The wired world is going to make BN extinct.
Why? Because for crime to persist, the probability of detection and the severity of the subsequent penalty has to be lower than the likely payoff from the crime.
But in a wired world, where so many of our activities are recorded for posterity, the space for crime to go undetected is rapidly shrinking.
For example, when Najib tried to bribe the residents of Sibu in a by-election, the whole act was video-recorded and now sits on a million HDDs all over the world, being replayed, reposted and reshared after the customary revulsion. Here it is:
In the past, only those who heard Najib would be able to tell others about it. And, since this information is essentially hearsay, its credibility quickly diminishes.
But nowadays, Najib’s bribery attempt is as fresh as it ever was. It will essentially never fade away. It is no longer speculation that Najib attempted to bribe Sibu residents, it is an absolute fact.
Also, in the past, the message was separate from the evidence. Nowadays, the message is the evidence. For example, the video of Najib saying “You help me, I help you” is both the message and the evidence, and no further due diligence is required by the viewer.
Every day, our transactions are being silently tracked. Transactions done with credit cards, over the counter or through the internet are recorded in great detail. Our mobile phones can be tracked by GPS. Many vehicles are tracked by satellite. Cameras on the road record who’s driving where, and in shopping malls and car parks and near ATMs cameras record who does what.
Facebook records some people’s entire lives, YouTube records what we watch, Google Chrome records what we read and how we interact with others on the Web. Skype and mobile conversations are recorded somewhere, however briefly. Some of it not so briefly.
Put all that information together, run it through supercomputers, and entire lives can be reconstructed.
Yes, even the lives of Najib and Rosmah, as they found out to their chagrin recently. You see, our dear PM and his wife took the official jet for a 4-day private holiday in Milan on taxpayers’ account and this was denied in Parliament. But the expensive detour was exposed by opposition politicians using www.FlightRadar24.com, a web-based airplane tracking site.
Here is that sordid tale: http://en.harakahdaily.net/index.php/headline/5250-govt-now-admits-najib-spent-four-days-in-milan.html
It is becoming extremely difficult to commit crimes because most crimes require more than one person to commit, and when more than one person is involved, there is always the possibly of someone blabbing. And blabbing has become so much easier than in the past, because anonymity has become so much easier to maintain on the internet.
All it takes is for someone to just click “Forward” and massive amounts of documents, pdfs, photos, videos, voice recordings and spreadsheets will be sent flying through the dendrites, neurons and synapses of this wired up world, which is soon to make the whole world function as one giant brain.
And that is how we got the Cowgate and Ampang LRT scandals exposed in high definition detail by Rafizi Ramli. Someone blabbed to him, and clicked “Forward”.
Just as it is impossible for your foot not to know what your hand is doing, soon it will be impossible for politicians to hide anything from ordinary citizens.
We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting there.
Only one thing stands in the way — super accounts.
These are people who are outside the wired network and whose activities are not tracked by the network. Super accounts are now held by top politicians and CEOs of very large businesses but even here the walls are crumbling as ordinary people discover (through Wikileaks, for example) the treachery committed by these supposed keepers of the public trust. And strip these super account holders of their “super” status.
One day, there will be no more super accounts, and by that time I believe the wired world will be so pervasive that crime would be impractical to commit, for all intents and purposes.
In the meantime, it is quite evident that UMNO/BN has been permanently exposed for what it is, and no amount of propaganda is going to repair its reputation. The wired world has also made BN’s cheating in the elections so manifestly evident that no one doubts it happens to a very significant degree.
In the 13th General Elections, it is going to be nearly impossible for BN to cheat without being found out. Remember, it is nearly impossible to commit a crime without other people being involved. Well, a GE involves thousands and thousands of people, any number of whom can photograph, video-record, voice-record, Facebook post or Tweet evidence of cheating.
Cheating during the GE13 is going to be far more difficult to carry out than something more ‘closed door’ like the Cowgate or Ampang LRT scandals. And without cheating, BN is pretty much doomed as every internet poll shows the beleaguered incumbents losing by vast margins (at least 4-to-1, going up to 10-to-1, and sometimes as high as 70-to-1 in the case of that dirty little ditty, Janji Ditepati).
Yes, a crime-free utopia is not quite here yet, but a major change in Malaysia could very well be on its way, thanks to the wired world.
Me? I just want a Volkswagen Golf at half its current price.