This is the class blog for Eng 1102 at GA Tech called "Fiction, Human Rights, and Social Responsibility." The purpose of this blog is to extend our discussion beyond the classroom and to become aware of human rights issues that exist in the world today and how technology has played a role in either solving or aggravating them. Blogs will be a paragraph long (250 words) and students will contribute once every three weeks according to class number. Entries must be posted by Friday midnight.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Human Rights & Cell Phones
About a year ago President Obama signed an executive order that imposed
sanctions on technology companies that countries such as Syria and Iran used to
abuse human rights. In recent years, with the advent of technology, it has
become easier and easier to use information technology to threaten human
rights. Recently, it has become an even greater controversy and question as
people realized what their beloved technological gadgets could do to them. It
is interesting that the United States is now taking a stand on these abuses
that are occurring halfway across the world. Syria and Iran have been using
tools such as cell phone monitoring to infringe on citizens' privacy, and thus
their natural human rights. Even worse, the companies and technologies this
sanction targets have been linked with being used to “create operating systems
that monitor, track, and target citizens for killing, torture, or other grave
abuses.” The president brought up an interesting point in expressing the view
that advancements in technology should empower the people, not endanger them.
Since this sanction, the United States has continued imposing sanctions
on nations, including Syria and Iran, for similar premises. Last September, the
country enacted the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012. This
shows the United States’ continuing and constant interest in the issue and that
it is still a concern and topic of interest today.
I find it very interesting that technology can be such a double-edged
sword. I never would have thought that people, let alone governments, were using technology to target and harm their own citizens. It is also interesting that the United States is taking a position on this, in hopes of affecting a change or more positive outcome. By placing sanctions, the United States hopes for those countries and companies to halt their undesired behaviors and alter them to something the United States would approve of. Unfortunately, the success of this method cannot be spoken for yet and sometimes sanctions hurt us more than they hurt them. We will have to wait and see what evil can still come of technology or if the innate good or at least the moral standards of man will overcome it.