Syrian Protests and James Bond like Gadgets

by Bradley Jobling on May 2, 2011

The ability for the Syrian government to control the flow of information out of the country has been limited due to a James Bond like video camera fashioned to look like a pen with SD cards, making it easier to post news user created videos on the Web. Spy cameras are not new. I remember seeing these advertised as a kid. Yet the ability for anyone to publish images from these on the Internet has made a big impact.

Spy Pen Camera

Spy Pen Camera

Before a device like this existed, pictures would have to be taken out of the country on film. Obviously these would be noticeable to security. The lay person not involved in espionage would have to find someone who would be in a position to publish these. If you were trying to do this in the country of origin, that might be a very difficult task. If only a few of these pictures made it to publication this might not prove anything and could easily rebuked by the government. Yet when you have multiple examples of a government crackdown or egregious behavior by authorities this becomes more difficult counter.

That being said governments can try to do their own bit of counter-espionage by submit their version of the story online. This is easy to see through as a government spin office will never have the same resources as even a small band of connected radical elites. So the people’s message is coming through.

Sounds great and in the recent Middle East uprisings it has been. Yet what happens if the people’s will is misguided and causes more harm than good. Are some things truly better off not known. What about the Wikileak-ed diplomatic cables? What if the people’s initiatives counter the long-term good of the people at large?

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