Turkey's controversial ban of Twitter and subsequently YouTube had invited global condemnation a week ago. Social networking users of developed and developing countries lamented about the severe restrictions laid on expression of public opinion and sighed about the pitiable levels of human development in the country.
All this made sense until a day ago before the White House made the bold admission that it was actively involved in creation and running of the 'Cuban Twitter', a social networking programme allegedly responsible for fuelling political dissent against the communist government of Cuba between 2009 and 2012.
The advent of information technology and its viral growth is harped by our generation. But it comes at a very heavy price as the current situation reveals. The sinister use of technology to inseminate political dissent is not a noval episode in global political history.
But it is for the first time that a country with strong international diplomatic ties such as the US is officially acknowledging the use of such techno-political strategy. It is now impossible to think of Cuban case as a one-off incident. The deployment of powerful and sinister techno-political intrusion is alleged in many other recent political transitions including the Arab Spring.
Reading this in conjunction with the Edward Snowden disclosure gives enough food for thought and it would not be easy as in the past to lament on the web controls deployed by countries such as Turkey. The ease with which the intelligence agencies can monitor and manipulate internet content alarms global governments striving to retain public confidence in their governmental mechanisms.
The general trend among the social network users to aid viral spread of controversial texts and reports serve as indigenous fuel for effective exercise of this strategy. The most commonly used pretext for the hideous deployment of such technological weapons is the ‘Human Rights’ argument.
What started as a social networking site to discuss football and weather in Cuba transformed into a womb of political dissent over time. Technological (mis) appropriations that facilitate text messages to be re-routed through other countries and the ease with which bogus firms can be set up in Cayman islands to finance such projects should ring an alarm in the most adored global democracies that are under scanner of the Big Brothers.
There are limits to the technological barriers that can be set up by countries given the technological supremacy of the predators. But what is more important is that the users are aware that they are unknowingly made the bait to serve external interests that may not be in the best interest of the citizens of the country.
In short it definitely pays to stop and think before re-tweeting another 'BREAKING NEWS'.