As something of a student of the great Chinese general Sun Tzu, who lived between around 544 BC and 496 BC, I have long agreed with one of the most famous statements attributed to him:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
With that truism in mind, I have throughout the last few months of the 2016 election season kept channels of communications open with persons directly knowledgeable of soon to be President Trump’s handlers views on technology policy.
We know that Trump himself is a dilapidated dunce bending in whatever direction the current breezes seem to blow from minute to minute. But the advisers holding his leash — who will ultimately set the policy objectives for this senile swine (no offense meant to actual hogs or pigs!), have very definite views that they intend to push into Trump’s orbit. For all practical purposes, we can expect these to fill the empty vessel of Trump’s skull and become essentially his own.
The laundry list of attacks that they have planned is long and diverse, and is essentially a war against all manner of science, technology, and anybody supporting scientific concepts that conflict with the world view of garden-variety racist, sexual abusing criminals like Trump himself.
Clues about various of these have already been dropped publicly, mostly by Trump’s minions, but occasionally buried within the incoherent rambling rants of Trump himself, which provide for useful verification.
Pretty much at top of Trump’s technology-related enemies list is Google. The Trump team despises Google with a ferocious antipathy.
Google represents pretty much everything that Trump and his team hates: Information that Trump and his associates can’t control. Intelligent, largely liberal-leaning employees for whom facts and data are not overridden by political exigencies of the moment. Privacy and security teams who won’t bend over and grab their ankles whenever anyone in the government simply says “jump” without appropriate legal authority. And so on.
Trump’s people have a plan to reign in Google. They’ll be going after other service providers as well, but Google would be their biggest prize by far.
The Trump team’s plan to control Google will be on several fronts.
With the assistance of a cooperative GOP Congress and a Supreme Court that will soon have at least one and perhaps three or more right-wing Trump appointees, Trump’s crew will be pressing hard for rules that ban end-to-end encryption, using the usual national security excuse as the main argument, while sweeping aside all “this actually makes us less safe” arguments.
This push will also include the ability for the government to have essentially “on demand” access to any or all server data at Google (and all other significant web firms), based on the models provided by Trump’s master Putin, and to some extent also the Chinese.
Trump has also become incensed at Google search results that don’t toe the line to his own demented and twisted worldview, and intends to push legislation that would permit for government control over search results in a wide variety of circumstances, in this instance using national security, law enforcement, copyright claims, and “save the children” arguments.
The Trump team feels that these efforts will dovetail nicely with broader free speech controls that they plan to aim at mass media, particularly news outlets — there is also talk of attempting to impose horrific EU-style “Right To Be Forgotten” laws here in the U.S. — using this aspect in particular to try suck Google haters over to Trump’s side for the broader legislative efforts.
And if all of this sounds like some sort of fantasy on the Trump side — couldn’t happen with the First Amendment in their way! — think again!
Other than the Second Amendment, the Trumpians are at the best indifferent to most aspects of the Constitution in general or the Bill of Rights in particular.
They believe that they can forge coalitions that will enable them to decimate the First Amendment, leveraging their control over all three branches of government — executive, legislative, and judicial. They believe that their Deplorables — their voters — will cheer Trump on in his efforts to decimate Google, eliminate what Trump and company feel are “undesirable freedoms” aspects of the Internet, and in general impose a speech regime as close to Putin’s model as possible.
But Trump isn’t president quite yet. We still have a bit of time to work with, and there are some approaches that can limit the damage that Trump can do, at least to various extents.
Some of these we will be discussing on my new Saving Science & Tech from Trump Google+ community.
Some discussions will by necessity need to be more private.
One thing’s pretty much certain, however. Donald Trump and his administration hope to roll back the USA effectively to somewhere around 1950 in terms of color, creed, and knowledge.
If we don’t wish to see the technological works of our lifetimes similarly decimated, we must take action immediately.
I have consulted to Google, but I am not currently doing so — my opinions expressed here are mine alone.
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The correct term is “Internet” NOT “internet” — please don’t fall into the trap of using the latter. It’s just plain wrong!