So that's where the internet went
In response to the government suppression of Internet access during the Arab Spring, "Internet in a Suitcase" will allow citizens to bypass censors and help them reconnect in times of government imposed shutdown. A "suitcase" can be transported to dissidents in a repressive country and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet, thus undermining the despotic governing powers. To track the project, you can follow the Open Technology Initiative on Twitter @newamericaoti.
In accordance with the United Nations decision that Internet access should not be denied to anyone, this project is the Obama administration's attempt at harboring democracy in these repressive countries while exercising a push at furthered free speech practices.The project is funded by a $2 million grant from the State Department.
This is huge. While people get far too excited over apps or augmented reality, this is the exact kind of durable infection that stands a chance of furthering actual, substantial change: reliable, easy to replicate and fulfilling a basic need, in this case communicating in the face of repression.
This segment from Al-Jazeera has more information:
Credit where it's due: for all the terrible government-funded things, this one is really beneficial. Of course, like the AK-47, this is going to spread far beyond the control of the government that started it. These tools need to be widespread, in the first world as well as the third, in slums, countryside and rust belts too. The more of them there are, the more resilient future social movements will be against attempts to totally shut down communication.
Mark my words, these suitcases will inevitably end up used against repressive governments of many stripes, including ones the US supports. That's for the good, and with this development, I think the ability to bring the hammer down on online communication just suffered a major setback.