A few months back when my pal George told me he wanted to write a book on the collapse of the internet I was skeptical. Yeah, I knew about the potential for an EMP but if that happened, there would be far more to worry about than the internet. I am also fairly well versed in of government censorship and the potential for the pulling of the proverbial “kill switch”.
As far as government censorship goes, in my opinion, that is a non-issue. Not that it is not a big deal because it is. The reason it is a non-issue is that in my opinion, we are already being monitored and watched – especially certain bloggers and online journalists that dare to challenge the established system. (I merely need to look at my daily page hits
from the Department of Homeland Security to know that is true.)
The internet kill switch is another story as is the potential for the PTB to release a deadly internet virus – something outside the realm of the CDC if you get the drift. This is not a pleasant thing to think about but think about it I do, because the possibility and probability is out there.
Is George on to Something?
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago George sent me a final draft of Broken Web: The Coming Collapse of the Internet. Here is taste from the book itself.
You’ve just gotten out of the shower, the coffee has finished perking, and you pour the first blessed cup of bean. Just as you do this, however, the lights go out. Oh, sure, you could go to work, but how often does Universe drop a freebie day off on you with a great excuse? You go back
to bed after reporting the outage to the power company, but you’re pretty sure the neighbors will have reported it.
Finally, at about 5 PM, you awaken to a still silent house. Grabbing the cell phone, you call the power company and are surprised to hear the news: This is a regional power outage. The Internet is out too. Authorities are urging calm outside on your car radio. One FM and one AM station are all that seem to come in. And grabbing a beer and making a sandwich, you decide to read, which goes on till dark. As the light fades, you take an Ambien and figure tomorrow will be better.
Rising promptly at 5 AM, having set your childhood manual alarm clock, the house is still without power so you turn on a shortwave radio set powered by batteries. Maybe the BBC will have something….
“Early yesterday, America suffered a massive, coordinated attack on its power and communications grids. Small teams of terrorists knocked out all grid interconnects between the Western, Eastern, and Texas power grids, while other small teams attacked and destroyed dozens of key telephone company switching centers. America this morning is “in the dark” and while financial markets are open, they are operating only sporadically for a lack of electronic capability to clear orders.
Government leaders are imposing anti-hoarding plans and shoppers were for the most part orderly yesterday, but with communications and power down, America looks to have been dealt a terrible blow and no one is sure how quickly order, power, and communications will be restored….”
Think it can’t happen? You and I both know that it can.
Broken Web – A Quick & Dirty Review
Frankly, I was expecting a book which would be a lot more technical than it is. I’ve known George for a long time (37 years) and if he has got a fault it is that he tends to go way too deep on some subjects. So deep, sometimes, that my eyes glaze over.
In the past, he has tended to do the “view from 10,000 feet” part in short-form and then really zoom in on the nuts and bolts. I think the joke was “Ask him what time it is and he won’t just build you a watch, he’ll get into mining iron ore and give lessons on how to temper spring steel.”
Okay, I must tell you, this book is different. This is the high-level view with tactical, how-to information as well. When taken as a whole, the book makes a pretty convincing case that the Internet is facing serious troubles ahead.
Like what you say?
Things like viruses and malware are pretty obvious. But George has also put a lot of emphasis on something he and I have talked for hours about. Namely, the Internet is the greatest social change ever and even when compared to the automobile and gasoline engine, which he points to as the technology markers of the previous Great Depression, the Internet is forcing even more widespread change.
Unlike cars, it’s spread out over a little more time, but it is global in nature and that is what makes it hard for people to see. The book does an excellent job of bringing this conundrum into focus, although I found myself (at the end of it) wondering “OK, we have just built the great job-killer ever . . . now what?” The answer to that, I suspect, will be in a follow-up book sometime down the road.
If I had to name one criticism, it would be that the beginning of the book gets into a bit of a technical discussion of economics (all of that long wave stuff George talks about) along with some pretty charts that while nice looking, do not seem very interesting. That is me, however, and you may feel differently.
Enemies of the Internet
Not that I believe in coincidence, but about the same time that I received the final draft of Broken Web, I was also sent an infographic titled “Enemies of the Internet”. Pretty spooky timing if you ask me.
And then there was an e-book I recently read called “Deep Web Secrecy and Security”. Now this was really enlightening. Talking about an learning how to use the web totally incognito in a “parallel internet” was an eye-opener. I had no idea people were doing that sort of thing.
According to the author, Conrad Jaeger:
The Internet was never conceived to be the preserve of commercial interests. It should not be a hunting ground for law enforcement. The time has come to take back control.”
Now that is something that I definitely agree with.
The Final Word
My take on all of this? To some extent, we are all being watched and at some time, anytime, the PTB could pounce. Like the big earthquake that may not happen in my lifetime, it will happen eventually. Could the Internet totally collapse? Maybe. Could it happen within the next five years? Probably not, but perhaps.
Broken Web describes the potential for the future collapse of the internet in a highly readable format. Furthermore, it is helpful to preppers in that chapter 17, titled “What You Can Do About It”, lays out a personal action plan for dealing now with a potential collapse later.
As George says in the book: Use of the Internet all comes down to the old Scouting motto: “Be Prepared”.
Spotlight Items: Needless to say, my featured item today is The Coming Collapse of the Internet by George Ure.
You might also want to take a look at Deep Web Secrecy and Security. Using the secrets of the Deep Web, this eBook shows you how to set up secure coms, visit banned websites, upload and download secretly, stay safe online and avoid unwanted attention, hide and encrypt anything, blog and post anonymously, and travel the Parallel Internet.
Bargain Bin: Getting the goods you need to in place to be comfortable during a power outage when the grid is down can be daunting when you are just getting started. Always, start with food then branch out from there. Here is a list of some gear to help you along the way.
Ambient Weather Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio: This is becoming a popular choice with Backdoor Survival readers. This unit is a Digital AM/FM NOAA Weather Alert Radio and a powerful 3 LED flashlight, with smart charger, all in one portable package.
AA and AAA Solar Battery Charger: Another popular item. This unit will charge up to 2 pairs of AA or 1 pair of AAA batteries via USB or solar power.
EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove: Burning twigs and pinecones, this stove will cook a big pot of rice in under 20 minutes. The stove is solidly built and will burn charcoal as well. There is also a version that only burns biomass for slightly less money.
Coleman Rugged Battery Powered Lantern: This sturdy Coleman has a runtime of up to 28 hours on the low setting and 18 hours on the high setting but does require D cell batteries. Personally, I have both a battery operated and propane lantern. Of course by now you know that I like redundancy with my preps.
Chemical Lighting aka Light Sticks: These are inexpensive, portable and easy to use. These come in a number of colors so take your pick.