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The Internet is broadcasting, therefore let us regulate!

The new Broadcasting Act, Bill C10, may be stymied in the Senate of Canada, but the actual content of its policy objectives has just been released. Heritage Canada has published “Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content online”. The Guiding Principles have several advantages over the policy objectives of section 3 of the Broadcasting Act. They are not legislated, they can be revised and adapted according to the how the technologies or the societies that adopt them evolve, and they have no legally binding force. They have only the force of the large platforms to back them, if they sign on to the Guiding Principles.

It was Tim Wu in The Master Switch who pointed out that the structure of an industry mattered a lot more than any other factor in determining whether there could be censorship. Vertical integration of the movie-making business with distribution and movie theaters meant that the censors could govern the industry through the code of conduct, one that lasted from Mae West in the 1930s to Easy Rider in the 1960s.

The basic idea of the Guiding Principles is the achievement of diversity, equity and inclusion. It is a set of principles that its signatories are expected to work towards. The most important signatories will be the Internet platforms, because without their compliance, the Principles will be mere hot air.

The private sector companies to which the guiding principles are to apply particularly include “services operating online, whose primary purpose is to broadcast or distribute content or share user-generated content online.” Governments, media sector representatives, regulators and civil society organizations are likewise to be included as signatories.

The goal is to promote diversity on-line, understood as

  • Creation access and discoverability of diverse content online
  • Fair remuneration and economic viability of content creators
  • Promotion of diverse, pluralistic sources of news and information as well as resilience against disinformation and misinformation
  • Transparency of the impacts if algorithmic treatments of online content.

 

Signatories are to agree to implement these goals within the scope of their responsibilities and to develop specific commitments by December 2022 at the latest, to show concrete actions they will take to implement these guiding objectives”.

There follow a number of principles which assume, as a matter of fact, that

  1. There are “equity deserving groups” whose access is limited
  2. Hate, racial prejudice, disinformation and misinformation “can disproportionately affect indigenous people and equity deserving groups”.
  3. “Equity deserving individuals and groups” are defined as those facing significant barriers to participation in different facets of society, a marginalization that could be created by attitudinal, historic, social, economic, legal and environmental obstacles.

Having seen the cartoons of the kids of various heights standing on boxes of various heights to see the baseball game over a wooden fence, “equity” may reasonably be interpreted to mean active measures to overcome the consequences of inequalities, natural or artificial. The term ‘equity’ involves, in modern parlance, an ongoing governmental interference to achieve goals that might not otherwise be achieved in the absence of governmental actions.

The Principles are organized around themes:

  • Creation access and discoverability of content
  • Fair remuneration and economic viability of content creators
  • Promotion of diverse, pluralistic sources of news and information as well as resilience against disinformation and misinformation
  • Transparency of the impacts of algorithmic treatments of online content.

 

The last-mentioned goal says that “content recommendation algorithms and their developers should minimize potential systemic biases and discrimination in outcome, related to such things as race, sexual orientation, gender identity and ability.”

Content recommendation algorithms now seek to interest me in what is related to what I have previously expressed an interest in. If I have expressed interest in videos of Andrew Camarata fixing bulldozers, the algorithm is likely to recommend other machine-oriented males fixing tractors, chainsaws, and building log cabins. Inevitably the algorithms will direct me to things of interest to males, such as myself. I imagine the same happens with videos on golf, tastes in music, physics, flower gardens, or cooking, Japanese art or any taste whatever. How then, it may be asked, will an algorithm correct for systemic bias in male oriented videos if I am a male, and female oriented videos if I were female?

The Guiding Principles do not say, but they expect content recommendation systems to “respect freedom of expression in a way that allows for safe and diverse content.” In other words, safety and diversity, as defined by governments or the platforms, are to constrain freedom of expression.

The Guiding Principles are a kind of Broadcasting Act for the Internet, or a set of objectives that the platforms are expected to implement  By this I mean that the system it envisages is systemic, organized, comprehensive, global (as far as Canadians will see) and subject to government regulation, and that in Annex A to this document, the signatories are expected to develop by December 2022 at the latest “concrete actions they will take to complement the guiding principles.  These specific commitments will remain evergreen and continue to evolve”.

The great advantages for the government, in its efforts to regulate the Internet, are that the Principles utterly bypass legislation, need no Parliamentary approval, require the cooperation of the platforms but not of society, and subject large areas of private tastes to algorithmic manipulation.

The Guiding Principles are creepily totalitarian, and yet one imagines the authors of this document think of themselves as being great public benefactors. In order to explain what I mean, I ask you, as a thought experiment, to replace the content of the particular goals to be achieved by the guiding principles. Look at the whole thing, and ask yourself what the document, conceived as a whole, says. It says in short, that speech carried across the Internet is to serve particular purposes. All speech, everywhere, that is carried on the Internet.

Agreement or disagreement with the guiding principles as they are stated is less important than the whole purpose of the document. Take out the language about diversity, equity and inclusion (the new modern woke credo) and replace it, in this thought experiment, with any other set of goals to be achieved. These goals could be anything: the divinity of Christ, the supremacy of the Aryan race, the sanctity of the Roman Church, the triumph of scientific socialism, the grandeur of the Aztec Sky God Huitchilopotchtli, the preservation of the British Empire, or the values of the Enlightenment. So let [x] stand for the content of the Guiding Principles. Forget whether you agree with them or not. Just think of the Guiding Principles as a block of ideas that can be lifted out and replaced with some other set of desiderata. In effect, by calling the Principles an evergreen document, Heritage Canada virtually guarantees that they will be revised in time.

Then perhaps it becomes clearer that my point is not the DEI principles, though they are creepy enough. It is the idea that everything on-line should be aimed at any guiding principle at all.

Would you think it normal that the publishing industry in Canada be enjoined to publish books that exclusively promote a certain political agenda?

Would you think it right that speech across various telephone and voice applications be organized to conduce to the achievement of diversity, equity and inclusion?

To make the point even clearer, I recall the story of a Canadian diplomat who served in the Soviet Union, as it then was, in the Brezhnev era. I asked whether there was freedom of speech in the Soviet Union. He said ‘yes there was, absolute freedom of speech’. I was startled.

-What do you mean absolute freedom of speech?!!

– If you are out on the ice fishing in winter, and in your shelter, and out of range of prying microphones, and talking with people whom you have known all your life or from high school, and you have developed trust over decades, you can talk about anything. And they do. They talk about stuff no one talks about here, like whether Hitler was right to invade Stalin’s USSR, or whether Communism is a pile of crap, or whether the USA is actually imperialist. There is complete freedom of discussion. You just have to be careful with whom and where you share your ideas.

People need to look at the Guiding Principles from this perspective. Canada will have complete freedom of speech. Just not the kind we have been used to. Thank you, Peter Grant.

 

Bill C10 – Internet censorship coming to a site you read

For some time now I have been tweeting and organizing resistance to Bill C-10. This has kept me busy in my personal capacity, as it were, and Dalwhinnie has had to take back seat to my public-facing self.

I have learned or been reminded of several truths in the course of the past few weeks, but first let me tell you about the bill.

There are two modes of communications, legally speaking. On the one hand, there are speech and writing, film production, and others which occur without prior permission from the state. You write what you want and assume responsibility after publication for slander, criminal conspiracy, obscenity, and other legal liabilities. Then there is that creature of the twentieth century, called broadcasting, which requires a licence from the state. You broadcast under conditions established for a particular class of speaker, one who is assumed to be few in number talking to hundreds of thousands who are limited in their choice of “stations”. This was the original rationale for broadcasting regulation,  few-to-many, one way and which used airwaves that interfered with one another unless carefully assigned by central authority.

It will be readily understood that every advance of electronic communications has served to increase the number of stations, from three to seven to thirty to fifty, to the Internet. The internet has exploded the number of speakers into the millions, or tens of millions. With new forms of addressing, such as IPv6, the number of “stations” will be in the trillions.

Despite this, Canadian law still treats the Internet as a form of “broadcasting”, a licensable activity that for thirty years the government had the wisdom not to touch. Previous CRTC decisions had said that regulating the Internet as broadcasting was superfluous and unneeded. These decisions of the CRTC claimed jurisdiction over the Internet but did not exercise it.

Now that restraint has been overthrown. In a search for revenue from web giants, and egged on by the Canadian cultural organizations – the ones who feed on television productions subsidies – the government, led by the Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbault, has plunged recklessly into a gigantic extension of federal authority over communications.

Bill C10, which is a series of amendments to the Broadcasting Act, would treat

  • all websites
  • all user-generated uploads to social media sites

as “broadcasting”, that is, occasions where you could be regulated by the CRTC. The difference is that, in the case of user generated content uploaded to platforms, you would not be the broadcaster, the platform would be the broadcaster. This would outsource government control and censorship to the large platforms, who would act under CRTC or other government regulations.

This website, and all others, commercial, artistic, political, would be treated as broadcasting if they were “predominantly” -word undefined – audio-visual rather than printed in nature. It is not difficult to imagine that by bit count alone, and by inclusion of a few video inserts, a newspaper would become a “broadcaster”, in the same way that a podcaster is now, according to this Bill, a radio station.

It reaches the absurdity of a zoom call among church attendees being considered broadcasting, and subject to federal regulation. Will “balance” in religious programming be imposed on church services? Will the imam share time in the pulpit? If you think this is absurd, you don’t know the CRTC.

 

The authors of C10 are seeking to jam the internet into the form of broadcasting, rather than make  broadcasting conform to the Internet.

It is readily evident that a large number of issues will remain undecided by the bill itself and that years of hearings and lawsuits will ensue, including challenges to the constitutionality of the bill, on several grounds.

But back to the tweetstorm.

The public debate on this bill took a while to get started, for several reasons. The first is that members of Parliament are not clever lawyers on the whole, and it took them a while to scope out the extent of the government’s ambitions. Both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP favour large public subsidies to their unionized buddies in the TV production industry. The Liberals favour their own guy and they are not averse to totalitarian controls on the Internet, it seems. That left the Conservatives to slowly appreciate that the Liberals had handed them a major electoral campaign issue if they wanted it. They finally realized what the bill meant to ordinary Canadians. And ordinary Canadians are waking up.

This state of affairs was changed only by professors of communications, like Michael Geist, members of the Internet Society of canada, and former CRTC commissioners such as Peter Menzies, Konrad von Finckensten and Timothy Denton to write op-eds in papers until the latter woke up to the notion that they would become “broadcasters” if this bill passed. Open Media got involed and that meant that the political left started to agitate against it. As one wit said of the left-right alliance on C10: “we want to be able to shout at each other without the state refereeing.”

The ignorance of the press on this issue has been astounding, if you were not already cynical about their capacity to understand issues. They had to be told in black and white what the Act said, and even then they still hesitated to get it.

The opinion battle among the elites has taken place principally on Twitter. Throughout, the motives of those opposed to the Bill have been questioned. Vast conspiracies have been imagined by the proponents of the bill, sponsored by the likes of Google and Facebook. It has not occured to them that people could actually freely spend time opposing the bill because of principled concerns for freedom of speech. If you speak only for money, it comes as a shock that people will speak and write for no money at all.

Not once have the arguments of the opponents of the bill ever been frontally addressed. Not once. The Minister has been reduced to blithering incoherence on several occasions by being asked factual questions about what the Bill plainly says. It is as if he had not read his own bill, or did not understand it. A reasoned defence of the Bill has been missing. It might have been attempted, but was not, largely because to address the issues would be to deal with some real concerns that the bill’s proponents would rather not discuss.

The TV production and other recipients of cultural largesse in Canada have only tweeted their unanimous support for C10. (Canada spens about as much money on cultural subsidies overall as we spend on the Candain navy). The French Canadians, it would appear, have no concerns for freedom of speech, and seem not to understand what English Canadians are going on about. Their confidence in a federal institution, the CRTC, to decide matters of cultural concern to them, appears to be unbounded. We are confidently told by those who feel they understand Quebec that even to raise these concerns with them is a provocation.

Normally a story has a two or three day run. The C10 issue has occupied weeks of media attention, and won’t go away because it constitutes an immense assault upon historic rights of free speech won by revolutions and bloodshed in the 17th and 18th centuries, revolutions that passed French Canada by. It remains to be seen whether the Liberals have handed the Conservatives a winning election issue or not. But if enough people say they will die on this hill, not even the federal Liberals can overcome the resolve of the nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Perry Barlow

Mother American Night: My Life in Crazy Times by [Barlow, John Perry, Greenfield, Robert]

The Insanely Eventful Life of Grateful Dead Lyricist John Perry Barlow

A posthumous memoir from a mutant genius

Mother American Night: My Life in Crazy Times, by John Perry Barlow with Robert Greenfield, Crown Archetype, 288 pages, $27

John Perry Barlow, who died this year at age 70, was a Grateful Dead lyricist, a pioneer in the fight for online civil liberties, and possibly a mutant. As Barlow recounts in his posthumously published memoir, Mother American Night, his mother as a girl was treated for tuberculosis by a quack who administered a prolonged beam of X-rays right into her hip. Forty-five minutes of this treatment gave her radiation sickness. Her hair fell out, she suffered severe burns, and she was informed that, oops, she’d been sterilized.

The sterilization didn’t take. Two decades later, in 1947, she gave birth to John Perry Barlow. One of his X-Men superpowers seems to have been to unerringly locate centers of the American zeitgeist and discover some pivotal role he could play in them.

John Perry Barlow 1947 – 2018

John Perry Barlow was the founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He died in his sleep at the age of 70 on February 7th. He was a person with whom I wish I could have spent more time. He did a great deal of good on his life.
At a time when the freedom to express oneself on the Internet or anywhere else is under attack, it is important to recall that there is an issue on which liberals and conservatives ought not to differ. Free speech is one of them.
His obituary on the EFF website says of him:

Barlow’s lasting legacy is that he devoted his life to making the Internet into “a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth . . . a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.”

The late John Perry Barlow was a songwriter with the Grateful Dead in his earlier days. Here is a link to his compositions.

————————

When one considers that free speech is now associated with speech that the Muslims and the Left do not like, with “weaponized” discourse, according to the National Post article this morning, it is more than ever imperative to recognize friends of free speech wherever they may be found.

Joseph Brean reports in the National Post:

Traditional free speech advocates are reconsidering the status quo they helped create, in which hate speech is only a Criminal Code charge that requires political approval, and so is rarely prosecuted. There is even talk of resurrecting the defunct and much maligned ban on internet hate speech, Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The latest example was a lecture this week by Omar Mouallem, an Edmonton journalist and board member of free expression group PEN Canada, in which he argued online racists have “weaponized” free speech against Muslims, and Canada should consider a new anti-hate law to stop them.

 

I have said it repeatedly, that the end goal of Islam and the political Left is identical: a fear-driven and conformitarian orthodoxy. They differ in that the ideology in Islam is constant, whereas with the Left it changes daily. I have no doubt that both are pernicious, but which will prevail is as yet unknown.

To the memory of John Perry Barlow, friend of man and friend of freedom. We need more like him. The fight is never over.

Obituary in the Guardian.
The Rolling Stone obituary.

CBC makes a fool of itself – again

Today, May 14th, the “Tops News Headlines” section of the CBC website has the following headline on top: “More people could be hit by global ‘ransomware’ cyberattack Monday, police agency warns”.

Do the CBC reporters not read news from other sources? Consider the following news item which was on the BBC website yesterday.

Global cyber-attack: Security blogger halts ransomware ‘by accident’

Yes, this particular cyberattack is over. For some background here are some relevant tweets, in chronological order, from the twitter feed @MalwareTechBlog. This Twitter handle is registered to the guy who accidentally stopped this cyberattack.

May 12

From what I can gather the NHS ransomware is WannaCrypt (wcry) spreading using P2P exploitation of SMB with leaked NSA exploit.

May 12

Some analysts are suggesting by sinkholing the domain we stopped the infection? Can anyone confirm?

Retweeted

propagation payload contains previously unregistered domain, execution fails now that domain has been sinkholed

Retweeted

Infections for WannaCry/WanaDecrpt0r are down due to registering initial C2 domain leading to kill-switch

May 12

I will confess that I was unaware registering the domain would stop the malware until after i registered it, so initially it was accidental.

May 12

So long as the domain isn’t revoked, this particular strain will no longer cause harm, but patch your systems ASAP as they will try again.

  3h3 hours ago

Thanks to who found what looks like a new ‘kill switch’ domain and who registered it and transferred it to our sinkhole.

Retweeted

My bad – finished analyzing all worm mods we have and they all have the kill switch inside. No version without a kill-switch yet.

Yes CBC, you read that right. This “particular strain” of cyberattack is over because the virus will go check for the domain name and execution will fail. A new cyberattack will require a different virus code which doesn’t rely on checking for the status of this domain name. You should have known this two days ago.

It is strange that after every Ottawa Senators playoff game this season, CBC has been able to find “8 tweets that defined Game….“, but the reporters cannot find tweets relevant to other news.

Doomsday and archiving human knowledge

Doomsday vault:

In the side of a mountain atop the frigid wastelands of the Norway’s Svalbard archipelago sits the Arctic ‘doomsday vault’ – an ominous facility that’s locked away close to a million seed samples from almost every country on Earth.

Designed to keep the seeds safe from nuclear war or some other global catastrophe, the Svalbard Global Seed Bank just got a new neighbour, with a second doomsday vault opening up nearby. But instead of storing seeds, this vast library has been built to ensure the survival of the world’s most important books, documents, and data….

Oddly enough, instead of taking advantage of the most advanced data security systems available, researchers at Piql have opted for a more analogue approach – they store everything on photosensitive film, which they say is a far safer option than anything digitised.

“It’s digital data preserved, written onto photosensitive film,” Piql founder Rune Bjerkestrand told Live Science. 

“So we write data as basically big QR codes on films.”

The idea is that while digital data is stored on our computers as codes of 1s and 0s, analogue data is physically etched into reels of film, and can be ‘read’ like the bumps on a vinyl record.

As Bjerkestrand observes, it’s like having your data “carved in stone.”

Hopefully this technology will keep the material more accessible than the multimedia version of the English Domesday Book which had its problems with technology, even though the original from 11th century is still readable. The BBC Domesday Project was the multimedia edition of Domesday which was compiled between 1984 and 1986 and published in 1986 but within 15-years it was showing its age.

In 2002, there were great fears that the discs would become unreadable as computers capable of reading the format had become rare and drives capable of accessing the discs even rarer. Aside from the difficulty of emulating the original code, a major issue was that the still images had been stored on the laserdisc as single-frame analogue video, which were overlaid by the computer system’s graphical interface. The project had begun years before JPEG image compression and before truecolour computer video cards had become widely available….

The deputy editor of the Domesday Project, Mike Tibbets, has criticized the UK’s National Data Archive to which the archive material was originally entrusted, arguing that the creators knew that the technology would be short-lived but that the archivists had failed to preserve the material effectively.

The imperturbable smugness

smugness1

 

 

The sad decline of the National Post from a conservative newspaper into the Canadian voice of Wall Street continues. I take some comfort that the first rate minds, such as Conrad Black’s and Rex Murphy’s, continue to see that the impetus behind Trump is the conclusion that things have gone seriously wrong in the United States and in the world more generally. Whether they support Trump, as Conrad does, or sympathize with the reasons why others do, as Rex Murphy does, they are at least talking about the world that we see before us.

To highlight the bad news and the nonsense:

  • incomes have stagnated since 2007, and there has been no robust recovery from the looting of the economy by Wall Street;
  • factories have closed to foreign competition and those jobs are not coming back;
  • the elites seem more concerned with non-existent global warming and the benign effects of more CO2 in the atmosphere than they are with Islamic terrorism and jihad;
  • consequent to the global warming fixation, our energy polices are needlessly raising prices of home heating and lighting as massive amounts of money are transferred from ratepayers to agencies favoured by the political class;
  • American black males are killing each other in large numbers, but this has become unmentionable; it is all the white man’s fault, especially the cops’, hence the doublespeak coming out of Obama’s mouth on the subject of violence directed at American  policemen;
  • worst, the moral inversion of the ruling classes has reached such a point that right has become wrong, so for example, citing a statistic about anything contrary to the “Narrative” is a firing offence. The Narrative has become the agreed set of lies, and the agreement lasts for but a  moment. The Narrative changes, weekly if necessary, to the interests of the ruling classes, which happen to be ‘liberal’ in the American sense of the word and Democratic.
  • hence, in the Narrative, white people, particularly Christian white people, are the epicentre of the world’s evil, and they are to be held to account for the criminality, laziness, and uselessness of large portions of America’s black population, and much else besides.
  • Other people are in general, accounted to be Victims, and Victims are sacred to the leftist mind. Hence the sacralization of American blacks proceeds, despite all evidence of  disproportionate criminality and uselessness of a large portion of the African American tribe. The criminality is only the expression of resistance to white hegemony.

Today’s Post carries a clever article by Michael den Tandt, which praises Donald Trump as the ultimate scaremonger.

Quite the contrary; the United States I know is a land of peace, plenty and generosity, populated by people who are with very few exceptions friendly, courteous, law-abiding and kind to strangers.

The northeastern economy has been hit hard by factory closings, no question, and income inequality has spiked since 2008. But even so the U.S. remains the world’s most vibrant democracy and largest economy, possessed of the world’s most powerful military, by far. It has no enemy, foreign or domestic, that comes close to posing a threat to its existence.

Yet you, through the alchemy of your rage and the echo chamber of social media, have managed to persuade millions of your fellow citizens that the opposite is true. You are the first American politician to tap into the millennialism that has infused Western culture for the past 25 years. And you may just turn the world upside down as a result. Bravo sir. Bravo.

It is not what the United States is or remains, it is the perceived direction, Mr. den Tandt. It may seem to you, from the deck of whatever club you drink at in summer, that all is well in the best of all possible worlds. Maybe after a drink or two you might be compelled to admit that the Muslim Thing is worrying, or maybe not. Maybe you could be induced to admit that family incomes have been stagnant or declining in real terms for a decade. Maybe the cop assassinations in the United States would concern you.  Perhaps the energy policies being pursued to save us all from what is, to you and your kind, scientifically proven global warming might seem expensive or even foolish. Yet nothing that happens seems to penetrate the imperturbable smugness.

I have arrived at a deeper mystery than the depressing fatuity of most of the National Post. I have arrived at the core  of the question that disturbs me about politics in this time. Why, despite everything happening: stagnation, jihadist killings in Europe, uncontrolled immigration in the United States, to name the principal causative factors, why is the governing class so smug? Why?

Is my trigger level extraordinarily low? Do I perceive threats earlier than others? Is a conservative in my sense a person who smells the smoke before others, who hears the footfalls of the intruder before his sleeping wife? That could well be true. I do not deny my alarms are always ready to go off, that I am, in Mrs. Dalwhinnie’s phrase, ‘the canary in the coal mine’.

But I do not think it takes some special degree of perspicacity to be alarmed at massive Muslim immigration into Europe, or the fact that, because of Islamic immigration,  everywhere is becoming like Israel. I do not think it takes special insight to see that our children are having a tougher time than we did to establish themselves economically. I do not see how one can fail to perceive that “white people need not apply” has become unremarkable.

The left wing thing, whatever it is – and I do not really understand it – seems to think that we can invert the moral hierarchy of Victorian England: male, white, Christian, protestant, and somehow reach the egalitarian Utopia they claim to love. On the contrary, the newly inverted moral order that proclaims the female, the coloured, the pagan or the Islamic as the highest expression of humanity has merely inverted the moral order without changing it. Equality for everyone except white males, who have a special penance to perform for having invented the modern world.

The further effrontery of the Left is that we are all supposed to celebrate the end of “white privilege” that is to say, the liberal market democratic order we have built for the last two hundred years, and join in the slide into anarchy, poverty, racialism, and Venezuelan politics that Trump is fighting against.

Perhaps, when Mr. den Tandt considers politics from this perspective, he might agree with me that Trump is at least talking to some broadly shared concerns that do not derive from scaremongering by Trump, but from objective conditions in the political sphere.

But then he would not be so imperturbably smug.

 

 

 

The press:Internet::sailing ships:modern navies

My esteemed colleague Blair Atholl has made a point in his posting about the printing press that goes deeper than disaffection with the spinelessness of Canadian journalism, or its reflexive collective leftism.

Observations about the leftism of the press are accurate but do not address the major point of Blair Atholl’s, which is that the printing press, as a means of distribution of news and opinion on an industrial scale, is finished, and that as a means of delivering the advertizing that pays for the news, the press has been displaced by a technology which targets ads much more accurately to specialized tastes and interests. That technology is one you are reading now.

You will note that opinion of the kind you like to read, such as ours for instance, is delivered free by four people who among them have between 10 and 12 university degrees.

This rivals what either the Globe or the National Post could deliver on any given day.

All you have to do is show up at Barrelstrength, or any of your favourite opinion sites.

The price of a subscription to Barrelstrength, or Watts up with That, or Matt Ridley, is zero. How we make our livings is not your concern, nor should it be.

The doomist premise is that news of City Hall will not be collected in the new post-print dispensation; the likely outcome is that news will be collected and disseminated whether for free or for pay as long as anyone wants to know about the doings of City Hall. The technology whereby this is done is changing, and the mourning for the printing press and the journalism it generated is akin to the mourning for the navy of wooden sailing ships. They were magnificent in their time and they have gone. Navies persist.

Britain wants every book people read recorded

Sorry, wrong headline but what if that was true? How does that differ from this headline “Britain wants every website people visit recorded”?

The British government plans to make telecommunication firms keep records of every website that customers visit under a new law regulating cyber-snooping.

The draft Investigatory Powers Bill is designed to regulate authorities’ access to Internet activity, replacing a patchwork of laws, some dating from the Web’s infancy.