Information is Power

Information is power. Everyone in power knows this. And, it’s something computer hackers know too, hence their credo “Information should be free.” The power of being informed is the difference between the guy who can send a rover to Mars, and a the strange people who still think the Earth is flat.

In a revolution, the first people to die are the thinkers; the first things to get burned are sources of information counter to the ruler’s ideologies.

And that brings us to Turkey and their recent attempt to cull the flow of information… by banning Twitter. According to the BBC, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Prime Minister vowed to wipe out Twitter.

But, there’s still hope, because Turkey’s president Abdullah Gul said the shutdown was unacceptable. And here’s the best part, he said it, via Twitter.

It may not be the stuff of revolutions. But it sure is fascinating to watch entrenched powers vie with the global rise of democracy. A few years ago, again on Twitter, we watched as Iran revolted, and then Egypt followed, creating a movement Westerners call the Arab Spring.

The funny thing about democracy is that, when it’s done right, it really limits the accumulation of power to any single point. This runs counter to greed and megalomania. Thus, the so-called power brokers of the world are constantly at odds with democracy.

And now we come full-circle back to information. 

What is the difference between the powerful and the the disenfranchised? It’s not the stuff that surrounds them. It’s information. Information is so powerful that it has shifted the lines on maps (such as when the Allies captured a German Enigma machine), the rights of people, and motivated hackers throughout the world to make it as freely available as possible.

Information is what makes people powerful. It’s what gives hackers the ability to break into Target and stole millions of credit card numbers. It’s why they work so hard to keep the Internet free of bottlenecks or blockades through something known as Net Neutrality.

And, it’s why I made ALGORITHM, a movie about computer hackers.