POINT OF VIEW. “When the giants of the web turn out to be at feet of clay”

“Monday October 4 at 5 p.m. exactly: several countries including France can no longer have access to the world-famous platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. They all have in common that they belong to multi-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.

This digital black down is producing a real shock wave on a global level …

“Breakdown” instantly identified by children as soon as they leave school, at first amused with a hint of annoyance, they suddenly plunge into the era of total digital vulnerability. Their favorite applications blocked, their stories deleted… after a suspicion of failure, humorous messages contaminate Twitter.

In a few hours, the multibillionaire Mark Zuckerberg would have lost 7 billion dollars according to Bloomberg.

The advent of a new golden age

Edward Snowden launches a Twitter poll to collect internet users’ opinions: if the web giants go offline forever, what will happen tomorrow? : choice 1. The advent of a new golden age. 2. The collapse and famine. Internet users around the world respond in several languages ​​and humorously rally to the first option, not without irony.

All scenarios are allowed. We learn from the New York Times that no Facebook employee could go to work, their badges being blocked. The scene seems surreal to imagine.

Going on a quest for information, a disturbing coincidence appears: last Sunday the face of whistleblower Frances Haugen was unveiled. The one which revealed on the CBS channel Facebook’s policy of greed, the primacy of the interest of the multinational over private interests, the modification of algorithms in order to “give priority to profit rather than security” (source The world). His hearing in the US Senate is imminent.

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All eyes are on Anonymous or a possible cyberattack… Then… a post appears on social networks and suggests that entire sections of Facebook’s routing are erased, suggesting the outright disappearance of Facebook.

Extreme vulnerability in relation to social networks

Beyond the scenarios, this global social experience is the second of its kind after the pandemic. It is revealing of the entry of humanity in an extreme vulnerability compared to social networks. It brings to light the loss of sovereignty of States, of their capacities to guarantee us the protection of our data, of our rights of access and control of our digital life. Above all, it makes the web giants tremble, which have become colossi with feet of clay.

Let us recall that Facebook is deploying its grip in many specific areas which until then have been privileges reserved for States: digital currency, search for diplomatic representation, creation of a specific jurisdiction… What other sovereign prerogatives will still be silently abdicated by States? The creation of artificial territories?

Taking Humanity’s Digital Future Seriously

Surely, the time has come to take the digital future of humanity seriously and to renew fundamental rights in the digital age. This is the case with the right to respect for private life. What meaning should be given to such a right at a time when data is held in other territories, subject to other laws, and sometimes in violation of the rules of law established by laws and constitutions? What other imperceptible shifts can be imagined? Chile has just adopted a law to protect human thoughts from any influence by neurotechnologies presented as “the last frontier of privacy”. This is also the mark of a global alert and a call for a necessary reinforced vigilance to create, renew and ensure the reality, the meaning of fundamental rights at a time of digital globalization. Certainly, the fields of law are promised new developments. “

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