Friday, 10 February 2012

John Tomlinson on: THE INTERNET

John Tomlinson c.1985 (hence the tie).
I was asking John why he didn't just add his responses directly to the blog instead of emailing them to me. He replied, "Sure! I’d have posted on the site before now, but it seems impossible unless you already have some kind of online identity..." so, I suggested he signed up with Google. His reply may echo the way others feel, so I thought I'd post his response; with his approval, obviously.

"I’m as paranoid about Google as I am about Facebook (I mean, are you happy about this ‘Timeline’ they’ve decided to roll out, without members’ approval or even consultation?). Google have also recently begun issuing dark portents about future privacy settings.

It all seems to be justified on a ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ basis, an ethos I’ve always found deeply sinister. Cameras on every street corner?  Great!  After all,  if you’ve nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear. Cameras in the home? Why not! Nothing to hide... (etc.). What’s that? Don’t want a FriendFaceGoogleBookBeboSpace nanocookie rivet gunned into your skull? ‘WHAT ‘AVE YOU GOT TO ‘IDE THEN, MATE?’ (barked through a clenched grin as they boot your door in). It can be used to justify any horrible intrusion.

I should add that I’ve nothing to hide. But the way the internet’s going, everyone’s perfectly normal right to lead a life in which your every vacuous mindfart isn’t posted online on a minute-by-minute basis is being slowly eroded. Pretty soon just trying to live ‘off the grid’ will mark you down as a weirdo!

Whoa, sorry – bit ranty there. I should blog about it. Oh wait, no. NOOOOOO!"


  1. He could always use Open ID to post comments here (and in a lot of other places - BBC, Paypal, etc.), it is an open standard and decentralised, so there needn't be any major privacy concerns.

    If he wanted more of a web presence then you'd be fairly secure picking up some hosting, a domain name and installing a blog on it (which these days is about as simple as installing software on your computer).

  2. John's response... via email obviously.

    Bar my Wikipedia page there seems to be very little about me online, in
    which I take a certain perverse pride. 'Nobody knew where he came from...
    sending emails with his bare hands...'

  3. And that Wikipedia is largely my "fault" ;)

    Which reminds me, it needs work.

  4. Good for you! It's reassuring to know someone is there to keep the records straight, though I'm sure he (or David Bishop) wouldn't object to the 'Space Girls' being erased from living memory...

  5. That kind of mass amnesia is something I'd give my support too. They helped save 2000AD in its darkest hour so perhaps we all should cut them a bit of slack, but then again it helps keep them on their toes in case they ever make a similar mis-step. ;)


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