The Elite (s) of the Internet

The Elite (s) of the Internet

When we talk about the Internet and the GAFAMs are mentioned, we usually tend to think that this is the Elite of the Internet, when today it would be more of a "domain" rather than an Elite. In the sense that the domain is normally associated with an Elite, but the Elite does not always have the domain.

Let's try to understand: an Elite is a group of people who have a characteristic. The Elite enjoys rights that the rest of society does not enjoy, which takes the name of privilege. Once, when school was not compulsory and free, the Elite had the right to study while ordinary people did not, and therefore the right to study had become the privilege of being able to study.

Likewise, there are other rights. We take privacy. Now the problem is that privacy is not a "yes / no", like "you have all the privacy / I don't have all the privacy". Let's say that we can write "how much privacy". After all, even with the old privilege of school it was so some could only graduate, which was a privilege compared to the mass, but others had even more privileges and could even go to university.


Now let's go back to the internet. We have Jill and Jane. Let's see two different situations:

  • Jill uses Facebook, Jane uses a fediverse knot spinning around her house.
  • Jill uses Whatsapp, Jane uses a matrix node that runs in her house.
  • Jill uses Gmail, Jane uses an E2E encrypted mail service, or runs a server at home.

Now, if we compare Jill and Jane, we find that Jane (who is probably a geek and is better informed than Jill) enjoys a higher amount of privacy. In a way, it's a privileged one.

But this is not the only thing that makes it an Elite: meritocracy itself does not form elites. If we take Bolt, the fact of running faster makes him a worthy one, but to have elites it is necessary that the privilege belongs to the group.

And here we return to the platforms in use: if I can stay on the fediverse and have fun with a social network, it is because there are also people with whom I like to chat. And if I can use matrix it is because I know enough people who are happy to use it (or would like to at least try it).

So the point is not "only" that I know these software / protocols, that I know how to install them and that I am willing to use them. The problem is that I have enough friends, that is, somehow I belong to a group, which is similar to me.

And so when I write that the fediverse (doing selfhosting) offers me the possibility of not being profiled, which is a privilege , it has four million users, I am also saying that the Internet has an elite of four million users who are very difficult to profile as Cambridge Analytics did.

And if I say that the Matrix is ​​used by 25 million people, I mean there are 25 million people who have the privilege of greater privacy.

But a minority united by a privilege is nothing more than the definition of Elite.

But now there is the real problem. How does being the Elite pay socially? This is the point: it is true that these millions of people (out of billions of global users) enjoy a privilege, that is, the right to more privacy, but how is this privilege reflected in real society?

The problem is that we don't have a clear map yet: the map of the PERSONAL drawbacks / advantages that come from the lack of privacy.

For example, if I told you that the Human Resource of a given company is vegan, and that it has software that looks for you on social media, would you also have posted a photo of your last barbecue on the beach?

Now, if you send in your resume, you think HR reads ONLY what's written on it. But how would you feel if I told you that they also read social media, using software dedicated to the purpose? Would you have also put your monumental beer drinking with friends online? Seriously? No, you wouldn't have done that.

Have you ever found people doing very high paying jobs on Facebook? Do you see them posting something that isn't straight edge ? Think about it.

For example, when you go to the USA for work or vacation, they ask you to give your social network account. If you don't give it, you're already suspicious. The problem really starts when you have to go there for work. But by the time you have a social account and you have heavily criticized the US, you are already blacklisted.

And the world shrinks.

The problem of all these phenomena is not their existence, because software capable of doing this have always been in use among professional HR.

The problem is that the pandemic has accelerated processes. And with smart working, digitization and everything that goes with it, we are at the point where soon the loss of privacy will begin to present a very clear account.

But that's not going to happen in ten, twenty years. The Western system of "social credits", although not as punitive and political as in China, is one year, at most two, from today.

The moment is coming when you will regret something you have posted on some social network. And I don't say it: if you download this pdf you will notice that the number of requests to be "removed" from the google search has grown to three and a half million URLs in the EU from 2014 to 2019, but in the last two years the trend it has grown and we are already at four million. It means that in just one year / year and a half the growth has been enormous.

It means that more and more people realize that there is data out there that the owners would not want to be around. And more and more people are trying to remove them, at least from public access.

If we then go and see what I know in Italy, we discover that the request to remove “professional” information is 12%, about one in eight.

The Elite (s) of the Internet

To this we must add 16% of "professional wrongdoing", which stands at 16.1%

The Elite (s) of the Internet

And we have enough to say that yes, what is on the internet is starting to impact working life.

I mean the income.

Now we begin to see the economic advantage of those who work with privacy, and those who work without. Either the professional becomes invisible, or he is always exposed to the risk of someone accusing him on social media (rightly or wrongly) of bad professional conduct. BUT also, that social contents are processed and end up decreasing its "rating".

This is happening today. It is happening here and now. And who has been able to enjoy more privacy than others, on this scale, is an Elite.

But let's take a step back: because having LESS digital records is good.

This is a payout problem:

  • the digital record hardly testifies in your favor. If on my social page I write "I won a Nobel Prize", no software believes it because the account is under my control, and therefore it says "Cicero pro domo sua".
  • the digital record, on the other hand, can testify to your disadvantage: If on the social page I wrote "culattoni to death", any HR software would classify me as a homophobe, and at the state of things it would be unthinkable to be hired in any large company that uses procedures social verification.

The digital record, that is, in terms of working reputation can only do damage.

Consequently, being able to leave fewer permanent digital records (after all in the 90s having participated in a grilled meat was cool, today it depends on who reads it) is an advantage.

Soon an elite of people will emerge who have a great job advantage: no longer having social records. But this does not require these people to “get out of the internet”, which is a competitive disadvantage: it requires knowing the techniques to leave fewer digital records lying around.

In short, the elites of the Internet exist, largely dependent on the ability to use means of preserving privacy that do not require you to lose your social activity.

And the time is coming when the difference in opportunity between those with few digital records and those with many will pay off in terms of income.

Previously, this moment was postponed for a decade, but Covid has accelerated almost every change taking place.

We are almost there.

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