Oct
04
2007

Smuggling the news out of Burma

In the past several weeks, protestors have crowded the streets of Rangoon, Burma to demand an end to the military dictatorship there. Like dictators everywhere, the military responded violently, and tried to cover up the news.

But modern technology is making that more difficult. Bloggers have used the Internet to broadcast news and pictures of the demonstrations. And high-definition satellite images confirm the violence, forced relocations, and other human-rights abuses.

In the past, a dictatorship was able to control the flow of information. That’s no longer possible. Whether or not the international community responds to this evidence in any meaningful way remains to be seen.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

This is an interesting development Gene. Along these same lines I've heard some discussion about how some of the more seemingly trivia Web 2.0 social technologies might help save lives in a similar way. Twitter, is a website that lets you post little 120 character updates to a website about what you are currently doing via a website or mobile phone text message.

Andy Carvin has a great post on his blog about how these tools might be used in natural disasters but I have also heard about Amnesty International using these sorts of cell/internet services to keep up to date with dissidents and protesters who are in danger of attack. Its exciting to see some more innovative and meaningful uses of these new technologies.

posted on Thu, 10/04/2007 - 12:10pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

This is a tangent, but this article argues that Twitter has a negative impact on society, distracting us from doing important things. (I can testify to that personally!) The author argues, however, that the problem is not the technology, but rather, how we choose to use it. The examples you cite -- using information technology to respond to natural disasters or to protect human rights -- would certainly be a very good use.

posted on Fri, 10/05/2007 - 9:16am

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