Monday, May 25, 2009

Free speech: Blocking social networks

"Iran has blocked access to social networking site Facebook ahead of June's presidential elections," according to the BBC News.

Clearly there's an implication here for free speech in Iran; but is there a broader principle involved? As we come to rely more and more upon social media technologies such as Facebook and Twitter how do we remember how to do things the 'old way' if suddenly access is removed? And as more and more of our life is digitally recorded, are we right to fear the invasion of privacy?

Today my family watched the movie "Eagle Eye" and we were struck by Executive Producer Steven Spielberg's nightmare vision of computer databases linked to CCTV cameras and a rogue artificial intelligence getting out of hand ... it's a familiar Sci-Fi plot with roots older than 2001: A Space Odyssey but as a society we're still rushing headlong towards this vision.

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