Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The Power of Images (Again)

What would have happened if pictures digital picture had not been discovered by an U.S. Army MP and latter released to the public by CBS? We would just have learnt about those much later, too late to do anything, and perhaps even too late to catch the attention of the public. So it went in past wars - but this time, it's different.

This time, American soldiers are roaming around in Iraq with their MP3 player, digital camera, and DVD players, sending emails and exchanging files on the Internet. In this environment any significant event is recorded, photographed, and filmed by many. Even if it is against regulations, sooner than later some of those pictures or movies will leak to the public. The Pentagon tries to prevent, but can't completely stop information from being leaked. If something bad happens, the Pentagon won't manage to hide it for long. We'll just know about it. And this is a good thing!

Who should be praised for this? I say: technology. Imagine such technologies were available in the past, say in the 1930s during the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany. Would history be different today? Imagine these technologies becoming more affordable to citizen of third world countries, and picture how many abuses we will be able to prevent in the future.