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A ‘disinformation’ board inspired by a dystopian novel – Press Telegram

SACRAMENT – Dystopian fiction has always fascinated me because writers like Philip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury have based their stories on real-world trends and simply taken them to logical extremes. Stories involving, say, pre-crime departments arresting people based on algorithms seemed absurd, but they turned out to be very close to the brand.

It’s hard to underestimate the absurdity of government directives and bureaucrats, so these tales, however creepy, are often quite amusing. My favorite dystopian hero is Robert De Niro’s character, Archibald “Harry” Tuttle, in the movie “Brazil.” He was the main enemy of the government: a “villain” who fixed air conditioning systems without a permit from the Central Services.

It’s almost as weird as the story of such a paranoid government that created a Meteorological Office, overseen by a Censorship Bureau, that enacted complex rules for disseminating weather reports to keep them out of enemy hands. It only allowed newspapers to publish forecasts up to 150 miles from their city of publication. It was not fiction, but a World War II federal agency.

Now the Department of Homeland Security has apparently learned nothing from the absurd pasts of the U.S. government or George Orwell, it is launching a Disinformation Governing Board to control the Internet. Homeland Security has always sounded pretty ironic, but a disinformation board is a “truth is weird fiction” situation.

If his release is a clue, then the board will be incompetent, duplicate and exceed his authority. DHS Secretary-General Alejandro Mayorkas announced the dubious project on April 27, but – and that doesn’t go beyond the most basic test of public relations – he didn’t provide any real information on what he will do or how his agents will be held accountable.

It is the latest example of the oxymoronic nature of government intelligence, especially clear as the country’s security leaders appear to be blinded by the amount of outrage this announcement has generated. “It’s just an episodic failure,” former DHS official Brian Murphy told the Associated Press. Of course. As Orwell wrote in 1984, “It was a cold, bright April day, and the clocks were 13 o’clock.”

During the congressional testimony on misinformation on the Internet, Mayorkas said his agency set up the council “to combat this threat more effectively, not only for electoral security but for our national security,” according to a Politico report. But the publication considered this to be “a strange comment, given that DHS now says the board does not execute or manage any departmental functions.”

The conclusion is not to trust anything the Biden administration says on the matter. The board, and I don’t think I’m going to miss it, will probably use the dreaded power of federal security agencies to monitor online content and pressure social media companies to remove content that calls misinformation. It will do so in the name of fighting the real cyber threats of Russia and China.

Mayorkas further eroded confidence by proposing Nina Jankowicz, a former think tank colleague, as board director. As Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal explained, combating “foreign propaganda is not exactly” as Janckowicz “defines the threat to the national security of misinformation.” She pointed us to a report she co-authored for the Wilson Center.

The authors say the report “strives to raise awareness of the direct and indirect impacts of sexual and gender misinformation on women in public life, as well as their corresponding impacts on national security and democratic participation.” They pointed to misogynistic “abuse and misinformation” on Twitter aimed at Vice President Kamala Harris.

Most Americans denounce the cruelty and notorious information that proliferates online. But this is not something that the government can “fix”, at least not without undermining the basic principles of our democracy. “(A) difference between opinion and misinformation is often disputed, and many argue that the government should not be responsible for drawing the line,” as that AP article pointed out.

A ‘disinformation’ board inspired by a dystopian novel – Press Telegram Source link A ‘disinformation’ board inspired by a dystopian novel – Press Telegram

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