Slug: smart-mobs-and-homeland-fatherland-security Date: 2003-02-20 Title: Smart Mobs and Homeland (Fatherland?) Security layout: post

With all apologies to Howard Rheingold, whose ideas on Smart Mobs are really really good…

When does a Smart Mob become merely a mob?

Warning: the second link goes to a description of the events surrounding Kristallnacht, a horrible event in a series of horrible events that started the Nazi German oppression of the Jews. <blockquote>"such demonstrations are not to be prepared or organized by the party, but so far as they originate spontaneously, they are not to be discouraged either." Goebbels</blockquote>

Many will say that I'm in extremely bad taste to post such a thing, but I'm using an extreme example in order to bring up a point: merely having technology does not mean it will be used wisely. I think Smart Mob related technologies are a good thing, but we need to be aware of how they can be misused as well as how they can be used. Anti-globalization demonstrators are using cellphones and other wireless tools to organize themselves across local and national boundaries. What happens when these tools are in the hands of anti-Muslim demonstrators (or worse, rioters) in the US or elsewhere? The author of the TechCentralStation article says:

I have photos of the Ten Most Wanted Terrorists and information on how to contact the FBI on my SmartPhone.

Ok, so you're going to contact the FBI - what about the person who figures it's their job to simply take the guy out themselves? Did they get the right guy?

There are issues here that need to be discussed. What got me going is the idea of "turning over Homeland Security" to the mob. Which, "Smart" or not, I don't think anyone would agree with.

Please, please note that I'm not attacking Howard! Howard makes a similar point (though less dramatically) here.