There has always been an uneasy relationship between technology, government and citizens.
With each technological advance there is always a strong government push to regulate and control but the advent of the internet has created a world where it seems almost comical to watch various attempts to clamp down on, say, pirates.
However, governments can and do severly limit citizen access to technology and information, usually for reasons that actually make little or no sense.
Take, for example, a recent Indian court case that hopes to limit access to GoogleEarth because it is believed that the Mumbai terrorists used the service to chart their attacks. (via)
As awful as those attacks were I fail to believe that they simply would have given up if they didn’t have access to GoogleEarth. This kind of response not only demonstrates a general lack of understanding of the technology but it means that the Indian government would rather remove a fantastic public resource from its own population that give potential terrorists access to the same information that can be gleaned from a good roadmap.
On the flip-side of the coin is governments thinking that they can control technology and use it to track and control its own citizens. One very scary example of this is the continued push to make us all carry RFID-enabled passports with a chip containing all of our personal information. The problem is that these chips are completely insecure, as clearly demonstrated by Chris Paget:
Using a $250 Motorola RFID reader and antenna connected to his laptop, Chris recently drove around San Francisco reading RFID tags from passports, driver licenses, and other identity documents. In just 20 minutes, he found and cloned the passports of two very unaware US citizens. (via)
So, the government is willing to trade your personal privacy for their own convenience. Nice work, guys.
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