Monday, February 13, 2012

Circumventing Filters for the Good Guys

Discussions of the ethical implications of technology tend towards the negative; if 'ethics' and 'technology' are mentioned in the same paragraph, it's usually to warn that the technology in question is somehow dangerous. Some more frequent targets of this sort of derision are file-sharing software (like BitTorrent) and anonymizers (like Tor). BYU's own internet filters even block websites about Tor, as it can be used to circumvent them. So it's nice to see an example of both of these technologies being used on a large scale for what most Americans at least would find a very ethically appropriate goal: circumventing Iran's attempts to simplify totalitarian surveillance by eliminating its citizens' use of encryption[1]. Technology itself, after all, is not good or bad- it's all in how the technology in question is being used.

[1] http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/02/tors-latest-project-helps-iran-get-back-online-amidst-internet-censorship-regime.ars