9 Push Notification Headlines That Prove We’re Moving Closer to Tyranny
By T6W Staff
At one point we’ve all received that unsettling news alert of a humanitarian crisis occurring somewhere in the world, or scrolled through our favorite news aggregator’s highlights and come across yet another questionably invasive technological development. We hate to admit it, but this variety of news produces the unsettling feeling that the world we live in is slipping into dystopia.
It’s easy to shrug off our transition towards a dismal future by conjuring up nightmares of a deadly virus that sweeps the globe in but one day, or a nuclear war that takes mere seconds to destroy us. That’s the stuff of Hollywood (yet both are possible in actuality). The real culprits that get conspiracy theorists’ wheels spinning are subtler: growing corporate power, quiet political plays, financial upheaval and the like.
These elements set the groundwork for KoldCast TV’s Tyranny, a conspiracy series created by a conspiracy theorist that follows the disturbed artist Daniel McCarthy after a neurological experiment leaves him with prophetic visions of a future in which inhuman corporate interests and big brother government have merged into an unholy orgy of power. The lives of common citizens are broken, and the fate of the world is left in the hands of a shadowy dictatorship.
You are watching Episode 1 of Tyranny:
“The Beginning of the End”
Welcome to the underground.
Episode 2 of Tyranny: “Evaluation”
This past week, as T6W staff smartphones buzzed about one bit of malaise after another, we couldn’t help but draw parallels to our favorite Internet series that chronicles the beginning of the end.
1. “You Can’t Hide from Facebook Graph Search”
Whether you find it uncannily invasive or uncannily progressive, Facebook’s new “graph search” announcement is a game changer for online privacy. Mark Zuckerberg announced the feature last week, which allows users to search for behavior patterns among other people. This mode of compiling information about groups will range from the trivial “friends who’ve been to Rome” to the more serious, “registered gun owners” or perhaps “men interested in men living in Tehran”. Certain individuals and government agencies with access to information like that may do more than poke those whose interests they don’t approve of.
Tyranny in Truth: When show creator John Beck Hoffman was writing Tyranny back in 1999, he came up with an insidious but ubiquitous little gadget called the “IV”, a computer that hooks into your arm and learns everything about you. While life was made more convenient for consumers, the company controlling the network gained an unhealthy amount of power with all the new information it was fed.
2. “On Gun Control, Look to Biden”
In 1994, Joe Biden scored an early victory against the NRA, introducing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which instituted a ban on assault weapons. In the wake of Sandy Hook, the fight is being revived as Biden, now appointed by Obama, is seeking expansion of his two-decade old legislation. While no one’s arguing against greater protection for our children and increased public safety measures for all, what’s unnerving many Americans are the ramifications of increased controls on law-abiding citizens’ right to personal property.
Tyranny in Truth:: A core issue that’s quickly evolving is the executive order to begin registering all gun owners into a national database, not unlike an early version of Tyranny’s “grid”, a sophisticated government database that tracks everything from your personal information to your movements.
3. “Anonymous Hijacks Federal Website Over Aaron Swartz Suicide”
The war for freedom of information over the Internet was reignited last week by the suicide of 26-year-old Aaron Swartz, a whiz kid who developed the standard RSS feed and famously hijacked then published academic journal library, JSTOR. As a result, members of Anonymous have hacked into Justice Department websites, threatening to release sensitive information if the U.S. government doesn’t finish the work started by Swartz. Federal prosecutors stand by their decision to incarcerate Swartz, who was facing a 35-year sentence that most likely would have been reduced to six months.
Tyranny in Truth:: Tyranny’s Daniel McCarthy eventually leads a group of resistance fighters through “the grid” by hacking into its control mechanisms.
4. “Is Davos Losing Its Luster?”
For the first time in years, the esteemed World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos was devoid of high-level executives from powerful corporations such as Nike and Google. Thus, many of the usual lavish parties have been cancelled this year, save for a cocktail hour hosted by Yahoo’s new chief Marissa Mayer.
Tyranny in Truth:: One of Tyranny’s central storyline revolves around a small, secret society of rich and powerful men, “The Committee of 600”, who tend to disappear from the spotlight when economic instability rears its ugly, and seemingly unpredictable head.
5. “Israeli Election Results Shock the U.S.”
From The New York Times to The Economist and every news outlet in between, American pundits have been ferociously predicting the death of Israeli liberalism and the subsequent rise of the religious right in the wake of last week’s elections. In the end, all they proved is that people on the outside looking in can ascertain no more than a projection of their own opinions on foreign affairs. The world, and much of Israel itself for that matter, was shocked that a centrist coalition gained a substantial number of seats in the Knesset alongside Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reelection. This proved that contrary to the American predictions, Iran’s existential threat to Israel is, in fact, not consuming Israeli’s minds. Rather, domestic issues (like our own) such as the cost of living, equal rights, and joblessness are. This places the broader security issues on the back burner, for now.
Tyranny in Truth:: The Committee of 600 in Tyranny meets in various locations around the world – when we catch up with them in Episode 1, it’s Prague – to discuss their machinations in the U.S. and abroad, ultimately proving the limitless reach of their invisible hand.
6. “Mario Draghi’s Fight to Save the Euro”
For over a year now, the Eurozone crisis has kept the world economy hanging by a thread. Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, is being hailed as Europe’s savior. Draghi is continuously instrumental in tempering competing visions of Europe’s economy, a free market system heralded by British Prime Minster David Cameron, and a more bureaucratic approach by Germany’s Andrea Merkel, in order to reach a compromise about how to govern the massive world marketplace. American media outlets across the board voted for Draghi to be Time Magazine’s 2012 Man of the Year, an honor ultimately lost to Obama.
Tyranny in Truth:: Draghi is akin to Tyranny’s “Man from Atlantis” featured in Episode 9, who has an intimate understanding of the powers that be – more accurately, the powers that are yet to be – and the various conspiracies they’re responsible for that ultimately collapse the world’s economies.
7. “From Fiscal Cliff to Debt Ceiling, Congress Governs From Crisis to Crisis”
In an unsurprising turn of events, the U.S. Congress has kicked the can that is our debt ceiling crisis down the road for another three months, further delaying any responsibility to get out off the national red. After all the drama around the fiscal cliff crisis, our elected officials have shown once again that their solution to erasing our debt is leaving future generations of Americans holding the bag. By introducing the “No Budget, No Pay” act, an idealistic few are attempting to hold our reps accountable for delaying a budget by suspending their compensation.
Tyranny in Truth:: In Tyranny, all the conspiracy theorizing boils down to unscrupulous economics. Daniel recounts society’s downfall, “Everyone is being used as a tool to serve the financial interests of a privileged handful of people. No one knows who these people are, but I’m beginning to figure it out…”
8. “Is Mali al Qaeda’s Last Chance for a Country?”
Islamist insurgents in Mali tied to al Qaeda have all but eradicated the rightful Malian government and army, raising the ire of the French. Paris has now sent waves of troops to drive the religious extremists out of the country and end their harsh interpretation of sharia law. The U.S. is also stepping up its support and involvement, fearing the destabilization could have a domino effect for other countries in the region.
Tyranny in Truth:: In Episode 17 of Tyranny, Daniel wakes up on a staircase after having strange visions of being in Egypt in 2011, during the height of protests against foreign countries exploiting the country’s economic interests.
9. “The Boeing 787: The Truth Finally Hits the Fan”
The highly anticipated and equally plagued Boeing 787 Dreamliner, recently grounded by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for battery fires, was found to have had those batteries manufactured by the Japanese government-subsidized company, GS Yasua, raising suspicions that the contract was awarded as part of a broader unspoken arrangement for Japanese airlines to purchase Boeing planes exclusively.
Tyranny in Truth:: Backscratching at this level, which ultimately affected the safety of commercial airliners, is the sort of back room politicking that led to corporations in Tyranny eventually taking over the role of government itself. The series’ trailer describes the world of Tyranny as “one giant, global casino” in which the personal interests of the many are sacrificed for the gain of the privileged few.
Tyranny is fiction, but a strong cautionary tale. By asking what would happen if a small group of people gain power in our digitized, over-sharing and volatile world, we realize that a formidable threat isn’t that far off at all.
Click to watch Episode 3 of Tyranny:
“That Day in November”
Mind if we just hook a few electrodes to your brain?
Episode 4 of Tyranny: “Crossing Wires”