|Abdul Fattah Ismail|
The newswire has flashed stories of internet communication’s impact on global developments. Social media has been utilized to create support communities in the light of natural disasters. These support communities share meeting locations, access to goods, and topics of discussion. The recent dissident springs in the Middle East have spotlighted the mechanizations of a popular communicative software. As this story displays, an ecosystem could be developing which affects speech first, then discourse into the present and future. Third-party software developers have created applications in this vein.
A feature in today’s Wall Street Journal talks about how Skype has been utilized as a tool for dissenting parties. Many citizens know of Skype as the software to execute free and low-cost international calls over a live Internet wire. Youth groups in Egypt cite its effectiveness in leveraging their movement to topple the Mubarak regime. Skype was designed with a high level of security encryption, making it a fortuitous dissident tool. The web application runs multiple calls through one computer. Other nations in the region, however, are making efforts to block certain content with negative sentiment, then store said content in government records. Smaller technology firms like Gamma and HackingTeam have developed programs to circumvent those firewalls. Law enforcement agencies are sitting back to accept all offers.
The interesting development is where the benchmark lies in future regional conflicts. We are seeing the convergence of public and private elements with interactive marketing, an embryonic, largely public forum. These energies are testing censorship, especially in the voice communication sector. Research In Motion has run into conflict with Middle Eastern and Indian government bodies for maintaining proprietary control worldwide of their user storage content, despite being in Canada. They seem to have the customer’s interest in mind when it comes to protecting intellectual property. With Microsoft’s purchase of Skype, it will be interesting to see which strategy they pursue when it comes to data storage. As a leader in business software technology, the private sector would welcome some data storage protection. What are your thoughts?