Narrative is a crucial element for any war, whether on Bin Laden in Afghanistan or on Joseph Kony in Uganda. Generally this narrative, to settle public debate and drive broad sentiment towards a single goal, is one-sided and oversimplified. An opposing narrative is difficult to craft because it must either be complex, therefore hard to process, or also simple but contrarian. However, the first one to the narrative struggle usually claims “nationality” or “humanity” as part of the story, so that contrarians can be portrayed as threats or something less than human, and thus preventing a counter-narrative.
All posts tagged human rights12 Posts
Stifling the economy, trampling private property and straight thievery are the Senator’s current activities, at least according to the legislation she’s trying to pass. The PROTECT IP legislation being discussed in the Senate that she’s a co-sponsor of in theory seeks to prevent online piracy, but does little to stop intellectual property theft and in fact implicates her with breaking her own law. What the act would do is create a censorship regime in the USA and stifle the human rights of citizens around the world. As a New Yorker, a constituent and voting citizen, I’m concerned.
Mark Zuckerberg faces 15 brutal years in a Thai prison.
According to the Computer Crimes Act of Thailand, a website owner is responsible for anything written on their site, not just the actual author of the content. So if anyone posts anything on Facebook that is considered illegal in Thailand, Zuckerberg could be held responsible. The problem is that even talking about this law in Thailand is an offense, so if someone clicks the “like” button on this article from inside their borders, it could mean trouble.
How do you effectively document human rights atrocities and not get caught? This is an extremely difficult problem, one that takes experience, ingenuity, and, often unfortunately, trial and error. The consequences can be devastating, but new technologies expand the options for creative people who are trying to make a difference in their societies to be able to do so and stay a few steps ahead of dictatorial regimes.
Unfortunately, software companies often act as mini dictatorships in their own right. Their code and their products are closed and their users ruled and attacked if they use the technology in an unexpected way. On the other hand, there are open source projects that hold democracy as a central tenant. Having opened their code to the public, they are transparent, participatory, and accountable.
Dictators are often ruthless, charismatic and extremely intelligent. They also have the resources to be extremely sophisticated. If not showy.
In modern times, it’s hard for dictators to operate in the ways that they used to. Their citizens having mobile phone cameras and an audience of the world, its just not as easy to have an undocumented massacre as it was 10 years ago.
I recently met Julian Assange. My conversation with him helped to shine a light on for Wikileaks’ internal processes, just as Raffi Khatchadourian’s brilliant piece in the New Yorker and Julian’s TED talk also helped to do.
Back in May I had the pleasure of exploring The Future, also known as NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program Spring Show 2009. Last night I had the pleasure of actually molding it by guest lecturing Nathan Freitas’ Social Activism using Mobile Technology class at ITP with my colleague Emily Jacobi.
"On Sept. 26, the protests were still going strong. It was 11 am, and Aung Aung Ye was juggling two computers and a mobile phone from his office in Thailand. That morning he was on his mobile talking with contacts in Burma’s commercial capital, Rangoon. At 1:34 am EST, he told me that more than 10,000 people had gathered near Traders Hotel in downtown Rangoon. By 1:40, the mood, still palpable electronically, changed. He had received frantic calls – the military had begun using tear gas and bullets against the peaceful demonstrators. His status message read, "Now, shooting in North/Oakalapa." Two minutes later, it changed again – “Don't brake my heart into a million pieces.”"
"The panel on Public Media, Open Content, and Sustainability was something I was particularly interested in, but not something that many answers came out of. There was a lot of talk about the evolution of public media over the years and the need to continue to change and innovate, but without any key models or ideas of how that's going to happen versus how they'd like to see that happen. Kevin Reynen of the Open Media Project brought this point out with a question he asked regarding Ken Burns' supposedly public footage and when that would become available. The answer continues to be "eventually". Eirik Solheim of NRK (Norway's Public Broadcaster) brought up a lot of the most interesting models where they embraced BitTorrent early on as an alternative distribution model and also utilize their constituents to do a lot of translating for them. Go Norway!"