Our Friend the Computer

Beltel / WorkNet (Pre-Internet Networks)

June 25, 2022 Our Friend the Computer Season 1 Episode 11
Our Friend the Computer
Beltel / WorkNet (Pre-Internet Networks)
Show Notes Transcript

The girls discuss how South Africa’s videotex network Beltel fell into the hands of an oppressive government during apartheid. Although the police department grew stronger due to data storage accessibility via this videotex network, activists were also using technology for much better motives in opposition to the regime.

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Main research for the episode was done by Ana who also audio edited.
Music by Nelson Guay (SoundCloud: fluxlinkages)

- https://www.theregister.com/2019/04/26/on-call/
- CS Students “The Use of Computers to Support Oppression” Stanford University, http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~cale/cs201/apartheid.comp.html
- NARMIC/American Friends Service Committee, “Automating Apartheid - U.S. Computer exports to South Africa and the Arms Embargo” Omega Press, Philadelphia, 1982
- Slob, Gert. “Computerizing Apartheid: export of computer hardware to South Africa” Amsterdam, May 1990
- Lewis, David Robert. “The Electronic Struggle” Cape Town, 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I15TVFl_G_k, https://pt.slideshare.net/ubuntupunk/the-electronic-struggle-63558367
- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apartheid-lawsuit-idUKKBN0GS2P120140828

Hello. Welcome to our friend The computer, A computer history podcast. I'm Camila, and I am here well, via the Internet with my lovely co-host, Ana. Hi Ana. Hi, Yes, via the Internet. Not telecommunication lines. We're not recording. We're not recording vie telephony networks, but through ARPANET, Internet. It's kind of depressing. Yeah, well, you know, I'm having a kind of weird week, but I'm very excited. Yeah. I mean, I, like, I got back from my trip to London, visiting you, and then, yeah, I had, I guess, sort of like a commission that was due last week. So I'm sort of. Yeah, I was like, working hard on some, on some projects, and now I'm ready for some podcast time. Yeah, it sounds like you've been super busy, which was good for me because it meant that I could really dig in a search for this one and basically just like change the research multiple times. It's cool because we kind of worked on this together a little bit where you kind of like had a read through my notes and we were able to kind of suss out what, yeah, what this episode was going to be about fully. So. Yeah, but wait a second. You're in Switzerland. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I'm in Switzerland. I'm visiting my mom. She lives here. I'm actually working remotely. So, do the know you're working remotely? Yeah, they know that I'm working from Switzerland, but actually, only my line manager and my, like, managers know that I am. My colleagues don't actually know that I'm in Switzerland. They think that I'm in London and I actually have my boss messaging me at the moment being like, kind of checking in with me to make sure that I'm on the beach somewhere, which I definitely will be in about an hour and but yeah, it's been really hot. It's really, really hot. It's like 34 degrees. It's crazy. That sounds nice. We had like one hot day here in New York and then it got really windy and then it was kind of cold, so. Oh, really? Yeah, I don't know. It'll. It's summer solstice or something, I think, now. So. So actually, this is like kind of the last. Oh, yeah. Sort of. Our current our first little season arc isn't our first little season. Looking at these kind of pre-Internet networks. Specifically what we did we did telex. Mhm. Teletext and video texts. So yeah, this is a little bit of an epic one to finish us off. And then I mean we've got like probably going to have a couple more episodes that are looking at some adjacent looking of something adjacent, but I'm just working on it. We'll say, we'll see how it go and then we're going to do a new topic for a little bit after that, which is going to be interesting because like, yeah, I mean, it's computers, but yeah, right, exactly. It's all kind of linked, but I think it's yeah, it's nice to kind of have different topics, different chapters because yeah, like you said, the development of technology is so interlinked and you can go into the details of all of the bridges, you know, and you can do like a chronological like history of everything, but that would be incredibly boring. So I'm kind of excited to like, look into something completely different. Yeah, but I think, you know, I love this topic, so we might still bring bring some episodes. Yeah, yeah. Dip our toes back in to the pre-Internet networks. But today, what's our, what's our topic? So it's Bell Ballito, which was a South African video text network by the late eighties and early nineties, there were kind of a few online communication standards that have been sort of set. You had the c p, t one which was built from text, which was used in Germany, had CP two which was Minotaur. In France you have GPT three, which was used for press down in the UK and there was even acp4, which was for press Dell plus, but I think presto plus was Sweden. Oh okay. I think I could, yeah, yeah, yeah. And by this point most telecommunication companies around the world started to adopt these systems for their services. And in 1986 the South African video text network which also ran in c T, but I think it was more linked to the minute till one was known as Balto and it was introduced by the South African Post Office, who then also operated the country's kind of phone system to let you know what telephony do you know what Bell stands for in Balto? That's a good question. Who is the person that invented telephone? Alexander Graham Bell Is that the person? I mean, I don't think oh, I don't know. Can we Google that? I'm Googling it. Yeah, he, he, he patented the first practical telephone, but I'm not sure if that is named after him, but I'm going to use. Yeah. Or like Bell as in like you know, you're ringing something illegally. Yeah. Mhm. But yeah. I mean in technical terms. Bell tell is a video text service that allows access to computer services and databases through the existing phone network. And to use this system, you would need a personal computer equipped with PC Bell. PC Bell That's really cute. Yeah, that reminds me of like Taco Bell. And PC Bell was a specialized software from Telecom, which was the the name of the National Telecommunications Company. And then PC Bell would be hooked up on to a modem or a dedicated terminal such as Minato and. Yeah, and then that could also be rented from telecom. So so this is a little later, I guess, than other video techs, especially if they if they were like starting I guess because like Minute Hall had already been successful and they were like, yeah, it was like the late eighties, right? Because I guess like when press element Italian things started, they were like only on terminals. But I think at that point. PC Like a computer, home computer or microcomputer, whatever wasn't available. And then later there was like adapters and things that people could use so they could access video tech services on their PC. Yeah, yeah. You know, this is interesting that like when it started, it was both PC and terminal options. Yes, exactly. Time Yeah. So it was basically like a little bit more advanced, I would say, with the hardware. And then also people started using bulletin board systems on that hardware, right. Yeah. So it's Yeah. Yeah. Which then essentially booted video techs out into. Mm. But was also funny is that PC bell came on a floppy which was later known in South Africa as a Steffi. Yeah it's like a specifically kind of South African tech slang. Why is it kind of sticky? Because it's funny, but it also distinguishes the 3.5 inch floppies with a that had like a rigid case. Uh huh. So they're are known as Steffi disks, and then they're distinguished from the floppy disks because the floppy disks are like, flexible. They come in this kind of bendable case. Yeah. So I mean, you have the floppy and you have it's sticky. Wow. I know jokes. And the the primary use of Alltel was online banking, which is boring. Boring with the stuff you have to do. But in banking, yeah. So online banking was kind of predominantly used in South Africa years before Internet banking was even invented. I mean, that's the same for all of these systems, right? Yeah, I think it's net banking was like a large part of video text, video, text. And also is, I think like often an early one of the early services available. And most of them, yeah, it would make sense because it was really handy to make kind of online payments to suppliers like this for tax purposes because you would immediately kind of get a receipt displayed on your machine and then it would be easy to track and file and you would save on paper in space. So it made sense why that would be like the first feature that would be introduced to these services and also payments would be very user friendly through the system because you could navigate with the keyboard. Like for example, you could press eye for index and E for end or exit like exit, as if you're exiting the interaction of this particular information supplier and banks did not charge for using the bell toll billing system, but they instead levied charges from the customer's account with them as payments for bell tolls hardware. So what does that mean? So basically, instead of charging for the service, they made money by billing people monthly for the hardware as if you're kind of paying off the car because they rented the hardware. Exactly. From telecom. Yeah. But the banks this is the banks. So like the banks aren't charging to use the billing system, but they're getting money from telecom. Yeah, Yeah. But that's also how they eventually perish, along with other video tech systems as the Internet developed, because the banks would essentially force users to move to internet banking by increasing bell toll banking's monthly fees to extremely high costs that I thought that it wasn't. I thought it was free of charge. Yeah, but then they would pair up with bell tolls and bell toll would increase their charges because they're paying back monthly. But they I mean, this is, I guess why they perished. But that seems stupid. That's because they wanted people to go. They wanted people to use Internet banking instead because it was a state funded project. Right. It was it was by the telecommunications company. So so they could kind of afford to use is that users but is the monthly fees like you're paying back the it's like a one because it's like a bit insane that they would then like make that more expensive but is it it's if it's more like a subscription fee or something I can see that yeah, maybe subscription is the better term for it. Yeah. I mean it was a really kind of unfair move by the state because they could afford to boot out users since the employees of that service would just be transferred to another department that would replace the old such as video text to internet. And there wouldn't be any cases of like bankruptcy. Oh, it's just interesting, like, because, you know, I'm just thinking back to Minotaur and the way that their their payment systems worked where, like, it didn't cost, it was money for time and then for specific services, but it was like they would split the cost, like some of that would go like it would all be charged to your phone bill. But then like some of and it would just be like minute out and then some of that would go to the government and then some of that would go to whatever services you were actually like accessing. So I guess if you were like using the, the banking thing, you'd be charged like per minute or whatever you were on there. And it wasn't so much like a, a monthly subscription or like service fee that was like flat. It was based on time. Yeah. Yeah. So it's like interesting that they chose a different but also like, I guess we're going to look at very different government systems. Yeah, I know what's going on. Yeah. Because I think the rents, the fact that the hardware was being rented from telecom, that was, that was just the way that the service was being maintained and then once the Internet was introduced, they just up the prices, booted out the users and made them move on to the internet as a service while still using some of the old hardware, which is quite interesting. Do you know why they wanted to move people over to the internet? I guess it was just more accessible. It was faster, it much more international. Yeah, I think there yeah, there must have been a kind of diplomatic solution to that. So like, the government and the banks were kind of working together, I guess a little bit. I mean don't they always. Yeah, Yeah. And also, I mean this hardware was already being used and instead of providing their users with hardware, software replacements that would correlate to this service transfer, they would instead just charge old service users more to coerce them into either using an obsolete service or buying the new device. And I guess that's interesting because it was like you saying before terminals, which I'm guessing would you could only access that Balto video techs on but then as if people were using the PCs and they were like accessing Balto with the PC bill. Steffy Then it wouldn't be so difficult for them in terms of hardware to switch over to the Internet because that would have been they would just need like a modem. Exactly. Yeah. And it happened very quickly, but we'll get into that later. So just to give some kind of social context to when these systems were being introduced in South Africa at that time, you had the apartheid, which was a system that segregated people according to race and enforced the segregation with violence from the authority or regime. And there was also a period of public unrest because of it. And specifically in 1987, the whole of University of Cape Town was closed down as a result of that kind of disruption and student revolt against the regime. But the South African police, so the apartheid regime was basically waging a war of attrition against socialism and communism and acted on the university as a way to kind of gives activists a lesson and they blocked students into libraries and tear gassed them. It was really horrible. Like, I can't stress how brutal this was. There were like helicopters flying above police beating students and placing them under arrest and yeah, since the video tech system was government owned. So of the students who would demonstrate in protest to the regime and its accelerating police violence chose a different network to organize themselves through which was the bulletin board system or BBC. Most specifically, they organized themselves through a network on that system called Work Net. But again, we'll get into that in another episode potentially. We got to yeah, we got to do a whole thing on PBS. Yeah, I know a whole new world. And what's interesting is that while Bell Tower was expanding, bulletin board systems were also being used by mostly hobbyists, but the students could use it as a way to link up to other activists around the world. You could kind of dial in to forums like peacenik Net or Echo Net, and you could read news through the A.P. system, which was the network news transfer protocol. And this was a little bit more open source because PBS allowed you to post and add comments. So the whole news service was way more autonomous and managed by the people rather than the authorities, which is what Balto was. And yeah, the news on Bell tell in contrast was like I said, government owned government approved and condoned a lot of like law abiding messages. So people that were tapped into tech and also supported the anti-apartheid movement at the time were slowly but surely moving away from video text networks and instead to the .2. protocol next networks, which is what PBS was using because it's linked through IP addresses. So just to understand how strongly computers were being contested with the government versus the people, most of the computer equipment purchased by the state was for the military because it was the largest arm of the government, even though the military was the target of U.N. sanctions during the apartheid. So tech companies could not sell their equipment to the apartheid regime. Well, however, the state could still purchase equipment technically movement. And then the way that that was being distributed once it entered the borders was kind of up to that sounds so dodgy, but they could still so they could purchase it because they could feel like it's not for the military. Exactly. Wow. Yeah. You know, I just went to the U.N.. Oh, really? Yeah, I did a tour, and so I went to that. I went to the different they took us to the different chambers and I went to that this one, which would have been what the security. The security Council, who's great big recommends here. Anyway, back to UN sanctions during the apartheid. The UN Yeah, the UN had the it's, it's funny how the UN had a lot of kind of decision making power, but then none of that actually came into being. Well, what I did learn was that the Security Council is the only one that has legal ramifications for its decisions like all the other councils, like the General Council or whatever, like they, they can make suggestions that people should follow. But I think that the security one, which is like I think they have four or five like constant members that are there all the time and then there's like ten that get reelected every year, get elected every two, every two years of like the rest of the other 150 something nations. But I guess that's why they make all the decisions. And even like I learned about recently, there was a they were trying to make a decision about Russia and Ukraine. And so the so the core members, they have veto power and Russia is one of those members. So they put up this thing to vote on about like should we condemn Russia's actions? And Russia was like, nah, nah, like I'm going to veto this. So they couldn't do any legal sanctions. So I think then it went to like the General Council or something. I do think it was funny that in the Gift star of the UN, they sold slap bracelets, obviously went into the get some UN merch. I mean, I bought one of the slap, you know, a slap on the wrist from the UN one of visit. I would do it again. I do it again. It sounds like a place where everything's just really complicated and log. I had to arrive in our early to go through security. Yeah, I can imagine. Anyway, the Defense force had six major computing centers. Wow. Yeah. Where? North Africa is not even that big. No, exactly. And the computers there were used to analyze, like, battlefield data, guide weapons, transport equipment, send notices to draftees, and just generally monitor what kind of naval movements around the coast of South Africa. I mean, I guess I you know, I know I know about apartheid, but I'm not really like privy to what other like wars and things they were fighting during that time. But was this do you think this was more just like protecting the apartheid? You know, like if everybody was other countries were like not wanting it to continue? Yeah. And I mean, also to just like inflict war, I mean, on to the people. I mean, I guess my question is, is this war against the people or is this some other this some other wars that they're fighting? Yeah. I mean, I think it was a kind of case of being prepared and being as organized as possible, because also and another thing to know is like the military had a severe personnel shortage, so everything had to be highly organized because only white people were drafted. And so these computers enabled support of the front lines and were generally able to kind of keep bureaucratic track as the speed of modern warfare. And the main contribution of databases to the apartheid was the computerized population register. And I'm reading this out from the Stanford report that's called the use of computers to support oppression. They write that the plural Affairs department maintained the passbook system on the more than 25 million Africans defined as black. These records were all kept electronically on British made ICL hardware. The Department of the Interior maintains the Book of Life watch files on the other 7 million citizens classified as non-black using an IBM hardware system. The passport records included data on racial classification, name, sex, date of birth, residence, photo, marital status, driver's license, dates of departure from and returned to the country, place of work or study and fingerprints. When South African describe the population register at work as computers flashing out reference numbers, photocopies relayed by telephone perhaps even instant transmissions of fingerprints all to keep track of members of the population. Sounds like George Orwell's 1984, doesn't it? Well, if South Africa's way of modernizing and streamlining its past and influx control system so computers were heavily used and at the same time, in response to this, the BBC movement grew as the kind of anti-apartheid organization tool for activists and the movement also became stronger. And its relationship to tech was very mutual. The networks grew stronger and more organized to counter strike oppression. And so the technology developed, which in turn accelerated the mobilization of activists again. So do the government know that the activists were using the work, not PBS? Yeah, I mean, not unless you were out on the streets. It's not like the government or authorities could come to your home and kind of arrest you for using a BBC, but they would be able to, but they would be able to let go on to the BBC themselves. Right. And onto work net and you see what was happening, right? Because it wasn't like it was password protected or something. Yeah. So I don't know how advanced surveillance technology was on these networks, but the system must have developed regardless because it's really clear how these networks were shaped by the people in retaliation to state authority and racism, racial segregation, which is another thing that we could go in detail about in the future when we cover PBS. But for now, yeah, I mean, like, you know, I've sort of been looking at into it a little a little bit just sort of with the idea that we might do a future season. These like smaller groups, whether it be a hobbyist group or whether it be like a political group, whether it be a group centered around like specific identity, that that was a really key part of these early forums or, you know, communication sort of groups that it did allow people to kind of connect with people that with shared interests. And we saw that with minutes later, you know, that allowed people that that lived really far away to connect with each other in a way that hadn't been possible or was a lot more difficult up until we got sort of computer networks. And I mean, you then would have hobbyists and activists and, I don't know, entrepreneurs like get together and shape the actual software of these networks and the way that they're being used and kind of make the forms more efficient. And then the Internet came about. So you would have these social movements like actually shape the technology as well. So it was this kind of mutual, like I said, this mutual relationship. And the same can count for politics as well because, you know, when Nelson Mandela eventually signed the Bill of Rights on the 31st of December 1996, it was the response to four four, like something like the apartheid never happen again. But it also contained two major clauses which fundamentally shaped the policies for the freedom and access of information online forever. Well, it's clauses stated First of all, the right to privacy, for example, the right not to be surveyed by anyone, including the government or commercial entities. And secondly, the access to information and the freedom of expression. So does that has that changed? Like is that still in the Bill of Rights? Like, I wonder I just wonder how that affects current technology in South. IT yeah, it's still it's still effective but there were many tech legislations that aimed to work against the Bill of Rights that have tried to be signed during the noughties in the early tend in South Africa to increase. It's just so funny to hear that you have that word in the context of these really serious. I know because the noughties were just so stupid. Yeah, but in the there were a couple of bills that have been tried to sign to kind of debase that bill because it was either to increase surveillance or mined data, especially after WikiLeaks and Snowden. They really tried to attack these these clauses. None of them passed, luckily, but it was kind of, again, a very highly contested field of law and still is. There's actually a really interesting talk by David Robert Lewis called the Electronic Struggle from 2016, which goes into detail about this. He was a social justice activist at the time and says something quite outstanding after mentioning how the people were engaged in writing the Bill of Rights because it was written after the first Democratic election, and it was there for a period when the country and its people were extremely engaged in writing peace laws. And he says that he doesn't, and I quote, think that there was any nation on the planet that had gone so far to protect information, access and privacy rights through legislation. Well, yeah, but back to computers that were used by the state and law abiding citizens. You had Battelle, which was a quite restrictive, socially speaking piece of tech. This government sponsored system was everything but progressive for the population, and they soon came to ban it in 1999, officially. And rightly so. You get billed monthly from this machine that came in one piece of beige and demanded payments in tax to a government that was repressing me. Yeah, its hardware and software was based on Presto and Unitel. So it already kind of contains like colonial roots. And on top of that it recited, you know, state propaganda through their news channels. So it's no surprise that the search of bulletin board systems replaced video text completely. And it was quite a quick transition and it's known that Battelle was used by the police department and they regime. But the documentation and to what extent is very limited. One thing that is quite well documented, though, is IBM's technological support of the apartheid. So you said before that IBM's hardware was being used to keep the what was it called, the pass book, The Passbook. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And the very profitable South African warfare operations had resulted in explosive growth of investment during the 1970s by several large American technology corporations, their main one being IBM International Business Machines. Okay, two points I want to make. Yeah. Number one, did not know that. So what IBM stood for as social justice issues. And then number two, what year did you say that the UN did the sanctions? I don't think I specified a year, but it would have been later than this, right? Well, yeah. During the seventies it looks like 1962, the general Assembly condemned the policies, but that's just General Assembly. And as we found out on my tour, they they don't have legal ramifications to their decisions. I don't know. I mean, I just wanted to say what IBM was up to. Yeah, well, they still supplied computers to the state no matter the sanctions. They were the largest computer supplier in South Africa throughout the years of apartheid and were also Battelle compatible. And also one of the policies of apartheid was to remove black citizens from citizenship so that you had a white country and then you had these homeland states that were supposedly independent homelands, none of which were recognized by the international community. And this would be done by gathering census data from the people for race criteria, such as bloodline, the blood. Yeah, which is ridiculous, because if you look at our DNA, it's very difficult to prove that there is such a thing as well. There is no such thing as right? No, because it's difficult to prove because it doesn't matter. The science tells us that, you know, that innate adaptation such as hair and skin color, are not indicative of the separation between the species. We're all biologically the same species. Yeah, Yeah. IBM, IBM. However, allegedly, allegedly cited technology to tabulate these characteristics. And the regime and military soon became quite dependent on this tech to surveil and categorize and segregate depending on race. The concept that was the concept of race. Yeah. And just taking some stats from that same report to give some perspective on the regime's inherent dependance on IBM. In 1970, South Africa had an estimated 400 computers. That number continue to grow, totaling more than 4500 in 1982, which is quite a lot. And just to put that into perspective, in the middle of the surge in, let's say 1990, in 1977, only the US and Britain spend more on computer technology than South Africa as a percentage of gross national product. And back then, in 1980, 75% of computers in South Africa were purchased from American corporations, and the rest of them were British. Yeah, yeah. And Almost half of computer sales went to the government in 86, and Battelle did not have the capacity to harness this information, but the communication exchanges were done via the network between the State departments like Intercom and classified mailing, like bell bass and CDS classifieds, which is the kind of networks where they were communicating through. So you mean like it's not like Bell Tower was being used to store the this information or anything, but it was still like a place to put propaganda and like and communicate between departments. Exactly. Okay. Yeah. And then, you know, using remote terminal links, also, police operators at regional centers around the country had immediate access to a secret criminal databank, which stores details about anyone on the government's wanted list. So again, this gave the police bell chill, just gave the police remarkable power over political opposition. Well, I mean, like we know this, but, you know, it's like tech can be used for good or for bad, I guess. Yeah. You know, it's interesting to look at this and then think also about say, in Chile during the Allende period. And like they that was, I guess, a telex network, but they used the ability to communicate and kind of form networks and things as a way to work against like CIA infiltration. And yeah, it all depends on who it falls in the hands of. Well, who's hands it for? Yeah. It also sets a lot of context for legal work, how the technology is being used, because as a retaliation by the people and towards the disintegration of apartheid in the nineties, South Africa's general activities around the use of technology by the state turned into something quite remarkable because it set the grounds for legal inquiries into apartheid, some of which are still ongoing. So the companies such as Ford, IBM and Shell suddenly found themselves accused of supporting racist power structures and IBM were sued over apartheid era abuses. And again, this battle is one of longest running court cases in history. It actually ended in 2016 when the apartheid victims had lost the battle. And IBM continually asserted that the applications of their computers were not used to abridge human rights, even though they acknowledge that the uses to which computers were put could not be known in all cases. Right. I mean, that's how they was still able to like supply. Yeah, exactly. The computers and actually the South African parliament made it illegal for companies to report the uses of their computers, which is probably why there's such little documents on how software like Bell Toll was used by the police, too. So this is also one of the reasons the trial is so long, because it just makes the case extremely complicated. Yeah, and yet it's very clear that Bell tell and the technology linked up to it played a part in the maintenance of segregation back then, you know? Right. Yeah. I mean, like the whole system. The whole yeah. How political and even like, you know, social system was like, set up to maintain segregation. And so, like, no matter what gets put into that, it kind of, you know, not if you're not Yeah if you're not actively working against it, then everything is part of it. Yeah. There's a quote by the managing director of the South African subsidiary of Burroughs Corporations, which he said, We are entirely dependent on the US. The economy would grind to a halt without access to the computer technology of the West. No bank could function. The government could collect its money and couldn't account for it. Business can operate, payrolls could not be paid. Retail and wholesale marketing and related services would be disrupted. So the government's strength was, yeah, in the hands of such machines. And it's important to think about and execute on how these things can be weakened as much as possible, whether that's by making legislation for harmful surveillance software or through hacktivism or economic boycotts targeted at the regime or even the companies such as IBM. But either way, Bell TELL Service came to a halt in 1999. Its credit checking communication, agriculture management Directory services because it used electronic yellow pages all like the sign. Yeah, that's a classic. That's a classic. It even had entertainment channels and news weather reports. They were all replaced by the Internet. And so the Stanford report that I mentioned earlier concludes that although the sort of conditions in South Africa were unique, the lessons learned from studying the actions, motives and results are universally applicable since, you know, the essential is political and economic power through technology. David Lewis, who gave that talk, who is the hacktivist that spoke about the electronic struggle, states that one of the problems with apartheid is that it wasn't just something that happened in isolation. It has a history. And one of the ways of looking at that history is through technology. So I think, again, like the history of Bell Tell, although if service was on the fringes of how it was used in apartheid and how it helped maintain the system is quite a good marker on how to follow the. Yeah, just like the reprehensible logics of systematic oppression, right? I mean, I guess like we've been looking at all these video text networks and a key part of them all really is that they're government run. Yeah. And in some cases that's been good. In some cases that has helped the network and helped people. But it depends on what that government is. And in this case, videos in this case use. The computer was not our friend now that you know yeah like I guess it's there is technology and like where it gets introduced into and the way that those societies that is specific. Yeah. Is specific to them and like but you know in saying that like I don't think that absolves the tech or like the people that are introducing that technology to places I don't know it's like, like you said, it's like it's not just an inanimate innocent tool, despite the fact that like in a vacuum maybe it is, but we don't live in a vacuum. And that's why I think the transition of Patel to networks like working, that was quite a profound way of, looking at technology, because you can actually just like literally move away from something that is damaging. You don't have to kind of convert it or reform. You can just move away from this network. I mean, yeah, these things are good and they're bad. Well, then they're neither how people use them. They're good and they're bad and they're not innocent and they're innocent. And the computer is our friend. And I'll say another friend. I want the computer to be our friend. But it makes it hard. Sometimes. It does. Did you say that glitch in Instagram recently, where it was like making you watch people's stories from the start every time, every single time? No, I'm like, I was driving me nuts. I'm really glad that I missed that. I think they fixed it now. Okay. But I post those stories and I just refuse to post stories for a few days because I didn't want to force people to watch them over and over and over again. There's enough of that already. There's enough stories out there. I've never gone at the end of that chain, you know, the stories chain. I don't think, Oh my God. At the end of it, I, I very early on I used to be able to hit the end, but there's no way now. Now we just got too many followers. Thanks, followers for keeping along. And that was great. And that was so interesting. I'm really keen to maybe in the future delve a little deeper into some of, you know, maybe a bit more BBC work, net stuff. You need more IBM stuff. Yeah, there's so much IBM controversy, it's quite unbelievable. But they want it too. So they want the lawsuit. So what are you going to do? I guess the podcast is what's left. But yeah, no thanks. Thanks for tagging along. I think next week we're just going to do a little chatty episode. I'd like to maybe talk about maybe the end, the end of video text and how how that sort of happened and end was like the range of ways that the Internet sort of starts to take over. And I'd like to do a do a little bit of reflection, a bit of a debrief, some of our own personal input, our joys and our anger towards the system. What do the Kardashians do the the peak in the pit? Oh, I don't know. Is that what they think they do that at? Like oh, I just remember that from like in the past at the end of every day or something. They like what was the peak and what was the pit? Yeah. I don't want to hear your subs. What's your highlight of the week? And the worst thing that I want to know all because let's reflect on that other Sunday. All right, cool. Yeah. Everyone, thanks for listening. Thanks for listening, Will. We'll be back in two weeks and change the channel. Yeah. Thank you. Have a lovely, fabulous day. Goodbye. Hi.