Mobile Phone Activism

Mobile Phone Activism

Interessante artigo com números e vários exemplos mostrando a importância dos telefones celulares como mídia social e ativista em países emergentes. O texto Mobile Phones and Social Activism é de Ethan Zuckerman e mostra que, se para os países centrais as tecnologias revolucionárias são os blogs e a web 2.0, para os países emergentes e periféricos como a maiori da África, a grande tecnologia do século (junto com o rádio) é o telefone celular, que no limite é o rádio (em termos de tecnologia e papel social) do século XXI. Vejam a íntegra do artigo com muitos exemplos de smart mobs e outras formas de ativismo com os celulares. Como aperitivo, alguns trechos:

“(…) If you ask a U.S.-based activist the most important technical development of the past five years, they’ll likely tell you about the rise of citizen media, the use of blogs and Web community sites to disseminate information, organize events, and raise money.

(…) Ask an activist from the developing world the same question and you’ll get a different answer: the most important activist technology of the last five years is the mobile phone.

(…) The parts of the world where mobile use is growing the most quickly — the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and South, and Southeast Asia — are markets where the mobile isn’t a replacement for existing landline technology, but is allowing people to have a personal communications channel for the first time.

(…) The only technology that compares to the mobile phone in terms of pervasiveness and accessibility in the developing world is the radio. Indeed, considered together, radios and mobile phones can serve as a broad-distribution, participatory media network with some of the same citizen-media dynamics of the Internet, but accessible to a much wider, and non-literate audience.

(…) In general, the anonymity of mobile phones is one of the key reasons they’ve been so useful to activists. In the United States, we consider most mobiles to be highly traceable — generally, mobile users have a phone number associated with a permanent address and a credit card. But mobile phones in most developing nations are sold on a pay-as-you-go basis.

(…) Anonymity makes these protests unusually difficult for police or other authorities to block. “Smart mobs” of activists, brought to demonstrations by text messages, have led to political change in the Philippines and the Ukraine.

(…)(Activists have discussed the wisdom of using SMS gateways, Web-based services which can send SMS messages to hundreds or thousands of phones. An argument against using gateways is the fact that they are single points of failure that could be blocked by a government anxious to stop the spread of a smart mob message.)

(…) In smart-mob scenarios, mobile phones function as an impromptu broadcast network — if activists had access to radio stations with sufficient footprint, they could achieve similar goals by broadcasting information about rallies over the airwaves. Other activist uses of mobiles take advantage of the ability of mobile owners to create content as well as forwarding it. Activists with the pro-democracy Kefaya movement use mobile phones and their cameras to document demonstrations and other news events, including a government crackdown on Sudanese protesters in Cairo — they call, text, or use MMS to send messages to the administrator of the Kefaya blog, which compiles reports into blog posts much as a newsroom turns field reports into finished articles.

(…) A dispersed group with mobile phones — especially mobile phones equipped with cameras — becomes a powerful force for “sousveillance.“ Coined by Dr. Steve Mann, “sousveillance” refers to the monitoring of authority figures by grassroots groups, using the technologies and techniques of surveillance. The use of mobile phones to monitor the 2000 presidential election in Ghana is a good example of sousveillance — voters who were prevented from voting used mobile phones to report their experience to call-in shows on local radio stations. The stations broadcast the reports, prompting police to respond to the accusations of voter intimidation.

(…)Mobiles are powerful because they’re pervasive, personal, and capable of authoring content. An intriguing new dimension emerges as they become systems of payment as well. Kenyan mobile company Safaricom has introduced a new system allowing mobile phone users to send money to other users of the network — it’s called M-PESA and has moved from pilot to full-scale implementation rapidly. (…)”.