based in london, the .ink blog is published by christoph hargreaves-allen (‘CH-A’) - AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, NEWS ANALYST AND INFORMATION-THEORIST.
we’re living through the “GOLDEN AGE of intelligence”…which is to say the following.
CYBER-surveillance is ubiquitous; like broadband. our digital actions ARE monitored non-stop, 24/7/365. OUR PHONE CALLS are parsed phonetically and semantically - for intonations of mood and/or keywords, both of which can swiftly be monetised. known and unknown organisations track our behaviour on- and offline, collecting lists of our interests and habits, our fears and desires, and so on. potentially-lucrative activities are distributed and predictively analysed for their dollar value every time we click online. our digital activity is not only surveilled, in real-time - it’s also sold at virtual auctions conducted in nanoseconds. all the time that’s required for a click to open a new page, and enough time ( typically <1 sec’) for advertisers to select targeted users based upon their real-TIME actions. time enough for interested commercial parties to bid for then buy an ad’ slot on the next page you or I view.
according to a source inside the consumer finance and tech’ industries, the average click [with metadata regarding the user who’s clicking] fetches between $100 and $250 at automated auctions. details of OUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP NETWORKS ARE HARVESTED every second…and traded between 2nd, 3rd and more parties. curiously, the profits gained from the sale of your personal data (and mine too) is pocketed by the brokers and their clients. the user - the source of this valuable data - receives 0.00% of the gross proceeds of this fabulously profitable sub-sector.
it’s impossible to hide in the 21st century.
the HUMAN NEED to belong and to communicate with like minds - and to seek PEER APPROVAL, across SOCIAL-MEDIA PLATFORMS - has led to an intriguing phenomenon. one that’s easily overlooked…
the abundance of individual exhibitionism on these platforms obscures a less-detectable, EVEN MORE WORRYING, tendency in most social-media userS. this is an unconscious DISPOSITION toward SELF-CENSORSHIp - especially when it comes to controversial topics. our increasingly UNQUESTIONing SUBMISSION TO DOMINANT NARRATIVES or political correctness contributes to the phenomenon - which is unexpectedly strong in democracieS where freedom of speech is taken for granted…AND YET IS exercised less and less.
the truth is, it’s not JUST what you do or say or like online. it’s ALSO what you don’t do or DON’T say online that reveals MUCH about you. this is the most valuable data of all. THIS IS THE REAL ‘CYBER-STALKING’ - INDUSTRIAL ANALYSES OF YOUR SHADOW SELVES.
yet our prudent approach to uncomfortable issues means we refrain from discussions of some of the most important dilemmas of our time. the INDIVIDUAL’S withdrawal from public discourse (FOR FEAR OF ALIENATION: THE PENALTY FOR BUCKING GROUP-THINK) creates a vacuum which misinformation and covert propaganda fills instead.
leading to the creation of a so-called tyranny of the mainstreaM - whereby web citizens are happy to agree with others but will most often decline to disagree IN PUBLIC - for fear of disapproval or social and professional harm stemming from the (courageous; DEMOCRATIC) act of SPEAKING FREELY in THE public DOMAIN. EFFECTIVELY, WE ARE STALKING OURSELVES AND OUR BEST FRIENDS.
TRUST NOBODY ONLINE - AVOID THE WORLD WIDE WEB. THAT IS THE BEST ADVICE, IF ALSO THE LEAST PRACTICAL - THE MOST IMPOSSIBLE - OPTION. EXCEPT IT ISN’T. IT TURNS OUT THAT FOR EVERY HOUR SPENT GAZING INTO YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN, IT REQUIRES 3 HOURS TO REFRESH THE POSITIVE BASELINE-MOOD YOU FELT BEFORE ENGAGING WITH ONLINE MEDIA…THE LATEST STUDIES SHOW.
ANYWAY. WE CAN’T HELP IT. IT’S AN ADDICITON. AND the aforementioned ‘vacuum’ is filled up BY, instead OF HUMAN TRUTHS, an ersatz, unrepresentativE ‘consensus’…which is manipulated and EVEN re-engineered by political agents and special interests COLLABORATING WITH them.
digital consensus-manufacturers have all kinds of agendas to meet, from political to industrial TO military to communications mandates. consent is manufactured when our personal opinions are influenced, through feedback loops, by topics re-framed accordingly so as to fit our profile. (it’s performed by algorithm.) NEVER MIND THE TEMPORAL ASPECT OF SOCIAL FEEDS - THE FAKE SYNCHRONY WHICH IS EXACTLY (THE SYNCHRONY, THAT IS) WHAT GETS US HIGH. SHAME IT’S AN ILLUSION - BUT, REALLY, WHO CARES?
the digital content we see CAN BE ‘virtually’ orchestrated by interventionists impossible to identify. the result is that social media provides a distorted or massaged version of the truth that has been manipulated much than it might seem. so well-disguised is it under its mask of spontaneity, it’s impossible to discern online intervention and surveillance.
the world we see online is a disingenuous facsimile of the ‘real world’. the breaking stories we seek in digital news are targeted, re-framed versions of the actual news - -despite seeming so real thanks to high-definition TV screens.
what we see is a mirror of some kind. just don’t forget the mirror is a broken one.
THE DEMAND, therefore, FOR REDACTED, filtered, verified and considered NEWS is higher than ever. Filtered news. call it ‘intelligence’, maybe - to separate it from the narrative-driven newscasters’ stories? if you like breaking news, the most accurate news is probably found only on a few wires and on bbc|world channels or in the better (print) newspapers.
information is over. analysis is the new ‘press’. the demand for no-bullshit news has rarely been sharper or higher. NEITHER HAS THE need TO MONITOR THE NEWS (and social) MEDIA FOR TRACES OF PROPAGANDA AND MISREPRESENTATION WHICH easily GO UNNOTICED IN our HURRY TO KEEP UP WITH a media culture permanently on fast-forward.
…HEY - AT LEAST IT’S ENTERTAINING. AND YOU FEEL IN CONTROL BECAUSE YOU DO ALL THE HARD WORK - GIVING AWAY YOUR DATA, OPINIONS, AND MORE FOR FREE. DILIGENT SLAVES OF THE DIGITAL OVERWORLD: IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE.
“The only journey is to go inwards.”
- Rainer Maria Rilke