Tag Archives: Civil society

The fantastic scourge of wireless communications and online networks

I’ve been struggling to cross the threshold of digital mastery. There is Facebook and twitter, and YouTube, not to mention RSS feeds, google reader, linked in and various hybrids and competitors… I have been resistant to say the least. But the extent of information now available is irresistible to an information-hoard like myself. What has been striking me, the more I learn, is how revolutionary this is to empowering people everywhere. From helping to organise civil uprisings to providing health care and health stats via mobile phones, it’s joining up the dots like never before. I’m sure this is not news to many but it has just hit me how exciting this is. When we look back will we say twitter galvanised the Arab Spring?

It seems to me the key to continued failings in civil rights, provision of public services and maintaining peace is transparency, or lack of. And monitoring & verification work to boost confidence. With information that can be collected everywhere and sent anywhere what better apparatus do you need?! I see there is the problem of misinformation… That will need to be addressed but regulating mechanisms are springing up to counter this.

What is more the regions that have yet remained unconnected from the world, sub-Saharan Africa, the middle east, are prime for this kind of communication and information gathering. The mobile networks driven by massive telecomms companies that have sprung up provide an inbuilt network ready for SMS info sharing. Maternity health advice can be given to a far wider catchment than ever before, not to mention harassment monitoring sites and sitings of violence. It can play into a despotic state’s hands easily but where the many outweigh the few, I think we will see a vast majority of positive interactions and results than the few malevolent ones. But hey, we’re only human. Not until we finally meld with all this technology will we be able to act rationally…