The State Department, Your Cell Phone, and You

The US State Department has been developing mobile phone technologies designed to support pro-democracy activists:

A “panic button” that erases mobile phone address books and sends emergency alerts is being developed in the US, which would be of help to pro-democracy campaigners.

The special application can be activated if the smartphone is confiscated by security authorities.

The US State Department is targeting countries ranging from the Middle East to China with the technology, according to a Daily Mail report.

It wants to equip the activists with the tools to fight back against repressive governments, the report said.

Michael Posner, US assistant secretary of state for human rights and labour, was quoted as saying: “We’ve been trying to keep below the radar on this, because a lot of the people we are working with are operating in very sensitive environments.”

This is a forward-thinking and heartening development.  Whatever our government’s imperfections, this level of trust in citizenry power is something we should celebrate.

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