Politicians Discover The Power Of Social Networking

Gordon Brown is not the most popular Prime Minister in the UK, but he is certainly getting technology.

He gets “it” because of Iran:

“You cannot have Rwanda again,” he said. “This week's events in Iran
are a reminder of the way that people are using new technology to come
together in new ways to make their views known.”

He described the
internet era as “more tumultuous than any previous economic or social
revolution”. “For centuries, individuals have been learning how to live
with their next-door neighbours,” he added.

“Now, uniquely, we're having to learn to live with people who we don't know.

“People
have now got the ability to speak to each other across continents, to
join with each other in communities that are not based simply on
territory, streets, but networks; and you've got the possibility of
people building alliances right across the world.”

File sharing of the kind that is most often associated with P2P, i.e. movies, music and TV programs, may be the cause celebre of P2Pers, but it is not the thing that gets Prime Ministers salivating. Foreign Policy is. When the fate of a nation revolves around activity on Twitter, you know that what is happening is revolutionary.

The thing that most people tend to forget or ignore is that it is difficult to draw a map of the dimensions and reach of the hurricane when you are sitting right in the middle of it.

We may be reaching a tipping point here. And that may be both a bad or a good thing. The good news is that P2P is becoming really powerful and may be a true change maker for governmental policy around the world. The bad thing may be that now that it is firmly ensconced on the radar of law-makers, there may be real energy invested into subverting how P2P functions to bring it under the control of government. Now you can say, “they will never control P2P”. But think about it. If the music industry can invest huge amount of money into ensuring that a good proportion of the files that are shifting about the networks are fakes (and in so doing add a huge amount of unproductive cost onto the shoulders of consumers, which in turn, by the way, means a lot more CO2 being put into the atmosphere) then how much energy and effort will be invested by governments?

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