Bluetooth® Life In Words – Fighting Oppression

Jun 29
2009
Mike Hatton

Mike Hatton

Fighting Oppression with Bluetooth Wireless Technology

Recently in the United States, it seemed like all of the news agencies were going crazy talking about Twitter. It became common for a news story to be nothing more than telling us that someone famous used Twitter. The change, from nobody talking about Twitter to everyone talking about Twitter, happened so fast that it was hard to tell if this was just the latest overblown fad or a major game changer.

With something taking up so much news space, eventually the obligatory “Is Twitter Really That Big” http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/is_twitter_really_that_big.php news storied had to be written.

Before anyone had a chance to answer that question, however, the protests in Iran started. Twitter was used by the protesters, and since the news people still had a little Twitter mania, Twitter was declared the major instrument to make it all happen. That seemed to settle the “How important is Twitter” question once and for all.

I thought so too, until I heard an item on the radio. In this report, someone in Iran said that the phrase she heard the most was “Do you have Bluetooth?” That seemed a little surprising until I thought about it.

Technology used to be thought of as a tool of the oppressor. Think about the book “1984”. Orwell foresaw a world where technology was used to police everyone’s thoughts. This was not just a conceit of fiction; history has shown that technology can be used as a powerful oppressor. For example, the computer was the single most important tool in supporting apartheid http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~cale/cs201/apartheid.comp.html

When the Internet exploded onto the world stage, the view on technology reversed. Because of the internet’s distributed nature, it was looked on as a way to fight oppression. No one controlled it, so no centralized authority could control information any longer.

The Internet still has vulnerabilities. For instance, some countries would like to use technology to censor the internet. Censoring is difficult and easily circumvented, but if the censors were really serious, they could just shut down internet traffic entirely. Sometimes this is fairly easy to do. That brings us back to Twitter and Bluetooth.

I believe what was happening in Iran, was that people were copying a Twitter message from phone- to- phone using Bluetooth OBEX. This could even be done if the whole telephone network was shut down. This extreme decentralized network would be very hard, maybe impossible, to shut down. You would have to shut down each individual phone to stop it. Big Brother has a long reach, but not that long.

With almost everyone now having what is basically a movie studio in their phones, a video can spread like a virus though a country without ever touching a real network.

I wonder what George Orwell would have thought about this?

4 Responses to “Bluetooth® Life In Words – Fighting Oppression”

    Sydney says:

    HA i did read your blog dad (now i can prove it)

    Retro Jordans for Cheap says:

    A brief report issued by Tianshan Net, an official news Web site for Xinjiang, said that in Hanairike Township in Hotan, a crowd wielding weapons “assembled in a disturbance, and the public security authorities took emergency action and detained people taking part, rapidly quelling them.”

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