It is clear that governments the world over do not quite understand social media. They certainly don't know how to use it properly. Because of that they are suspicious, fear and would dearly love to put an end to it.
All governments are taking steps to control the internet and as a consequence the people that use it. The United States, Britain and China probably have the most potential control at the moment but as yet haven't exerted any real force. Where as China can just use blunt force as and when they feel it is necessary, the United States and Britain are introducing a raft of quiet little laws that seriously erode civil liberties. The European Union are doing the same.
One of the excuses Western governments are using are laws that protect intellectual rights, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). ACTA started life secretively until WikiLeaks exposed it in 2008. The plan of signatories to ACTA was always to have Orwellian powers over internet users. It is still the case.
Let us have a quick look at who and what ACTA is supposedly designed to protect. Hollywood producers and distributors, the music industry and broadcasters. Why would governments be bothered with them? They rarely pay tax anywhere, using creative Hollywood Accounting (it has a name all of its own) methods to show losses when vast profits were actually made.
Long gone are the days when one had to listen or read the news supplied by a very limited number of elite media outlets. Facts and political slant are no longer the reserve of the rich and powerful. Someone's fact is another person's lie. Now the number of outlets is almost infinite, especially as the internet is now interlinked with computers and telephones of all varieties.
The poorest, most uneducated citizen can now be the source of very important World changing news. It only takes one person to be in the right place at the right time.
The history of knowledge of current affairs is steeped in censorship. In the Middle Ages most people could read; their lives depended on it because of the local notices that were posted in every town and village square.
The Church controlled politics by instilling ignorance on the masses. Even early kings and queens were illiterate and relied on advisers, usually clerics, to do their reading and writing. The peasantry were taught those aspects of the Holy Bible that priests wished them to know about. Even then it was in Latin so still generally remained secret.
What was the reaction? The Church hated it. They understood all too well what was about to happen. The Holy Bible would be translated and become easily and cheaply available to the masses. The Church's control of the people slipped and as a result a new dawn of discovery was born.
Ironically we are returning to the Middle Ages regarding information; or that is what the authorities wants to happen. Governments the world over are gaining the upper hand at the same time as their citizens are beginning to realise exactly where they stand.
As British citizens we are snooped upon, not only by our government, but by others with their approval. The Tories are bringing in new laws regarding surveillance and cyber intelligence gathering. All they are doing is regularising what has been going on in the past making it easier to carry out more direct action against individuals or groups and to use the proceeds in law. But the new laws will be venal in the wrong hands.
Funnily enough the Government's push to roll out fibre optic broadband and 4G telephony will make it far easier to control social media and the internet.
While government chooses to be totally corrupt, inept and self-serving there will be large numbers of citizens who will challenge the system. Parliament should be looking at the enemy within and cease being paranoid about a perceived threat outside.