After participating in several international exchanges/programs growing up, I find myself with way too many apps downloaded onto my phone to keep in touch with the friends I made. Different countries have different approaches to technology; I’m interested in how national legislations and ethoses shape civilian lifestyles and psychologies.
Foremostly, large scale attention paid to technology seems to be motivated by security and by people in power wanting to preserve that power. People are much less likely to use media/tech they know as corrupted or corruptible. Given the recent phenomenon of “fake news”, those around the world have rushed to confirm the veracity of the sources they use to stay connected to what’s happening around them:
I recall North Korean leader Kim Jong Un being reported to have discovered unicorns a few years ago. This discovery was obviously fake, but underscores the power of media in North Korea. Citizens must believe or present belief in whatever these parties tell them or else risk suffering or death. So technological news functions as a mechanism of control; authorities can control others through controlling their exposure, and they can test the functionality of this measure through looking at how well the can convince others of even the bizarre.
Mass control through technology is not only attempted by governments, but it does happen to various extents among nations. A stark example exists between the United States of America and mainland China. Americans have (as far as the public knows) currently unfettered access to knowledge and connectivity online. Some are tracked rather insidiously, though, according to cases like that broken by Edward Snowden in 2013. In China, meanwhile, censorship is more overt. Unlike elsewhere, Chinese citizens cannot access sites like Facebook and Instagram, among the world’s most popular by far, in their country. There are myriad wonderful Chinese people, as there are in any grouping of people– it is only the mechanism of controlling lives through technology that shines forth here.
To keep this post to an appropriate length, I will only mention surveillance and psychology concerns (I’m reminded of course of George Orwell’s 1984 as well as of Cory’s Doctorow’s Homeland) to address these in extremity). It is often confusing and awkward to delve into limited medias, but such must be accomplished for humans to achieve their fullest potentials and be as fully educated as each deserves.
Quinn, B. (2012). Unicorn lair ‘discovered’ in North Korea. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/30/unicorn-lair-discovered-north-korea [Accessed 3 May 2019].
Aljazeera.com. (2015). Web extra: Edward Snowden, the US, Taliban and China. [online] Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/2015/09/web-extra-edward-snowden-taliban-china-150905102614117.html [Accessed 3 May 2019].
Observatoriodemediosicos.wordpress.com. (2019). América Latina | Observatorio de Medios UCA. [online] Available at: https://observatoriodemediosicos.wordpress.com/tag/america-latina/ [Accessed 3 May 2019].