The bad news about technology

My last few posts have been on the cool ways individuals have been using technology to help displaced people find loved ones (Katrina People Finder Project). There are also Google Maps mashups that let you see specific properties in the flooded areas, find shelters, and compare before and after maps of the area.

[special callout to the folks at the map room for pulling this all together]

There's also the cool work of the Champaign Urbana Wireless Network folks who are also bringing volunteers and donation funded resources to help communications in the area.

Sadly, its not all good news. The New York Times reports that the swindles and online scams started almost as soon as the wind stopped blowing. In addition to all their other problems, those displaced by the storm can add identity theft to their list of woes.

1 comment:

Rob Johnston said...

As it is with the rock or the scalpel, powerful tools can be used for productive or destructive ends. Robert Cialdini at Arizona State has written about the tools of influence. In addressing how they can be used for evil (see used car sales) and good (see red AIDS ribbons), he has divided the users into three categories: Bunglers, Smugglers, and Sleuths. Bunglers use them by accident, smugglers for ill, and sleuths for good. Celebrate the social sector volunteer sleuths and condemn the smugglers. See Cialdini at Influence at Work.