20 years on from the invention of the World Wide Web, The Virtual Revolution explores how the Internet is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives. But what is really going on behind this reshaping? The founding father of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, believed his invention would remain an open frontier that nobody could own, and that it would take power from the few and give it to the many. So how do these utopian claims stand today? Have the possibilities of the technology been constrained purposefully by corporations and distorted by government?
Teenage sisters detained for 36 hours for a peaceful protest; an RAF war veteran arrested for wearing an anti-Bush and Blair T-shirt; an innocent man shot in a police raid; and a man is held under house arrest for two years, after being found innocent in court. Ordinary law-abiding citizens being punished for exercising their rights--right to protest, right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, right to privacy, to be detained without charge, to be innocent until proven guilty, prohibition from torture...
With its motto ‘Don’t be evil’, Google claims it has the best intentions. But there are also claims that Google is slowly turning into ‘Big Brother’, keeping track of users and continuously making decisions about the information it provides. Will Google turn out to be the new Library of Alexandria, serving as the great collector that brings the world’s information to everyone? Or is it a monopolistic, Ministry-Of-Truth-type corporation that challenges the very freedom of information?
Every day technologies are being used to monitor us with unprecedented scrutiny -- from driving habits to workplace surveillance, to shoppers and diners. We are all observed and analysed; Internet searches are monitored and used as evidence in court; the police track our movements on the road; governments collect our DNA, fingerprints and iris scans while colluding with corporations such as Acxiom, Lexis Nexis and ChoicePoint to gain access to the vast volumes of our personal information. And it's a lucrative business...