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U.S. gov't working on a panic button for captured democratic activists

Posted: , by Ken N.

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U.S. gov't working on a panic button for captured democratic activists
As you're surely aware, new media technologies, including cellphones, have played a key role in recent uprisings around the globe. And the U.S. government is working on an app of sorts that would protect these democracy campaigners. This "panic button" would be capable of deleting the user's phonebook, while also sending a warning message to fellow campaigners.

This project falls under the purview of the U.S. State Department, and is a part of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's efforts to expand Internet freedoms. Their first such initiative took place during the Iranian election protests of 2009, where they convinced Twitter to delay an update that would have cut communication from Iranian protest organizers.

Since 2008, they've budgeted $50 million to fund and promote new circumvention technologies. Michael Posner, the assistant U.S. Secretary of State, explains that they're "operating like venture capitalists...looking for the most innovative people who are going to tailor their technology and their expertise to the particular community of people [they're] trying to protect."

Posner admits that these circumvention technologies carry risks, namely the potential for use by drug cartels and terrorist organizations. But Posner purports that groups like al Qaeda probably have their own systems in place, and the U.S. gov't is focusing on protecting "people who are, in a peaceful manner, working for human rights and working to have a more open debate."

source: Reuters via Engadget

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posted on 30 Mar 2011, 20:59

1. Monkeybr (unregistered)


I think terrorists would remeber their allies numbers

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 21:17

2. Rawrzellers (Posts: 224; Member since: 22 Aug 2010)


Sooo who else is thinking about this ending up as a "man accidentally presses panic button and sends mass chaos through the country?" that or the tea party having this and pressing it whenever they see obama on the TV.

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 00:50 1

5. djm22 (Posts: 27; Member since: 09 Feb 2011)


No More like Obama wondering what to do when he is spending too much money and there others are pressuring him about to start spending less he will have something to press then ..lol

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 11:15

6. snowgator (Posts: 3209; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Ain't it to our advantage no matter what side of the aisle and no matter whose country you are residing in for stable, solid goverments that are representitive of their peoples needs? It doesn't have to be, nor should we be arrogant enough to think it needs to be, a goverment like the US, but it does need to be responsive to the needs of it's people, and held accountable by it's people. If so, I applaud the effort of any Administration, and I am no fan of this current one, that protects the needs of those working for that future. 50 mill is pennies compared to the return on more stable goverments in the regions that are in chaos right now.

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