On the border of Thailand and Burma/Myanmar, I met Aung Zaw, who told me about risking his life to document human rights abuses performed by the government of Myanmar. His hope was that this information could help to defend his people. At the end of our talk, he asked if we could become Facebook friends. This was the inspiration for our “Big Brother” vs. Little Brother Kickstarter campaign.
When brave people risk their lives for the greater good. When they’re accidentally giving an aggressive military a full roadmap to their extended contacts and friends, it’s unfortunate. Given Facebook’s recent breach of trust, allowing for more private data to leak out than people are comfortable with, there has been a growth in people knowing about their digital rights. This 21st century literacy is crucial.
But in places where data leakage is most risky, I’ve found that it’s also least understood. Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother” is a compelling book about a teen and his friends who use technology to challenge an authoritarian regime. Using real-life technologies, the book is more than a thrilling story, but it can also become a viral training manual for activists who need to use technology to do their work and can start to do so more securely and effectively.
If you haven’t read the book yourself, I recommend buying a copy or downloading one for free to see what all the fuss is about. Why free? He talks about the benefits of publishing for free online over at the Guardian.
Thanks to all those that supported our Kickstarter campaign, I’m happy to bring to you the first in what will be our serialized release of “Little Brother” in Kachin, Karen and Burmese languages. To our partners at ABITSU for the translation. And thanks to Jonathan P. Berger for his cover design and overall inspiration.
Comments and questions from you are always appreciated. Our question is, when “Big Brother” is watching, who is watching back? This is another step towards answering it.