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A wartime Internet
By Dave Winer on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 2:50 PM.

A picture named peace.gifI guess it all depends on how you define war. #

But earlier this year, the governments of Tunisia and Egypt fell in revolutions that were organized on the Internet.  #

Many of the people I know think of this in breathless terms, as an amazing Gee-whiz sort of thing. I do too, because I'm rooting for the Internet. Just like I used to root for the early Internet companies like Amazon, Google and Yahoo. I felt a kinship with them then that I no longer feel. Sure I use their services. But I don't expect them to look out for me, or for their interests to align with mine, any more than the companies who make electricity do, or keep the elevators running, or fly the airplanes. They only keep me safe to the extent that it's good for business. Otherwise, we're on our own. #

I expect the gee-whizness that comes from the Internet used to overthrow governments is going to sour much more quickly than the earlier kind. Because once the governments learned the Internet could be used to take them out of power, two things happened. 1. They put up better defenses. 2. They learned how to use the Internet to do to their adversaries what their people would have, previously, done to them. #

You think -- ah but those generals and despots don't know how to use the Internet. Yes, and I don't know how to fly an airplane, but I can still get on a plane and fly from NY to anywhere. You just have to hire someone who knows how to fly a plane. United, Lufthansa, Delta, Air France, etc are all happy to oblige.  #

The question, I guess, is where will you be when it all melts down, and it will it be possible to get food and water and will the natives be friendly. And they won't be the cute natives that pundits love to talk about. They'll be truly strange people who don't love us and aren't lovable.  #

The people who were freaked out by Julian Assange will wonder how we could have felt threatened by him, when we are going to be dealing with Internet-scale hacking, world-wide Internet-scale hacking, from now-on. It'll make Assange look like the flower child hippie that he is.  #

A picture named mrNatural.gifAn analogy. There was a time when you wouldn't think twice about downloading and running any piece of software onto your PC. Until one day we did that and it installed boatloads of adware, that we never really were able to get rid of. The Internet is now as infected as our PCs were in those days. And the targets of the infections haven't yet realized how infected they are. #

Anyway, no matter how you look at it, the Internet has already been used in wars. In a real sense the wars were fought on the Internet. That means from now on, that's where wars will be fought. The days of innocence for the net are now behind us, I'm afraid.  #

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