France suffered a horrible loss on Friday, as parts of Paris came under siege by terrorists. In the face of this security breach, many tech organisations used their own means to help out by offering their services. The people behind AirBnB, Facebook, Google, Skype, Twitter all jumped into disaster relief mode. Can they along with other organisations continue in the light of similar tragic events around the world? We hope they do.
— Thomas Nigro (@ThomasNigro) November 13, 2015
Stemming from Twitter’s Porte Ouverte hashtag, that loosely translates to “Open Door”, Parisians used it to offer a temporary safe house, while those in public spaces could also look for those places and stay up to date on the happenings around the city.
Facebook launched their Safety Check function, allowing those in the city a way to notify their loved ones that they were safe, albeit not doing so for other recent disasters that happened in other parts of the world. Users accused the social media site of being desensitised to the daily onslaught in the Middle East (e.g. Ankara and Beirut bombings); as such, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has responded by saying Facebook will enable this feature across the globe for future.
This pivot in the industry could see more tech companies come to the aid of those affected, as their reach is truly global, and are limited only to the gadgets people carry around. Providing shelter, updates on loved ones and means of communication all for the human kind was a kind gesture that should be replicated given the circumstances.
Consequently, the more connected the world becomes, the higher likeliness it will bring about an impending threat of terror organisations that camouflage themselves in the same social media networks as regular citizens – as Belgian minister Jan Jambon highlighted; ISIS agents have been driven to utilise the Play Station 4 network to communicate.
Following the tragedy, how will nations react? Technology will be an actor regardless of what they do – meaning that states could possibly adopt new bills and acts that cover surveillance of its citizens.
We at SoyaCincau offer our condolences to whoever lost their loved ones during this act of mindless violence and our hearts go out to anyone affected by this tragedy.