Thanks to Sian for her helpful post on Hand’s arguments about the double-edged nature of technology: both democratizing/empowering, and on the other, the de-democratizing/disempowering.
Press: do not swallow
It made me think about the G20 demonstrations in London earlier this year and the death of Ian Tomlinson due to an assault by a police officer. The initial mainstream media reporting that followed Ian Tomlinson’s death uncritically adopted the line fed them by the Metropolitan Police, including the lie that demonstrators has prevented ambulances from attending to him swiftly.
It took media outlets like The Guardian who picked up on user-generated content – especially that captured on video - to call into question official accounts. Without this crowd-sourced digital content captured using inexpensive hand-held devices it’s unlikely the Met’s cover-up of an assault would have ever been brought to public attention.
I guess I’m more a cautious techno-utopian; I believe, to use a distinction Michel de Certeau makes, that for every technology-enhanced ’strategy’ for surveillance and control, there are innumerable technology-enhanced ‘tactics’ that will seek to undermine or outwit it (e.g. Twitter in Iran was a fantastic game of techno cat and mouse).