Rebecca MacKinnon has another scary article in Foreign Policy: Containing Weapons of Mass Surveillance.
Naturally, just as I suspected, Obama's new edict sanctioning companies who sell software and technology to tyrants in Syria and Iran didn't sit well with her because "it's never enough".
My reply (regarding a company that was accused of selling equipment to the Syrians and not answering queries about it; they said that equipment they sold to Iraq found its way to Syria without their knowledge, then began phoning home, but they didn't know the origin -- they said it was against their will):
It's useful to read what Blue Coat actually said to the Wall Street Journal:
Blue Coat executives say they don't know how the devices got to Syria. The company says it alerted U.S. authorities in recent days to the "improper transfer" and is cooperating with government inquiries.
"We don't want our products to be used by the government of Syria or any other country embargoed by the United States," Steve Daheb, Blue Coat senior vice president, said, in the company's first detailed explanation of the matter. He said the company is "saddened by the human suffering and loss of human life" in Syria.
Rebecca MacKinnon really tendentiously portrays this story, implying without any basis we can see from her that Blue Coat did knew their equipment was going to get to Syria, and that certain persons in the company "had to know". How? What grounds is there for saying that, when it sounds like the company alerted authorities and is on the record saying they don't want their products there. Why not accept this is good faith?
I have no need to shill for Big IT (as some of your crowd do selectively) and no relationship to this company Blue Coat, I just see that the narrative is being "handled" here very misleadingly.
There's another open mystery: why doesn't Rebecca support Chris Smith's bill, the Global Online Freedom Act which would punish companies that sold equipment to dictators?
Indeed, Obama's executive order may have been designed to pre-empt Smith's bill in order to retain executive control over the *selection* of which countries and which corporations to pass or punish, to have freedom of foreign policy maneuvering.
Rebecca's reason for not supporting GOFA was really specious, claiming that unless it added all her pet domestic causes that she believes related to "Internet freedom," whether opposing SOPA or CISPA, it can't be supported. A very rigid sectarian approach to the job of gaining bipartisan and broad support for the real job of Internet freedom.
Oh, and as I keep saying, this is all a MIGHTY distraction from the real culprit with Syria, which is Russia and its $1 billion arms sales to the Syrians. MacKinnon never seems to have anything to say about that.