Europeans have always been more outspoken about government and social issues than U.S. citizens. Every time I’ve traveled abroad, I hear how lazy we are when it comes to knowing what’s going on around us. For whatever reason, European intellectuals always seem to get off quizzing us on what’s going on right under our own noses, and it’s a bit disconcerting when you find out they were right, or that many of us don’t seem to care. Many of my friends fear the political dialectic and refuse to engage in topics that might bring a conversation to a higher pitch. Yet travel overseas and they view us like fresh meat ready to be broiled in our lack of juices for hot debate.
So if you’re waiting for anything like an Arab Spring, stateside, get a grip.
When Heather Brooke, the U.S. born 40 something journalist, not the porn star, returned to her parents homeland in the UK to work as an investigative journalist, she wasted little time uncovering the “sexing” up of information that led to their entry into the Iraq war in an inquiry known as the Hutton scandal. At the same time, using the 2000 Freedom of Information Act and going after MP’s to discover wealth simply unimaginable given their salaries and income, she took on the entire British government. In spite of the foot-dragging and firewalls put up to hide the antics of the corrupt British Parliament, she managed to bring down the lot and get Gordon Brown disgraced along with a dozen or so cronies. All for what many thought was standard operating procedure – false expense accounts.
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I’m not sure where Ms. Brooke gets all her energy but she has completed her third book, in stores now, and is systematically uncovering things an entire industry and the U.S. Government hasn’t been able to make heads or tails of the last dozen years. In her most recent work, titled “The Revolution Will Be Digitized,” she looks at “the world of computer hackers, internet whistleblowers and pro-democracy campaigners” and include in-depth research on WikiLeaks. Brooke stated “It was clear to me from my own reporting and campaigning around freedom of information that society is undergoing a radical transformation. The amount of knowledge in the world is now so vast and technology so adept at zero-cost duplication that no government, company or organization can hope to keep control.” She went on to say that, “When I met Julian Assange of WikiLeaks he was still a little-known figure but his stories of battles fought to free information and ambitions to free even more in future spurred me to begin writing this book.”  The book will be released in trade paperback on 25 August 2011 and have a QR code on the cover to link to “exclusive content about the book—including video, audio, interviews and photographs taken by Brooke”.
Today in a piece in Huffington Post , she writes, “corporations and governments are a “customer” for information, and they want it for a reason: “It’s trying to predict the behaviour of different people and it’s making decisions about who it thinks are going to be trouble makers, not based on what you’ve actually done but based on what they think you’re going to do in the future.” Well sure we knew this and as either loyal patriot act followers, or losers too lazy to question our idiotic leaders, we sat back and watched the stock market or soap operas or reality TV shows and did nothing. So now, and we know this because we’re inundated daily with companies trying to sell us worthless crap, everything and anything you want to know that is tied to your FB account, your IP address or your various email addresses is on the open market. Whether it is the government that chooses to use it, or some banker trying to skip your mortgage into the dumpster, even if it’s not behind, you really don’t have anyone to blame but yourself.
We know this and have been warning folks for years that whatever you put on the Internet is not only visible to anyone who wants it, but it’s being homogenized and pasteurized for mass consumption. I have known people who have been working around the clock to merge seemingly meaningless data to individuals for the purpose of exploiting the massive information overload many ceased to care about years ago. Check out our past stories at http://tek-blogs.com/a/atvwa4 and http://tek-blogs.com/a/k8ndei if you really do want to do something about the systemic drive to monetize all that is you and your profile.
For years now I’ve defended WikiLeaks and demanded those calling for a hanging of its founder Julian Assange give him a fair shake. After reading what she has said, giving credence to the cliché’s about absolute power corrupting absolutely, I am wondering, if he too hasn’t somehow bought into his own facade. Brooke claims to be taking a break, to be writing a novel, but I say she hook up with someone like Elizabeth Warren and find a way to get to the bottom of what’s ailing the U.S. After all, no one here seems to want any part of it.