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. 

CNN Article

Iran & Syria Human Rights Sanction
Other Iran Sanction Info

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