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We Are Looking At Prism From The Wrong Angle

17/06/2013 11:42 BST | Updated 14/08/2013 10:12 BST

Earlier this week I was down deep in the bowels of The Slaughtered Lamb.

It wasn't a satanic ritual; it was the pub basement venue for The Isbells, a Belgian electro folk band.

Their music is melancholic and moody, but they played one loud song. "Better leave the room if you're old", they announced. "This is loud and angry".

It was a "quite loud" and a "quite angry" song, but they were no Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten so the song remained simply a performance rather than a bile filled protest.

It got me thinking.

Where is the youth protest that helps usher in dramatic change and encourage new music, fashion and thinking? We see bottle-throwing, single-issue demonstrations flash on our screens but what about the deep rooted unsettling movement that changes the way we walk and talk? Where are today's mods, rockers, hippies, skinheads, punks, new romantics and so on?

Did Oasis wrap '90s music and culture in a Union Jack and bury teenage angst in one deft move?

The epoch defining protests of the sixties and seventies were defined and fuelled by dramatic shifts in culture and economy. Money and Liberation are a heady mix whether it's in abundance or scarce. Together, they certainly predict a riot.

The truth is, the kids are alright at the moment. And they have been for quite a while. That's because their 20 year old best mate, the Internet, is by their side at all times and is looking after them.

It's been THE defining cultural change for everyone, young and old.

We load it with our personalities, our stories and our personal details every single day.

Yes, we take some precautions, but we are as flip with our safety measures as the post-pill pre-AIDS generation was with their sexual precautions.

Despite taking these privacy-protective actions, teen social media users do not express a high level of concern about third-parties (such as businesses or advertisers) accessing their data.

That's because being on the Internet is all about giving up your data.

The furore about the discovery of Prism has been handled in a pre-Internet analogue way. Prism has been castigated as a Big Brother tool watching us all in intense detail.

But Big Brother belongs to our analogue past. It belongs to the world of Broadcasting, "Us and Them" and Mass-Communication.

That was a world of self-imposed "keep-yourself-to-yourself" privacy and almost no personal passwords and login details.

Internet surveillance is actually the trawling through data we have all freely given. It is the piece-by-piece analysis of millions of happily donated personal fragments. Already tech-heads round the globe manipulate our data in myriad ways. Want 100,000 facebook "likes". Easy. Just ask the right guys.

We have had no idea who assembles the app software we use on a daily basis. They could be unscrupulous, wife-beating, child molesting perverts. We don't ask. And we don't care. We just give them our data.

It is no wonder that, just a few days after the revelation that Prism existed, a majority polled by The Pew Research Center and The Washington Post said that they were happy for the authorities to investigate terrorism, even if it intruded on personal privacy.

Giving our personal data is now no longer a "shall we, shan't we" issue.

The discussion about Prism is taking place as one world order (Analogue) cedes to another (Digital). Factions from both sides are playing their roles accordingly.

But there can be only one outcome.

As our individual digital selves take hold and strengthen, we will progressively care less about how our data is used. Surveillance is not something that will change culture.

Prism is the tip of an iceberg we have all created. Just wait until the Internet is 30 years old.