The word terrorism elicits a visceral response, which is unsurprising as it contains the word “terror” in it. Terrorism in the West has gained particular public focus following the Paris, Berlin, Manchester and London attacks. It is regarded by many as the biggest threat facing our democracies and many Governments have begun to push for new powers to fight it. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has called for new laws to regulate the Internet in order to combat terrorism and Islamic extremism, although she is far from alone.
We are diving into a deep, complex topic here so in order to keep things manageable, lets focus upon the situation unfolding in the United Kingdom in the wake of the recent London and Manchester terror attacks. That said, the problems discussed and issues raised could easily be applied to the United States, France, Germany or pretty much any other country that is reeling from the recent spate of terror attacks and it trying to find a way to combat terrorism.
Why is the Internet being targeted
The Internet is essentially free speech made manifest. You can find a website or community for any topic your heart desires; from crocheting all the way up to extremist Islam. The internet gives us access to information on any topic we chose and this is where the dilemma for governments lies.
Studies have shown that the vast majority of terrorists in the United Kingdom are “Home Grown” (British born). Some are radicalized by extremist Imans but a report by the Henry Jackson society estimated that around 50% of radicalized Muslims are recruited or indoctrinated online. Young, disillusioned Muslims who frequent extremist websites might be contacted by a “recruiter” who will attempt to convince them to either travel to the Middle East for training, or to commit terror attacks in their home country. These young Muslims often become drawn into a bubble where all they see and experience online is an extreme Islamic view of the world, which makes them easy targets for Daesh recuiters.
Given that the Internet gives Daesh and others the reach to contact young Muslims in the West it makes sense that the State would look to target the Internet. If people cannot access extremist material, then they are less likely to become extremists. In fact Theresa May has long argued for this position, believing that regulating the Internet and weakening encryption is key if the state is to protect its citizens.
Is it even possible for the Government to regulate the Internet?
For the moment let’s put aside the minefield of morality and ethics issues associated with May’s proposals, we’ll get back to those. Instead let’s focus upon exactly how May wants to regulate the Internet and whether it is feasible. While May has not outlined exactly how her proposed regulations will work we can get a glimpse by looking at the Conservative Manifesto for the British elections on the 8th of June.
May’s manifesto states that “online rules should reflect those that govern our lives offline. “ citing examples such as bullying, grooming children and limiting access to violent pornography. They state that they “do not believe there should be a safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online and will work to prevent them from having this capability.”. Put like this, on paper, it all sounds very reasonable. At least until you realize what they are suggesting actually means.
To start with, The Conservatives want to demand that ISPs and companies like Google and Facebook take the role of the censor. The problem is that these entities do not want to become a censor. In fact Facebook and Google have based their entire business model on the idea that they are not publishers. Any attempt to force the Tech giants to step into the role of moderator will meet with some heavy push back. A fact the Conservatives discovered to their cost when they attempted to weaken Whatsapp’s encryption protocols in the wake of the London Terror Attacks.
On top of strident resistance from tech company’s recent events, such as the WannaCry ransomware attacks have shown that attempting to weaken encryption in order to facilitate government surveillance in the name of fighting terrorism could have disastrous side effects. The NSA managed to inadvertently give cybercriminals the tools they needed to conduct the largest ransomware attack in history.
Even putting aside the likely strident opposition from tech companies; the simple practicalities of mass surveillance and regulation are staggering. The British government has already made attempts to force ISPs to store users data as part of the Snoopers Charter, enacted during May’s tenure as home secretary. ISPs will be forced to invest in huge amounts of storage in order to collect data for the British Government to investigate at will, pushing up costs for consumers.
Practically Government regulation of the Internet is difficult, Ethically it is a minefield
Practically, attempting to regulate the Internet would be troublesome to implement, to say the least. That said, the practicalities are not the most compelling argument against surveillance. The strongest argument against Governments attempting to regulate the Internet lies in that ethical minefield we put aside earlier.
Even once one puts aside the cultural control aspect of May’s manifesto her proposals still have chilling ethical consequences. The intention to force content creators and ISPs to enforce an Anti Extremist narrative is particularly disturbing, essentially extending the controversial Prevent program into the online sphere.
On top of their desire to control the narrative, May’s Conservatives are also pushing hard to extend the powers of the British Intelligence Services. Theresa May has long been a proponent of mass surveillance methods during her tenure in the home office and she has used the latest attacks to push for the intelligence service’s right to use them to be enshrined in law. The problem is that there is little to no evidence that it is any more effective than targeted surveillance and it would involve collecting the personal data and activities of completely innocent individuals.
The idea of trying to regulate the Internet by culling or blocking extremists websites in order to remove any “safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online” may sound innocent or even beneficial. At least until put in the context of May’s other proposals; such as blocking Pornography, enshrining mass data collection in law and controlling what kind of news is posted online. In essence, the Conservatives want to reshape the online world in their own image and they are using terrorism and fear in order to justify it.
Is fear making us lose sight of our democracy?
The crux of this problem is that the solutions are driven by our fear of terrorism. The Conservative government has openly stated that their first order of business is the security of British citizens. The problem is that in order to secure British citizens against the potential threat of terror they risk undermining a democracy they claim to protect.
This applies to every country facing the threat of terror at the moment. Are we willing to undermine or limit our democracy’s because of the fear of terrorists? By curtailing certain citizen’s rights, limiting our ability to use the Internet and in essence changing our way of life we are essentially saying that terrorism works.
They want us to become less democratic. They want us to spend our lives fearful of their reprisals and attacks. They want us to focus on the chaos they can cause rather than the unity we show in the aftermath.
We should not change our way of life because of fear. We should show the courage of our convictions and uphold our democratic freedoms in the face of their atrocities. If we regulate the Internet for fear of terrorism that is tantamount conceding to their demands.
Freedom isn’t free. The cost of freedom is lessened security. I’m willing to pay that price, are you?
5 Reasons You NEED To Play The Final Fantasy VIII Remaster
After many years of fans begging Square Enix to remaster Final Fantasy VII, they finally listened and did just that. There were numerous excuses as to why the game’s re-release had lagged behind the re-releases of both VII and IX, with the most common excuse being that the game’s original code was lost years ago. However, the company made it happen and the game is finally available for modern audiences to play on modern hardware today. We’re going to give you 5 reasons why you should do just that.
First time available on modern hardware
As we’ve already said, this is the first time that the game is available on modern hardware. While the game originally launched for PS1 back in 1999, it later got a PC port in 2000. That means that is has been a whopping 19 years since a new version of the game has been available for purchase, and that wait was a brutal one. However, it is finally over and you can now play this classic game on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch along with PC. If the lack of modern hardware support was stopping you from checking out, that excuse just got thrown out the window.
The visuals look better than ever
Thankfully, Square Enix did not just slap this port together quickly and throw it out there to shut everyone up. They did a terrific job of putting on a shiny new coat of paint for the game, with the character models in particular looking much better. While things like environment textures didn’t get quite the same amount of attention, this is nevertheless the best that the game has ever looked. It also helps that the game is simply beautiful from a design standpoint, with the game’s world being gorgeous to behold even though we’re dealing with the hardware limitations of 1999.
Quality of life improvements
While those who played the game 20 years ago will still be getting what is essentially the same experience, Square Enix did add some quality of life improvements to put it more in line with current JRPGs. These changes include the likes of increasing battle speed by 3 times, shutting off random encounters completely and even a cheat to give you max HP and limit breaks. While these may seem minor, these will go a long way to ease some of the tedium that many feel after some particularly long gaming sessions. Max HP and Limit Breaks will also make the incredibly tough Ultima and Omega Weapon boss fights a lot easier to deal with.
The Final Fantasy series is known for having its fair share of enticing side quests and mini games, but there isn’t a single one that is as addicting as Triple Triad. The game is essentially a card game that is played on a 3×3 grid, and each card has a certain number on the top, bottom, left and right sides. You need to place your cards in a manner that the numbers on your cards are higher than your opponents, and seeing as your card can be attacked from four different sides this can be tricky. You’re able to challenge many different characters to a match throughout the course of the entire game, and doing so comes with plenty of nice rewards that will make your quest easier.
The game is awesome
While our previous points focused on specific elements of the game, this one is a simple fact that has been true since 1999: the game is awesome. Unfortunately, releasing immediately after Final Fantasy VII (a watershed moment for gaming) put it under a very cruel microscope, with many knee jerk reactions simply saying it “isn’t as good as VII.” However, in the years that have passed people have revisited the game, and the consensus has definitely changed. This adventure that Square created is unlike any other in the series, being host to an ambitious and bizarre plot filled with some of the best characters the series has ever seen. If you’ve played the game before then this is the perfect time to experience this masterpiece all over again, and if you haven’t then what are you waiting for?
10 Huge Games Still Coming In 2019
2019 has been yet another good year for gaming so far, with several games releasing that will be big contenders for game of the year once the curtain closes. However, despite the year already being more than halfway over, there are still some huge titles on the horizon that are sure to make their own dents on the coming best-of lists. This article will list the 10 biggest games that are still coming in 2019.
A new game from Remedy Entertainment is always highly-anticipated, and Control is no different. The game is an action-adventure game in the same style as Alan Wake or Quantum Break, but with a supernatural twist. Players will control Jesse Faden, who possesses a variety of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, levitation and more. She will be using her abilities in order to defeat an enemy known only as the Hiss, which has corrupted reality. Control launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 27th.
It has been many years since the last game in the Borderlands series released, but the hiatus is finally coming to an end very soon. Those who have played previous games in the series will feel right at home with this game, as it’s once again a loot-driven FPS. The game will offer more zany characters and a charming and insane world to explore, all while dealing with new antagonists Troy and Tyreen Calypso along with their Children of the Vault cult. Borderlands 3 launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 13th, with a Google Stadia port release date being TBA.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series is returning soon with Breakpoint, which will serve as a continuation of previous game Wildlands. The game is set in an open world environment called Aurora, which is a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. Players will control Lieutenant Colonel Anthony “Nomad” Perryman, who is a special forces operative that was sent to the island to investigate a series of disturbances in the area. Breakpoint launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 4th, with a Google Stadia port coming in November.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Each new installment in the Call of Duty series is always huge, but Modern Warfare’s release marks a first for the long-running franchise. It will be the first game in the series that is reimagining of a previous game in the series, taking 2004’s original game and updating its mechanics and themes to match today’s world. The game will still have some of the beats that the first game had, but will also incorporate lots of surprises to make it a fresh experience. Modern Warfare launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th.
The Outer Worlds
Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds is one that will be very highly-anticipated for fans of Fallout: New Vegas, as this game serves as a sort of spiritual successor to that game. It will be an open world RPG that allows you to explore many unique areas crawling with plenty of deadly foes. Players will also be able to encounter and recruit NPCs as companions that have their own personal missions and stories to take part in. The Outer Worlds launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th, with a Switch port also being in the works.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
It seemed very unlikely that Luigi’s Mansion would become a recurring franchise for Nintendo following the original GameCube game, but here we are. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is coming to Switch, which also means it will be the first home console release since the original game back in 2003. This time the game is set in a haunted hotel rather than a mansion, and Luigi has some new tricks up his sleeves to take down all those ghosts. Luigi’s Mansion 3 will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 31st.
If you’re looking for the most ambitious (and weirdest) game still coming in 2019, then look no further. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has perplexed gamers ever since its announcement, and each new trailer that releases just brings more and more questions to the table. It is Kojima’s first game since breaking up with Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phanton Pain (and the cancellation of Silent Hills), and it looks like Kojima has taken the newfound complete creative control to deliver something truly original. Death Stranding launches exclusively for PS4 on November 8th.
Pokemon Sword & Shield
At this point we all know what to expect from a new Pokemon game, and Sword and Shield seems poised to deliver even more cute creatures for players to capture and battle very soon. What sets Sword and Shield apart from its predecessors is that it will be the first home console release for the series, which is saying something considering the series has been around for over 20 years. Pokemon Sword & Shield launches exclusively for Switch on November 15th.
If you’re a fan of Shenmue then nothing needs to be said for the inclusion of the upcoming third game on this list. Fans of the series have been waiting nearly two decades for a follow-up to the second game, and in just a couple of months that will finally be delivered to them. Brought to life thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, the game continues the adventure of protagonist Ryo Hazuki as he hunts down his father’s killer. Shenmue III will launch for PS4 and PC on November 19th.
id Software’s DOOM 2016 was one of the best FPS games to come along in years, so it’s a no-brainer that the follow-up would be on this list. Eternal is set to offer yet another intense FPS campaign for players to plunge into, while also offering a multiplayer component that greatly improves upon the last game’s underwhelming multiplayer mode. There will also be twice as many demon types than there was in the last game, meaning that the chaos level just got that much higher. DOOM Eternal launches for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and PC on November 22nd.
5 Most Exciting Announcements From The Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference
Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference has officially come to an end, and with it came plenty of big announcements to get excited about. Some new games were announced, whereas previously-announced games got new footage and/or release dates. In this article we’ve narrowed it all down to the 5 most exciting announcements.
New Xbox “Project Scarlett” Coming Holiday 2020
We’ve known for a while now that a new Xbox was in the works, but now we know when to expect it. Microsoft’s fourth console (which hopefully has a better official name than Xbox One did) will be a big step up from the previous console. Things like much faster load times, an AMD Processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, 8K Resolution and 120 FPS were all mentioned. A price and exact release date weren’t mentioned. It will also be launching with…
Halo Infinite Coming Holiday 2020, Launching On Both Xbox One and Project Scarlett
The wait for the next Halo game has been longer than ever before for series fans, and the announcement at E3 revealed that the wait will continue. Halo Infinite will not be launching until Holiday 2020, meaning it will have been 5 years since the previous game released with Halo 5. It will also be launching on Xbox One and Project Scarlett, meaning the new console will have a big launch title for fans to get pumped about.
Cyberpunk 2077 Coming April 2020, Stars Keanu Reeves
It’s hard to pick a game that people have been more excited about than Cyberpunk 2077, and after Microsoft’s press conference we’re even more excited. Not only is it coming in April of next year, but Keanu Reeves himself will be playing a “key” role in the game. Everything shown from the game has looked great so far, so hopefully it all pans out and we have another classic from CD Projekt RED come April 2020.
FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin Collaboration Elden Ring Announced
This one was actually leaked prior to the presentation, but Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin are collaborating on a new game. The game is called Elden Ring, and it will be a departure from the developer’s most recent games as it will be open world. Very little information on the game is known at this point, as it is still in the early stages of development.
Phantasy Star Online 2 Is Coming West
It took a very long time, but the popular MMORPG is finally coming west. The game is coming to Xbox One in a free-to-play form in Spring 2020, so the wait won’t be that much longer. “There will be no limitations on game experiences,”says Sega, because they want to “provide all players with a fair and exciting experience.”
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