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The rise of big-tech

27 April 2021

Big tech has changed our lives in recent decades.

I recall, around the turn of the century, that the internet and the many services layered on top of it, was a very niche market.

While AOL was pioneering the use of email into the consumer marketplace, Yahoo was just a curious list of websites and the search-engine de jour was probably Altavista, Lycos or something.

We didn't have Facebook pages, we had Geocities pages or, the more adventurous amongst the tiny community of internet users would create a "home page" on a tiny piece of web real estate granted them by their ISP.

Of course that's all history now and today the internet is everywhere and in many people's lives, it's even more important than "the real world".

He who owns the internet, rules the world today.

Perhaps that is why governments across the face of the globe are starting to look at big tech with ever-increasing scrutiny and cynicism as to its goals and agendas.

Even the most powerful arms of Western governments have been ineffectual in exerting their unfettered power over these internet giants. Neither the IRS, nor the IRD, nor the ATO nor HMRC has been able to force Facebook, Google et al to give up their clever tax dodging. This, despite the fact that we have seen many old-tech giant multinationals fall prey to the taxman's unbridled ability to bring such companies to their knees when there's a hint of evading their obligations.

It seems that our tech companies are now simply too big to fail and even governments themselves are now so hideously reliant on the services they provide that they dare not rattle too many cages. Far easier to pick the low-hanging fruit that is the smaller companies which can be safely wound-up without massive kick-back from a public which is addicted to the services the Net provides.

Right now we're seeing things even more insideous taking place within the hallways of these mega-corporations; things that we should be very worried about.

The likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter and their ilk have an unprecedented ability to shape the perception of the world and thus mold opinions and perspectives. Although it could be argued that this was previously the domain of the newspaper or television media, I think social media has taken things to an entirely new level of censorship, bias and propaganda.

For example, Google now controls what you see online, whether you realise it or not.

For a surprisingly high number of people, Google *is* the internet. These people have Google as their start-page and all search queries are served by the company.

If Google doesn't want a particular piece of information or a certain viewpoint/opinion disseminated, it simply down-ranks such things in its search results. This creates a form of shadow-banning that is becoming increasingly common these days. And, if Google doesn't rank you, very few people get to see your content.

This was never more apparent than during the recent US elections when a left-leaning Google appeared to provide great bias towards anything pro-Democrat or anti-Republican.

Even Google's video streaming service YouTube has become famous for its shadow-banning and demonetization of content which may meet all its community guidelines and terms of service but which is simply non-aligned with the company's own ideologies.

This is dangerous stuff and represents a very real kind of brainwashing of the public.

Of course it has created a war between Google and the old-guard of public opinion, the newspaper media. Perhaps this is why we're seeing governments attempting to force Google to pay the old guard for use of their headlines, even though this is an affront to the very rules on which the WWW was built. Maybe governments feel that "it's better the devil you know than the one you don't" when it comes to siding with organisations that shape public opinion.

Google is fighting back though, by shadow-banning some of the bigger media outlets that are non-aligned with its own politics and opinions. That's why the Daily Mail is suing Google on allegations of just such a shadow-ban.

Once again I think it's time to sound a very loud warning about the new world order -- which is a planet where a tiny handful of mega-powerful corporations control the minds of the population. Remember, for most people, Google knows *everything* about you, it has control over how you see the world and it has made you highly dependent on its services and ecosystem for a large part of your daily life.

And now we have a new player -- Elon Musk's Starlink. It has not escaped the attention of those with an above-room-temperature IQ that Starlink has the potential to become the world's single largest ISP which could easily operate outside the control or authority of any government. Estimates are that it would take only 40,000 of Elon's satellites to provide internet connectivity to every country and every person on the planet. At that time, Starlink could provide a massive dominance in connectivity and thus represent another challenge to governments of the world.

The future could take a rather dystopian turn in the relatively near future, if we're not careful.

Or could it be that big-tech will be the thing that saves us from the evils of big-government?

The best way to deal with an arrogant bully is to set another arrogant bully onto them, isn't it?

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