twice connect

U.S.: Technology Can Promote Civil Liberties

6/23/2010 10:26:01 AM Eastern

New York - "The
instruction manual is a gateway to civil liberties," a U.S. State Department
official said during a keynote address here at the Consumer Electronics
Association (CEA) Line Shows event.

Many consumers in authoritarian countries such
as Iran have mastered the use of cellphone and Internet technologies for purely
personal and social uses, but many of them have gone on to apply their newfound
knowledge to organize opposition to their governments, said Jared Cohen of the
department's policy planning staff.

Cohen cited young people in Iran who used
peer-to-peer Bluetooth communication in crowded bazaars to find parties or
organize book clubs, then applied that capability in a way that "took on
political characteristics." Iranian youth were "innovating out of necessity,"
and Bluetooth creators were completely unaware of how their technology was
being used, he said.

The policy of the U.S. government, he said, is
to promote a "fundamental human right for people to connect" through Internet
and cellphone technologies, which are eliminating the intermediaries who
previously distributed content and prevented "unlikely leaders from emerging."

The protests in Iran in June 2009 "helped us
rethink the role of technology companies in civil societies in a totally
different light," he continued. "Private-sector companies are taking on NGO
(non-governmental organization) characteristics." Traditional NGOs train their
people "to lead a sustainable movement," whereas the strength on nontraditional
NGOs is the ability to organize people spontaneously. The U.S. is "working to
build civil societies with traditional and nontraditional organizations," he

Statecraft in the 21st century is "as
much about building connections as it is about negotiation," he said. And the
U.S. needs to create a "linkage between the technology industry and the
government" that goes beyond defense to further that goal, he said.

Nationwide PrimeTime 2014

Scenes from Nationwide PrimeTime buy fair held in

ProSource Meeting Filled With Optimism

San Antonio — Optimism reigned at ProSource’s

Ingram Draws 500 To Spring Vendor Expo

Scottsdale, Ariz. — Ingram Micro Consumer

CEA Holds ’14 Digital Patriots Dinner

Washington — CEA held its annual Digital Patriots’

8 Technology Accessories For a Greener Earth

An Earth Day review of Earth-friendly products, by

BrandSource Shows Diverse Product Selection

BrandSource’s Summit show at the Marriott World