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“Kony 2012” One click to get, one click to share, one click to move

KONY 2012
A name that, until a few days ago, did not sound familiar, neither suggested something. A name that, despite what was underneath, could not puncture the news coverage. Or simply, so far, someone had not done enough to illuminate the dust that often falls on this kind of events. Now, thanks to the web and to the social networking sites, thanks to some enterprising and confident guys, the name of Kony speaks, uncovers, touches and leads to think. The hope is that it leads to act too.

Uganda: thousands and thousands of children abducted and driven to fight, thousands tortured, raped and mutilated. Many people now know that. Many people now know that Joseph Kony is the most worrisome and hunted criminal by the International Criminal Court. Many people now want to do something. All that the UN was not able to do in several years was made by a simple video in a few days: “Kony 2012”. The most viewed video of the moment, uploaded and shared on YouTube and on Vimeo. And the communicative purpose of the Californian guys part of “Invisible Children” has been reached.

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea, whose time has come, whose time is now”. These words open the video. These are the words to which the video succeed, in his 30 minutes of time, to give meaning. Many people have already seen it. For those who have not already done so, it is right to provide. For 30 minutes that inform, 30 minutes that shake our conscience. For 30 minutes of ‘life’. It is a suggestive and provocative short film, “cool” as it is said among youth. Jason Russell, head of the project, wanted it in that way on purpose, because, if the target is to show it, no one would see the umpteenth boring documentary about Africa. It is a matter of clicks.

Son of a Catholic catechist, twenty-five years ago he took the helm of a group of rebels, renaming it the “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA). Kony, in his opinion inspired by the Bible and the Ten Commandments, acts in the name of a theocracy in Uganda. Justified by this cause and playing the guru of the moment, he kidnaps, enslaves, tortures, kills and forced to kill… tens of thousands of children. The initiation is stark: children are forced to kill their family members, drink their blood and eat their liver. Nothing is more ferocious. Everything is in the name of God.

The International Criminal Court accuses him 33 times. Of them, 12 are crimes against humanity. We talk about slavery, rape, murder. We talk about children. Several operations, in recent years, have been organized to stop this monster. His name has never appeared in a newspaper significantly, let alone these operations have been successful. There is criticism on the viral phenomenon of these days and on the action of Invisible Children, but now many people know who Joseph Kony is. Thanks to the Internet and the power of the social networking sites, we know about these children.

Even in a battle of clicks, knowledge is understanding, knowledge is consciousness. Even in a battle of clicks, if there is a chance to change something… it originates just from knowledge.

The clone that we don’t know. Reflection around the EU video-warning to digital identity.

Are we really sure we were not cloned? The question may seem obvious in the answer or limping of meaning, perhaps slightly threatening. But its essence simply wants to be a beneficial provocation, parallel to the one launched by the European Union in recent days. Who will have the curiosity or at least the patience to scroll through these lines can catch the stimulus and give his answer.

A video was uploaded by EU Tube to warn about the risks of our personal informations which is present online.

he recall of the European Union is visually represented by some people who, in front of monitor and engaged in the most common practices online, are completely stripped of their clothes. Without not even realising. The words at the end of the video are emblematic: “Online you reveal more than you think. Take control of your personal data”.

This hollow engages our reflection on one of the most important issues related to Modern Communication: the digital identity. Built just by our personal data entered online through the everyday practices. “17 years ago less than 1% of Europeans used the Internet”- the voice of Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission, highlights – “Today, vast amounts of personal data are transferred and exchanged, across continents and around the globe in fractions of seconds”.

But then, why did we commence talking about cloning? The problem is that the discussion about how much the human reproduction is appropriate and ethical is often dabbed at the exclusive area of Science. In fact, if we talk about cloning, we imagine someone identical to us… physically. As if we look in the mirror and feel strengthened/scared by our copy. The imagination, however, becomes more twisted if it skid on a less tangible level.

Let’s try to think if the much discussed cloning, obviously in a less material manner, has already taken place. Perhaps without our awareness, let alone our consent. And, avoiding to fantasize too much, many presentiments will be rejoin to the EU recommendation on the danger of ‘denudation’. In the video, in fact, the clothes of the people in front of computers are sucked, leaving them naked and mostly unconscious. If we are wondering where these clothes finish up, then we can imagine them wearing our beautiful electronic clone.

We try to understand better: the Internet, the most authoritative ambassador of the recent Communication changes, now has become a fundamental resource in our everyday’s life. A CISCO study of 2011 likens it even to food and water. A real need for the most part of users around the world, in some cases more important than a car or a relationship. In fact, we are always connected. We have become a nonstop jet of marks, movements and informations, often involuntary. And, through these tracks, boundless and unquenchable databases shape our electronic clone. Nobody can be considered non-duplicate or unduplicable. Nobody can play the hermit of this modern virtual society.

The answer to the initial question begins to take shape. We cannot, in fact, be sure that there is not already an existing clone of ourselves. Certainly we are talking about an immaterial and fluctuating entity, but there is. And the worst thing, as suggested just by the EU video, is that beyond our control. Indeed, it may be dominated and controlled by third parties, for the most varied purposes. The lack of control over our digital identity is one of the most important and least evident of modern communication.

It is demonstrated by the Eurobarometer’s report entitled “Attitudes on data protection and electronic identity in the European Union”, related to the end of 2010. Three out of every four Europeans, according to the survey,  agree to put their data online and, at the same time, worried about their use by third parties. The most part of Irish users, for example, claim to have only partial control over the data they provide online. A good 20% don’t have it at all.

The perception of the problems about own digital identity, was analyzed also by a survey in 2011, signed by the famous German company G Data. More than 15,000 users in 11 countries worldwide, have participated in the research, showing that there is the awareness about the risks of the personal data on the network. But it is still defective and outdated.

The wakes that we leave managing our bank account online, booking our flight on the Internet, when we send an email, when we forward a photo or even just while we put our nice “Like” on Facebook, define our virtual clone indelibly. A ‘double I’ that we create ourselves, but that we cannot master. An electronic identity, goods of anyone, with our ideas, our preferences, our tastes and our ways of being… but that we paradoxically don’t know. And that goes for a walk free in the Net with our ‘clothes’, but without our eyes.