Estimated 2 minute read: The Crack Down on Fake News & Disinformation Should Start with Political Parties
A lot has been said about fake news in the media. There has been a lot of focus on Russian and rogue state interference in the politics of western nations including the UK and the US. Cambridge Analytica was accused of the great data hack and manipulation of voters in the US general election and in the UK Brexit vote. This is now becoming the norm. It itself is less of a shock and more of an expectation and the role of information operations and PsyOps from one nation on another has become known as the battleground for modern warfare.
Because of all this and the media interest governments around the world have rightly pointed their fingers at the tech giants of Facebook, Twitter and Google (and beyond) to accuse, demand change and demand legislation. With each of these companies taking their own stance on freedom of information and data security, and the right of expression, despite their own hypocrisies' in this.
The UK has announced new laws on tackling disinformation from fake news, criminal groups and foreign states and a new UK security force dedicated to tackling rogue information operations and carrying out offensive cyberwarfare on terrorist groups. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/gavin-williamson-ministry-of-defence-army-navy-mi6-cyber-warfare-mdp-a8676666.html
Putting aside for a second that the UK government has labelled such groups as Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace as a terrorist on their Counter Terror lists https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/17/greenpeace-included-with-neo-nazis-on-uk-counter-terror-list
And global pressures are building as Kofi Annan and others have been citing fringe groups as undermining democracy in Davos this past week https://www.reuters.com/article/us-davos-meeting-socialmedia/fringe-groups-undermine-democracy-via-social-media-kofi-annan-think-tank-idUSKBN1ZL2MG
How long before they turn these technologists on the UK “terror threats” mentioned above who dare to question them? How long before a website and social media publisher such as this, Sleepless Dystopian, who questions the “information” put out by governments and big business, who exposes the techniques and technologies used to manipulate people is labelled as a “fringe group”?
The government has said that these new powers and security forces will be focused on overseas threats to the UK but how true that is questionable based on their current record of honesty. And this brings me to the point of this article.
These new laws on disinformation, this new security taskforce tackling fake news and propaganda how will they label, tag and decide what they will look at. Who will decide what is “fake news” what is “disinformation”?
The Government? The people whose lies and disinformation we expose and point out via social media each day on our Facebook and Twitter accounts?
The government and politicians of the UK when reports such as the one in ABC News in the US have ran headlines such as “UK election suggests disinformation spread by politicians may be a bigger threat in 2020 than Russians or ‘deepfakes’”
We are not on our way to a dystopian society where governments and corporations look to manipulate and control us through information censorship and psychological operations, we are already there.
With Trump being said to have lied 16,241 in his first three years in office and Boris’ clear track record on lying, along with with his government's hypocrisy who decides, where is the independence that holds even our political leaders to account for the misinformation they spread?