|By Alan Hall, originally published in the June 2011 Socionomist|
The U.S. Congress continues its campaign to control the Internet. The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (“PROTECT IP Act”) threatens “domain seizures, ISP blockades, search engine censorship, and cutting funding of allegedly copyright infringing websites,” taking Internet censorship to the next level.3
In the U.K., the conflict is evident in a pitched battle between privacy legislation advocates and those who support Internet freedoms. “Super-injunctions” are legal gag orders that prohibit the British press from reporting details of secret information or even the existence of the injunction. “Hyper-injunctions” go a step further and prohibit divulging information to journalists, lawyers or members of Parliament. But try getting Twitter and Facebook users to play along:
The internet backlash against super-injunctions continued to grow yesterday as the identities of celebrities who are said to have taken out gagging orders were revealed on Facebook.4
Amid calls for Parliament to develop stronger privacy laws, anti-authoritarian sentiment is plain to see:
One [Facebook] poster said it was “wrong” that wealthy celebrities were allowed to use Britain’s courts to hide details of their private lives. He said, “It is awesome that they are being exposed.”4
In China, according to USA Today, the government has recently started an “office to control 457 million Internet users.” The country already blocks Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. One expert on Chinese media says the ruling Communist Party now wants “to reassert the party’s monopoly on news.” Another expert says the new State Internet Information Office “will give leaders a greater degree of comfort that everything is under control.”5■
3U.S. to introduce draconian anti-piracy censorship bill. Torrentfreak.com, Retrieved from http://torrentfreak.com/u-s-to-introduce-draconian-anti-piracy-censorship-bill-110511/ on May 24, 2011.
4Porter, A. (2011, May 11). Super-injunctions: Web ‘making mockery’ of privacy laws. The Telegraph, Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/8505126/Super-injunctions-web-making-mockery-of-privacy-laws.html on May 24, 2011.
5MacLeod, Callum (2011, May 10). China starts office to control 457 million internet users. USA Today, Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-05-09-china-Internet_n.htm?csp=YahooModule_Money on May 24, 2011.
The Socionomist is designed to help readers understand and anticipate waves of social mood. We also present the latest essays in the field of socionomics, the study of social mood; we anticipate that many of the hypotheses will be subjected to scientific testing in future scholarly studies.
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Most economists, historians and sociologists presume that events determine society’s mood. But socionomics hypothesizes the opposite: that social mood determines the character of social events. The events of history—such as investment booms and busts, political events, macroeconomic trends and even peace and war—are the products of a naturally occurring pattern of social-mood fluctuation. Such events, therefore, are not randomly distributed, as is commonly believed, but are in fact probabilistically predictable. Socionomics also posits that the stock market is the best available meter of a society’s aggregate mood, that news is irrelevant to social mood, and that financial and economic decision-making are fundamentally different in that financial decisions are motivated by the herding impulse while economic choices are guided by supply and demand. For more information about socionomic theory, see (1) the text, The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior © 1999, by Robert Prechter; (2) the introductory documentary History's Hidden Engine; (3) the video Toward a New Science of Social Prediction, Prechter’s 2004 speech before the London School of Economics in which he presents evidence to support his socionomic hypothesis; and (4) the Socionomics Institute’s website, www.socionomics.net. At no time will the Socionomics Institute make specific recommendations about a course of action for any specific person, and at no time may a reader, caller or viewer be justified in inferring that any such advice is intended.