The invention of the internet was one of the most important leaps forward in human history. The closest historical parallel one can draw, is the invention of the printing press. In the historical blink of an eye, unlimited information and instantaneous global communication was put at our fingertips.
The first major signs of the impact on political protests came in the run-up to invasion of Iraq. The anti-war movement was able to coordinate internationally, and consequently mobilized the largest mass demonstration in human history, with rallies taking place all over the world. But these were merely the first tremors of the earthquakes that were to come. By the time the Arab spring broke out, the situation changed dramatically. Now, even in the ex-colonial world, ordinary people had mobile connections. The masses could mobilize and coordinate, even without organizations, even without leadership structures, using devices they could carry in their own hands. Globally, the ruling class was stunned. Strong dictatorships that stood for decades melted in the fires of revolution.
Now, a clear and conscious effort is underway to disarm the masses. The internet is changing. Social media has changed from an outreach-tool to an echo-chamber. Net neutrality is being attacked and dismantled. Our cell phones have become spy networks for corporations and intelligence agencies. Search engines sensor results. And your shopping list now stalks you online as ads for anything you briefly feign interest in clog up your browser.
George Orwell predicted exactly this, but he never could have imagined that we would knowingly and willingly carry these spy-devices around with us.
The golden age of the internet is dead. Welcome to the new reality: a profit-driven, totalitarian control system.