I decided to start this blog in part to analyze everyday questions but to also have a venue for my research. I believe most of us run across or theorize questions everyday in which we wish we had the answers to or had the opportunity to research in depth. Yesterday someone asked why I chose to post my research here instead of applying it to various academic journals. At some point I will take the time to organize my ideas for publication, however I am also a proponent of distributed knowledge, a subject that was raised on Cognitive Daily earlier this week regarding the posting of published psychology articles. It is widely accepted that knowledge is power, a principle to which I firmly adhere which led me to this story.

Earlier this month, a Brazilian judge ordered YouTube to remove a steamy video of model Daniela Cicarelli. After several failed attempts to remove the video, for user continually reposting it, Brazil blocked the site country wide. Brazil’s phone companies followed suit with it’s internet providers and blocked YouTube. Then later in the day another judge reversed the ban after the controversy resulted in the video being uploaded to multiple sites (as below) other than YouTube.

(Warning: the following video contains scenes which some may consider offensive)

(Update:  Apparently Google and YouTube think they can stop the signal, so you can find the video above here, or here, or even here.  Thanks for proving my point Google.)

Now what if instead of focusing on a Brazilian supermodel and her boyfriend’s day at the beach, had the technology exited, what if this video were uploaded in real time?

Could moments like the protest and violence at Tiananmen Square or video of the genocide in Darfur pressure political change. In the last mid-term elections we saw the impact online video had on the political campaigns of Senator George Allen (R-VI) with his “macaca” comment and Conrad Burns’ (R-MT) secret Iraq War plan. It has become a political strategy now to have operatives follow opponents in hopes of catching an off color remark or contradiction in policy. Rikomatic.com sums up the impact the Defending human dignity with a cell phone.

Now all it takes is someone with a cheap cameraphone and access to the internet. And the videos can be made available within minutes in near-real-time. So groups like WITNESS are seeking to re-invent themselves to stay apace with these changes, by aggregating and perhaps even hosting these videos to get more public and government attention to these human rights disasters around the world.

Researchers at UCLA have determined that images of violence impact the amygdala of certain persons more than others (in this case, political ideology). We are all familiar with how the internet has impacted business decision making ability by making information available at our fingertips. It is also apparent that political ads may be negated by actual footage of candidates and their actions, but what about the state of foreign policy?

Will unfiltered footage from Darfur, Iraq and Afghanistan spread knowledge beyond what is shown in the western media and stimulate empathy for those caught in violent situations? Regardless the outcome, as with the furor over Saddam Hussein’s hanging, Brazil’s supermodel and Tiananmen Square protest, you can’t stop the signal and change will follow.

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