U.S. develops panic button for democracy activists | Reuters

Some day soon, when pro-democracy campaigners have their cellphones confiscated by police, they’ll be able to hit the “panic button” — a special app that will both wipe out the phone’s address book and emit emergency alerts to other activists.

The panic button is one of the new technologies the U.S. State Department is promoting to equip pro-democracy activists in countries ranging from the Middle East to China with the tools to fight back against repressive governments.

“We’ve been trying to keep below the radar on this, because a lot of the people we are working with are operating in very sensitive environments,” said Michael Posner, assistant U.S. secretary of state for human rights and labor.

The U.S. technology initiative is part of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s push to expand Internet freedoms, pointing out the crucial role that on-line resources such as Twitter and Facebook have had in fueling pro-democracy movements in Iran, Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere.

The United States had budgeted some $50 million since 2008 to promote new technologies for social activists, focusing both on “circumvention” technology to help them work around government-imposed firewalls and on new strategies to protect their own communications and data from government intrusion.

via U.S. develops panic button for democracy activists | Reuters.

Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde activity from the US government. They made TOR for anonymity to achieve their own ends, but then get mad when it gets used for Wikileaks, and now they’re making more tools along the same lines. I mean, thanks?

The real point, I think, is that what we’re really doing here is training spies in foreign countries to achieve regime change, and it’s reached a point where to tactically do this, the 007 toys have to be released to the public. And we reap the benefits! And of course, the intended goal, for better or worse.

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