Bleats

You're Not Paranoid, Nearly Every Internet User Is Currently Being Watched

Time to burn everything and get off the grid.

It’s been a bit of a long running gag among internet users that everything you do online and on social media is being monitored by some creepy, Orwellian program inappropriately wielded by our government. It’s a terrifying thought but one we brush off because, well, that’s just insane.

But is it?

According to a report from “independent watchdog organisation” Freedom House, titled ‘2019 Freedom on the Net‘, apparently 40 of 65 countries it studied has implemented some form of “advanced social media surveillance programs” and their use is accelerating at an alarming rate.

Everywhere.

But perhaps the most terrifying finding in the report is the number of internet users currently being monitored right now as we speak. Of the billions of internet users around the world, “89 percent” or “nearly 3 billion” people fall under some 1984-esque surveillance program.

Yes, you should be terrified because that means anything you post or tweet on social media is likely being monitored by your government.

Freedom House’s report covered more than just governments watching your internet habits and most of it doesn’t bode well for this whole freedom thing.

The report states that digital election interference is a very serious issue happening right now, particularly in authoritarian countries that like wielding a big censorship hammer, such as Russia and China. The U.S. in particular has been highlighted as a country that’s seen its “freedom score” drop dramatically ever since Combover Caligula became the U.S. Cheeto-in-Chief.

And you’d be correct!

Not only do the methods employed to monitor internet users sound like something ripped out of a sci-fi movie – Iran as a 42,000-strong army of volunteers who monitor online speech, China has a similar system and a surveillance program that monitors over 200 million people – what governments are doing with all this data collected is downright spine-chilling.

The report states that 47 of the 65 countries studied “featured arrests of users for political, social, or religious speech” and even supposed “free” countries like the UK and U.S. monitored activists and those folks who opposed each respective government’s policies.

So all those jokes about being watched? Yeah, your suspicions were mostly correct after all.

There’s a silver lining to all of this though: Australia is faring pretty well on most fronts when it comes to freedom of speech and the whole surveillance thing as there’s no monitoring system of any sort in our country, but there are worrying signs that things could go awry if we don’t stay vigilant.

The entire report is a lengthy 29 pages and will likely send you into a bit of a funk, but it is a must-read in order to understand what is going on with internet surveillance right now. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go burn every electronic device I own before getting off the grid.

Anyone Else Have A Raging Hard-On For Danny DeVito Or?

Can't relate. It's Matilda's dad who does it for me. Every time.

Ah Reddit, you’ve done it again. You’ve somehow managed to take your ongoing obsession with boners, Danny DeVito, a dash of his most memorable TV and film roles like IASIP and Matilda, and turned it into some pure gold.

Some person kicked started this hilarious saga over at AskReddit by innocently asking: “Which celebrity gives you the quickest boner once you look at them?

Now a Reddit thread such as this would normally garner countless replies of “Emma Watson”, “Jennifer Lawrence” and *insert Hollywood actress, pop star or model*. One person decided to buck the usual trend by putting down Danny DeVito as the one who gives them the quickest hard-on and next thing you know, almost everyone else started naming Danny as their ultimate celebrity sploosh.

Look, I totally get it. I mean, have you looked at him and seen his work?

Danny DeVito is a god around these parts and the GOAT team can’t honestly think of anyone else on this green(ish) earth who could give us a faster boner than the man who gave us Frank Reynolds from IASIP, the short guy from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s twin.

Since this is Reddit we’re talking about here, there were some absolutely brilliant gems from some seriously thirsty folk who just wanted to show how much they (and their boners) loved Danny.

Here are just some of the highlights:

“Double D’s always get me going. Danny Devito that is.”

“Mila Kunis… Is second on my list, just behind Danny DeVito.”

“Michael Keaton’s nemesis. I don’t know his name, but holy shit, he played an evil cold-weather bird and it just made me hot.”

“Emma Watson. Especially when she puts on a lot of weight, puts on glasses, becomes half bald, and turns into a boy. That description sounds an awful lot like Danny DeVito.”

“Maaaaan you all are wrong, it’s the art critic Ongo Gablosian.”

“Gal Godot but only if I squint my eyes because then she looks like Danny Devito.”

“The nice lad who offered me an egg in this trying time.”

As fun as this whole thing was, I for one am disgusted by the lack of respect shown in that Reddit thread and all those people naming Danny DeVito should be ashamed of themselves.

The man’s name is Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. so have some goddamn respect.

WWII Is, Like, Way Too Triggering To Learn About, According To This Influencer

And that is how you end up as an influencer, kids.

There are important reasons why we need to learn history in school, chief among them is to educate future generations about the significance of important moments and learning from past mistakes so we’re not doomed to repeat them. But if you’re 22-year-old Instagram influencer Freddie Bentley, then you’re in the camp of “let’s stop teaching kids about WWII because it’s, like, way too intense”.

This whole saga began when Freddie decided to appear on Good Morning Britain to debate the topic “do millennials need to know about WWII” with former British chief inspectorate of schools, Michael Wilshaw, following a bunch of Apprentice contestants admitting they didn’t know when the war began.

While the Instagram influencer says he understands the importance of WWII. he also says he wished he learned less because it was *checks notes* so “intense” and not as educational as “other problems going on in the world at the moment” that aren’t taught in school, like Brexit and climate change.

Freddie was met with a staunch rebuttal from Wilshaw, who said that it is important for students to remember the war, the people who sacrificed themselves and the mistakes that were made. Trying to explain his reasoning further, Freddie says teaching WWII to kids will have a toll on their mental health:

“Mentally, in their mental health, to be told that this certain amount of people died for you.

“Mental health is completely on the rise now. I don’t think encouraging death and telling people how many people died in a world war is going to help someone in the future.”

Great point, Freddie. We should definitely stop learning about WWII, a historical event in which a charismatic yet stupid fascist rose to power in a democratic society and enacted horrendously racist policies that led to the death of countless people.

Yeah, that doesn’t sound familiar at all, especially with what’s happening today around the world.

To be fair, ol’ mate has a fair point about schools needing to focus more on topics that affect people today, such as climate change, Brexit and taxes, as those are incredibly important. But to teach those lessons at the expense of learning one of the most important events in history?

Nah mate. If you think learning about WWII is so intense that it’ll be detrimental to the mental health of kids, wait until they start learning about biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and geography. Oh and let’s not forget about sports.

When you’ve dug yourself a hole with no dignified way of digging yourself out, the only option is to double down hard and boy did Freddie Bentley go all in on his position.

In the wake of widespread criticism of his comments, ol’ mate shared a post in Instagram where he stood behind his opinion before sheepishly backtracking a bit, writing that WWII “needs to be taught in moderation to promote mental health and focus on teaching young people real life skills.”

Look, credit to Freddie Bentley for having the balls to go on television and putting up a staunch defence for an indefensible viewpoint because there’s no possible way to come out of that looking good.

His ideas on education reform will likely fall through because they’re, well, dumb but his appearance on Good Morning Britain did prove one thing: stay in school and learn as much as you can, kids, or you’ll end up being an under-educated influencer whose lack of intelligence gets brutally exposed to millions on TV.

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