Crikey readers reacted yesterday to Bernard Keane’s lament on the current state of the internet — something that held the promise of freedom a decade ago but has since become a breeding ground for intolerance and a tool of state control. While some readers saw it as inevitable, others weren’t so convinced that all was lost. Elsewhere, readers discussed the sticky issue of a state response to the rise of fascism.

On cleaning up the internet

Laurie Patton writes: One of the reasons why I left Internet Australia was the naive insistence of well-meaning geeks that the internet should be above any form of extra-governmental oversight. This wondrous “left brain” thinking has led to a situation where online behaviour now crosses a line in ways that simply would not be tolerated offline. It’s time to clean up the internet.

Sybille Davidson: Surely it’s the very anonymity factor that allows people to not only misbehave but to be devious, underhand antisocial and get away with it. Sociology 101 teaches you that parents, families, schools and communities are the traditional system for civilising and socialising the young developing individual. Human behaviour within a local community was always closely scrutinised. This formative constraint falls by the wayside within the internet. How does it make sense to have such a platform open to all the devious minds of the world? Not rocket science to see why the facility fails in the end.

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Desmond Graham writes: The internet is in its infancy and is still evolving. As part of that evolution users will find ways around the data sets and algorithms. Security agencies are not short of data — they are overwhelmed with it rendering the utility ineffectual. 

On the necessary response to fascism

Bruce Hassan writes: While I understand the sentiment, I think this is skirting the edge of a very deep abyss. How long before someone decides that champions of erasure should be erased (for the greater good, of course). We need to face the truth about what creates supremacists, and take heed of the whispering in our own hearts, we can’t just deny their existence and pretend them away.

Justin Wood writes: Emphatically agreed on all counts. Except I still can’t help liking it when Nazis get punched in the face…

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to boss@crikey.com.au. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name if you would like to be considered for publication.

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