Using Technology for Good Instead of Harm

I decided to start tracking articles showing how technology can be used to help people and society from criminals rather than to hurt people following what happened at the DSL forums earlier this week in which one member said he would assist terrorists in certain cases. He mentioned the rape of an Iraqi woman by soldiers in that context, even though those soldiers are rightly facing very harsh sentences (I seem to recall the death penalty is on the table for at least one of them because there were also murders involved — this isn’t exactly a crime calling out for vigilantism, much less terrorism). I don’t know how a truck bomb that kills innocent civilians or placement of IEDs is a backlash against a crime like rape, but not everyone’s moral compass works correctly. Maybe Danish cartoons also meets his threshhold for “fighting injustice” with greater indiscriminate injustice jihadi-style — many people were killed because a certain group of people decided cartoons were worthy of destructive and very anti-social behavior. I guess he just doesn’t realize terrorists intent on blowing up people really don’t need provocations like rape to carry out their evil on innocent civilians whether it’s in Baghdad vegetable markets or Madrid trains — those are convenient excuses for their violence and uncivilized activities, just like the person making the initial post asking for help in breaking the laws of his country later added some altruistic benefit to his use of anabolic steroids (yeah, right).

Anyway, this first article notes how internet and telecommunications technologies are helping people feel and be safer by doing things like allowing them to monitor their homes 24/7 and by broadcasting emergency warnings to large groups of people simultaneously. It mentions the Virginia Tech massacre and how VTU officials were able to notify students by their cell phones and via e-mail to stay away from campus.

I realize very well that technology can be used for good or bad. It’s my position that people shouldn’t be libertine about how technology is used. Law-breaking shouldn’t be supported, no matter how much one may disagree with certain laws. If you don’t like laws, work to change them (that’s easier than breaking them in this case: steroids trafficking has a mandatory minimum sentence). You aren’t obligated to help someone who openly says he will break a law, you’re obligated to not help — let him find out himself, don’t drag yourself and the community into the reckless indifference (steroids) or malevolence (terrorism) of others. It should especially be condemned when someone openly says he would assist and support those who would cause indiscriminate harm to innocent people through terrorism, even in “special” cases. Such an uncivilized person should never be considered part of the community — he’s outside any community I’ll ever be part of.

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