How Not to Die: Using Tech in a Dictatorship
““We are about upgrading our humanity and our own freedom.” – Mark Belinsky
Iphones, Twitter, Facebook and the like aren’t just for Americans wanting to talk about what bar to meet at or what celebrity said what anymore. Now this amazing technology has made its way into the hands of some of the most oppressed people on Earth. From Burma to Tibet to Liberia and Egypt, citizens are using technology to rise up against oppressive regimes.
Brian Conley, Deanna Zandt, Mark Belinsky and Sabrina Hersi Issa talked about their unique experience with the ability of technology to aid in the democratic process around the world.
Belinksy, co-founder and president of Digital Democracy, explained how the ability of North Koreans to use USB flashdrives to watch politcal videos instead of having to use DVD’s has made it much easier to hide them from the authorities. This is very important when such acts could have you arrested. Belinksy called this the “right to be forgotten.”
Blinksy also used the term blowback to describe what happend when technology companies work with oppressive governments. Blowback is the unintended consequences of actions companies or governments take. He said that the “blowback was enormous” when Yahoo worked with the government in China and people got arrested for using yahoo email. Yahoo came under fire for doing this.
Even though technology does play a very powerful role in liberating people, it can’t do everything. “Technology is magic… but technology won’t solve our problems, we will solve our problems and technology will help us,” said Zandt, author and media technologist.
Hersi Issa talks about her experience with technology in oppressed countries and where she sees things going in the near future in the video below.