I’m kicking back on the couch with Bonnie and the cat, trying to get some of the ideas that have been flooding through my head over the last couple of days into print. I don’t know if its the springtime, or a return to a slightly more normal life that does it, but i seem to be settling into posting a little more often and potentially getting a few different ideas posted.
I came across a fantastic article in the guardian today. It’s the kind of article that makes you stop, read the title again, read through it, cheer, shudder and then wonder what its all about. For those of you too… um… busy to read the link, a quick recap. (although the article is well worth the read) Group of students in England form two companies. One in England and one in Ireland. Through this company they are able to import ‘weapons of torture’ into the country. They also get some ‘price quotes’ on things like a grenade launcher. They bring a ‘sting stick’ to some guy named Malcolm Wicks, who’s the head of some department called – import controls.
So, first reaction, George Lear, the head of ‘citizenship’ at Lord William’s school is my new hero. Now that! That was a PLAN! We’ll get the students (assuming it was his idea, which i’m in no way sure of) to set up a company that will try to import dangerous items in order to both prove its possible, as well as convince the student’s that anything is possible. That they can be involved in the politics of their country… that they can even have an effect on policy. Fantastic.
The second reaction… well. Holy crap. People can really do this. And kids can do it. Annaarrcchist ccookbook eat your heart out. That’s all we could ascribe to as kids (not that i’ve ever had one, google, i know you’re watching) But now the list is endless, and a group of students form the UK can import whatever they want. OMFG.
My third reaction was the one that really hit home. I’ve seen great projects before (although maybe never one quite this grand) and i already actually knew that this kind of stuff was happening on the internet. No. My third reaction was, what is the ‘minister of control’ going to do about it? He gets cornered by a bunch of kids who give him a stun gun, and, according to the article, there’s going to be a full extravaganza on BBC on Monday
What is the reaction that we get everytime that a new part of the internet gets bad publicity? Shut it down! What about the children! The sky is falling! and a rise in the price of oil. Never quite figured out how the last part happens, but it always seems to.
I am now getting officially worried about the policing of the internet. I remember a series of posts at the turn of the new year (links absent, too lazy) that talked about the big cable/phone companies regulating traffic and charging for movement on the internet. I can but imagine that some control of traffic will naturally come along with that. At the risk of receiving a tin-foil hat in my inbox tomorrow deals are usually made when two people have something they want to trade. The government is going to want to control this access. The companies are definetely going to want to make as much money as they can from the internet.
Sounds like a deal to me.
So what can we do? Same as ever. Educate. Chase away bad air with bright metal. Fight the power.
What we can do is realize that the arguments we all make about access to computers, About freedom being about responsibility, that one needs to come with the other, and this being one of the greatest things that blogging will teach our students. About how collaboration dispels fears. How trying to shut down the system has only ever sent somewhere else, somewhere less controllable. These arguments are important. And even if some of you get tired of saying it over and over again. That audience is still out there that needs to hear it.
I think the fine work you are all doing is important. Please. Keep it up.