by Bryan Bergeron, Editor by Bryan Bergeron, Editor
The Duality of Technology
The bombings at the Boston Marathon were a human tragedy, with the deaths, hundreds physically injured, thousands psychologically affected, and an entire
metropolitan area disrupted. They also served to illustrate
the duality of technology.
For example, the suspects apparently used simple RF
triggers to detonate the two pressure cooker bombs near
the finish line. The circuit was apparently simple enough
that any Nuts & Volts reader could assemble one in an
afternoon with instruction from the Internet. That same
communications technology has not only transformed
how we interact and do business, but saves thousands
of lives annually.
At least for the time being, the bombings have
focused the public’s attention on the responsible use of
technology. There are renewed discussions, for example,
on policing the Internet. Should anyone be allowed to
post the schematic of a remote detonator on the Internet?
Should providers block such content, just as they do in
The Internet seems inherently different from a print
publication, where censorship (editorship) is the norm. For
example, within the past year, I rejected a manuscript from
an overseas author that detailed how to use a cell phone
for a remote trigger to an unspecified device. Sure, it
could have been used to start a car, but I decided the
potential for harm was too great. As print publications
move online, does the role of editorship somehow
change? Are there liability issues?
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