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The European Union plans to distribute new software to help human rights activists and dissidents in authoritarian regimes circumvent censorship.
"Enabling citizens of authoritarian countries to bypass surveillance and censorship measures depends on two basic conditions: availability of appropriate technologies (in particular software programs that can be installed on one's desktop computer, laptop, smart-phone or other device) and awareness, both of the techniques used by authoritarian regimes to spy on citizens and censor their communications, and of the appropriate counter-measures to use," explained the Commission.
The message above was posted on the Internet Governance Caucus (IGC) list earlier this morning by Imran Ahmed Shah. I replied there but wonder what the Diplo community thinks about this issue.
The reporting of the 'Arab Spring' is confusing and sometimes contradictory. Unarguably it happened and continues to happen. Contradictory is the overwhelming credit given to technology for what happened, while at the same time it is being reported that the technology is being interfered with, blocked or just plain switched off.
Is the emphasis on technology simply dust thrown in the air to distract onlookers from the tremendous power of the human will when focused towards an objective? Do you remember the Rose revolution in Georgia and the Orange revolution in the Ukraine? Those were attributed to mobile phones (wonderful advertising for at least one company :-) ) Back then Facebook was only just beginning.
It angers me when I hear reporters use the cliche, at the sites of disasters, that people are digging, moving rubble 'with their bare hands'. Human beings use the tools that are available to them. If there is no tool they use their own bodies. The tool helps; it may help a great deal, but without the tool the human will continue. Without the human the tool is useless.
Kroes said that the Arab Spring had been the wake-up call to governments around the world to recognize the power of the Internet, and social networking in particular, in building freedom and democracy.
This is a quotation from the article available at the link above.
I’m interested to know how other people feel about this.