DIGITAL EAST INDIA COMPANY
History repeats itself albeit in a different format. People / leaders and nations who don’t learn lessons of history are thrown into the dustbin of the present. Even if they continue, they have a beleaguered existence. What is allowed to grow with the fond hopes that it would be controlled when the need arises, has never been controlled. Soft pedalling is a long rope which over a period of time, can take away your life. This would be a crime which would never come to light, a termite tsunami which can eat away the vitals of any organization or the government or democracy itself. The mis-judgment of sovereign power as supreme power has costed the leaders and countries dear the world over. Learning has been given up a long time back in the political world, unfortunately governance cannot happen devoid of persistent learning.
Perfecting the art of politicking cannot take us anywhere. Even the politicians find and express politics as a dirty word. Anything which should be learned, viewed and acted upon objectively is not politics is even their perception. In this environment are born the Digital East India Companies, the digital variant of the East India Company. Rattle your brain a bit, a trading company was able to establish an empire, political suzerainty that was one of its kind. The effort was physical effort was humongous, whatever might be the windfall gain. The battle had to be fought here, thousands of miles away from their homeland.
In the Digital Age in a different world, surreptitious nature of business has remained the same. There were barely any laws then and certainly not uniform and supposedly not effective as it is now. The act of Twitter yesterday blocking the account of IT Minister of India smacks of the same mindset and a virulent thought process. It is the sovereignty of the country versus the diktat of private company, against a senior most functionary of the government. A private company doing enforcement of law, self-styled, above and beyond a government is a travesty of all that democracy has stands for. There is nobody on the private company side even for grievance resolution in this country. While the countries keep sorting out their brick and mortar, politics, diplomacy and war issues, these data behemoths keep making deep inroads across the globe.
Data gives them unassailable powers and with it hundreds of billions of dollars. The political executive are transient in nature, while these are super permanent in everything, have slowly established themselves across the world. In third world countries they operate with impunity. The countries are generally at a loss as to what laws to enact, which way to enforce and how to get the desired results. The populations of these countries have got addicted to their services. The global split second connects for various utilities, the governments can never provide; a simple example can be a video call or a virtual meeting facility. Or capability to reach millions with precision. While governance was sleeping in the vast majority of countries, laws not keeping pace, they marauded into countries and established themselves. Undoing will not be simple.
IF WE DON’T BATTLE IT NOW, THE IT BEHEMOTHS WILL KEEP CONSOLIDATING THEIR HOLD OVER THE DEVELOPING WORLD.