Start Looking at Cell Phones as Political Devices

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At the National Conference for Media Reform in Boston last weekend, Tim Karr of Free Speech told The UpTake’s Sam Mayfield that we should start looking at cell phones as political devices. “You need look no further than what’s happening in North Africa and the Middle East, where people are using cell phones to document atrocities by autocratic regimes in the streets,” explained Karr. “There is so much power in that ability. And that problem exists to some degree here in the United States, where we have cell phones that are blocked, and we have networks that are blocking certain applications and devices.”

“Increasingly, we see that as an area to do a lot of good organizing around — to get people really engaged in defending this notion that my cell phone is political. Not only is it a device for me to call my parents or to check in with friends, but it’s something that empowers me within this democracy. It’s fundamental for us to start defending our rights to access and share information via these new devices.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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