Those of you who have email may have had a nasty surprise or two in your Inbox this week. The Badtrans-B virus was one of the very worst to spread through the Internet and is typical of a range of new and more powerful viruses which specifically exploit weaknesses in Microsoft email software, particularly Outlook Express.
In my column last week I mentioned an email program called Pegasus Mail. As you may recall, I pointed out that it’s an alternative to Microsoft Outlook Express. As everyone now knows, Microsoft’s programs are the main means of distributing lethal computer viruses through the Internet.
Pegasus Mail should interest socialists for a few reasons.
In the beginning, everything on the net was free. You wanted a website? There were hundreds — maybe thousands — of free offers. Needed web-based email? Hotmail was only the first of many thousands of free services. Dialling up to the net was free, though you had to pay the cost of the phone call. And even computers were free — I got one from Tiny Computers on the condition that I used their (free) Internet service for a year.
It’s 2001 already — and the movies are more than a century old. We’ve had movies with sound since the late 1920s, and colour films since just before the Second World War. If someone were to make a movie today in black and white, without sound, it would be rather odd, no?
Yet that is precisely what most unions and left organisations are doing with their websites. (I’m speaking about those that have websites — I won’t even discuss the others.)
Whatever one thinks of the US-led “war against terrorism”, there is cause for concern that civil liberties in Western countries are going to be eroded.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy ever to befall the socialist movement occurred in August 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War.