Obama repeats 600-year-old argument against printing press at SXSW, only directed at the Internet
By Rick Falkvinge
There’s a thread in the Technology section of Reddit right now quoting a part of Obama’s opening speech at SXSW, and in the thread, the discussion makes the point that it sounds like when the establishment was afraid of the printing press 600 years ago:
Rapid technological advancements “offer us enormous opportunities, but also are very disruptive and unsettling,” Obama said at the festival, where he hoped to persuade tech workers to enter public service. “They empower individuals to do things that they could have never dreamed of before, but they also empower folks who are very dangerous to spread dangerous messages.”
The thing is, this Reddit thread probably don’t know how correct they are.
When the Luther bibles started to be produced en masse in German in 1522, followed by similar French editions, it broke the information stranglehold – the power of narrative – that the Catholic Church had held for centuries, if not upward of a millennium. This caused the church to lobby for laws against this disruptive technology that could be used by usurpers to spread dangerous ideas (such the notion that they could read and interpret the bible for themselves).
And indeed, exactly that justification was used in France to ban all use of the printing press by penalty of death (!) on January 13, 1535 – exactly the justification Obama gives in his opening speech in SXSW against the Internet and encryption: it was “used to spread dangerous ideas”. This justification can still be found in the French log books of law.
Sometimes, you need to know a little bit of history to make sure you’re on the right side of history.
The post Obama repeats 600-year-old argument against printing press at SXSW, only directed at the Internet appeared first on Privacy Online News.
March 12, 2016 at 12:46PM
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