One of the main characteristics of today’s private and intimate environments is that they are completely pervaded by mass media, and more specifically by the spider’s web of the Internet. Through the Internet, we incessantly generate mappable traces of our opinions, desires, will, preferences, values, interests, fears, mindsets and moods, concerns, etc. If we take a quick look at our relationship with mass media screens and interfaces throughout the 20th century up to the present day, we can easily appreciate how the trend has been a sustained and progressive reduction in both physical and symbolic distance and an increasing sophistication in the forms of control through mass media technology as they have steadily penetrated the private and intimate spaces of the individual. This article analyzes some of the consequences of the increasing loss of symbolic and physical distance with mass media and informational technologies. The confinement caused by COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented restriction of public freedoms in countries with a long democratic tradition, combined with the generalization of legitimate and imperious digital surveillance undertaken in the name of the «public interest» especially through smartphones. It is the perfect example of an encapsulated and strictly media- controlled privacy accompanied by a massive, extensive and frenetic use of the Internet as the only window «open to the outside world» and the only means of contact as vicarious as it is frustrating with the other. The COVID-19 crisis has permitted the foreshadowing of the true dimension of the Internet in terms of control and social engineering, following decades of adaptation, interiorization and massive adoption of the medium by the citizenry. In this perfect storm in which two viral natures collided (that of the internet and that of COVID-19), the structural links between the Internet and socio-political isolation have become clear.
Internet, intimacy, mass media, politics, control, privacy, virality, COVID-19.