The Myth of Internet Freedom

Stare Into the Lights My Pretties

Jordan Brown (2017)

Film Review

This documentary takes an honest look at the dark side of what they call “screen culture.” The notion that the Internet is “free” is a total myth propagated by the corporate PR industry. The Internet has maximized corporate power more than any other technology, while significantly accelerating globalization.  It also enables government and corporations to spy on virtually every aspect of our lives

The overall premise of the film is that technology never arises in a vacuum. Although falsely portrayed as fulfilling our needs and desires., it ALWAYS serves the ideology and interests of ruling elites who pay for its development. Moreover once people allow new technology into their lives, it changes the way they think.

In Stare Into the Lights My Pretties, neuroscientists express concern about the harmful effect of six-plus hours a day of screen time on concentration, memory, problem solving, empathy and collective awareness.

Far more alarming, though, are the social control aspects of screen culture, all the while masquerading as Internet freedom.

Previously I had no idea of the absolute gatekeeping function of giant monopolies like Google and Facebook in filtering information that reaches individual Internet users. Despite the apparent wealth of information that bombards us via the Internet, the average American is less knowledgeable about US foreign and domestic affairs than prior to the 1990s Internet explosion. This mainly relates to sophisticated algorithms used by Google, Facebook, Yahoo News and even the Huffington Post, Washington Post and New York Times to selectively show us information they think we want to see (based on our clicking behavior).

I suddenly understand why climate deniers are so unshakable in their beliefs. When they search for the term, “climate change,” they end up with a totally different set of articles than I do – thus strongly reinforcing their existing beliefs.

Other more sinister elements of this social control relate to sophisticated behavioral modification techniques that addict us to our screens and to get us to click on specific sites and remain there as long as possible. When we use the Internet, we get confused what the real product is. The real product isn’t the web content we are offered – the real product is us and the massive amount of data collected every time we go online. This, in turn, is sold on to corporate advertisers who use it to entice us to buy their products.




2 thoughts on “The Myth of Internet Freedom

  1. “corporate advertisers who use it to entice us to buy their products.”

    So true! If you initiate a search for say…..a coat and you go to a website that sells coats, every single time you click on another site, advertisements of that site selling coats just magically appears. I made the mistake of doing something similar and I was bombarded with what I had searched for. I needed a new basket for my walker and oh my goodness, walker baskets were everywhere, even in my email because email service providers are advertising when I check my email. It is all over the place. You cannot escape advertising: the push to get you to forever be in the process of buying, buying, buying. If they can’t get you by way of TV ads, ads in the mail, then it’s all over your computer screen. No wonder most of us are mindless shopping drones. They don’t even keep it subtle. It is in our face all the time!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I found this film really scary, Shelby, especially all the scenes of people walking around glued to their screens and ignoring the people around them. I have a friend who strictly limits the screen time of her 10 year old daughter – and I understand now why she does so. She also refuses to buy her a cellphone even though most of the girl’s friends have them. At least when children are at home, you can try to teach them a little about interpersonal relationships and finding other ways to entertain themselves. My advice to parents would be to limit and postpone access to Smartphones as long as humanly possible. They set 18 as the legal age to use cannabis in states where it’s legal. 21 is the legal age to use alcohol. Smartphone are so horribly addicting that states should really make laws setting 18 as the minimum legal age to own one. Enacting a sin tax on them like they do on alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis would also be an excellent idea.


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