French society. Some service providers announce they will leave the country like Altern (French), others call to action (French). Both Valentin and Laurent are long time activists in the French landscape. I know them for a while. Funny how things turn out, I’m now working in the company they founded in 99 (and passed hands in 2005).
But all this makes me think that we are facing a technicality. The real thing is systemic. It seems that we failed, as a civilization, to regain control over our systems. The course of evolution is going to lead to more control to the machines, more dependence on the computerized information. Up to a point where our insignificance as human being will become really obvious.
We, as small makers of this computerized universe, should have some part of responsibility. Is there a way that we can bend the course of history by the small choices we make? Can we not take decisions in regard of how to implement solutions, in a way that we can preserve a margin of freedom and respect for the human species? I’m not sure, at this point, there is anything we can do. But if we don’t try, we will never know. Think about it. You build systems. You shape the world. Your choice matters.