Christine Peterson, coiner of "Open Source", and MemeBox Demo at Bay Area Future Salon Tonight

October 17 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Security   Year: 2008   Rating: 3

If you’re near the San Francisco Bay Area this evening, Friday the 16th, then I strongly encourage you to swing by the monthly Future Salon featuring Foresight Institute President Christine Peterson who will be presenting on the provocative topic:

Open Source Sensing: Using open source & nanotechnology to reduce surveillance & head off Iraq-style wars.

Christine, who coined the term “open source”, contends that distributed approaches will be critical to combating the inherently distributed terrorism phenomenon:

In the U.S. and other countries, concerns regarding terrorism are driving massive new centralized surveillance systems, with little or no regard for their potential effect on civil liberties. However, unlike nuclear weapons delivered by ICBMs, terrorism is inherently a bottom-up, distributed challenge, requiring a similar response. Open source software provides a useful model for a set of technologies that address security concerns in a distributed way, with the added benefit of relatively fast response time.

We can use open source techniques, combined with the latest in sensing technologies, as an alternative to centralized surveillance. Such technologies could also build trust when used in arms control applications, potentially heading off “wars of forced inspection” such as the recent war in Iraq.

Indeed, such an approach seems necessary if we are to have any hope of effectively combating destabilizing guerrilla activity that pops up in unconnected regions, as security thinker Thomas Barnett so eloquently puts it. It also fits in nicely with powerful, spot-on concepts such as Steve Mann’s sousveillance and Jamais Cascio’s Participatory Panopticon, both of which describe the ongoing bottom-up reactions to big-brother and top-down system abuse.

Therefore I can’t wait to hear (and capture on video) what new things Christine has to say on the subject of open source counter-terrorism and also look forward to presenting the MemeBox platform to the Bay Area futures community.

Hope to see you at the Salon!

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