Skip to Content
Uncategorized

"Get Out of Jail Free" Twit

Blog entry sets man free, showing power of Internet innovation–but threats loom, Zittrain says.

As the latest evidence that high-impact Internet technologies often spring from unlikely places, yesterday Jonathan Zittrain, a cofounder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, cited the case of a Berkeley grad student who used the microblogging service Twitter to spring himself from an Egyptian jail. “It does not get much more inane than Twitter–and now that’s being Twittered,” Zittrain said today at a conference at the law school on the future of the Internet. “Let’s be able to report everything you are doing at every moment! Do you remember blogs? Blogs were so deep and substantive.” But on April 10, the brevity-centric service did big things for James Buck, a graduate student of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. While photographing–and Twittering–a demonstration in Egypt, Buck was caught up in a police sweep. He was able to Twit out a single word: “Arrested.” His friends in the United States got the word–literally the word. Calls to lawyers and the State Department were made, and Buck was soon a free man. To Zittrain, this shows anew how an open and unfettered Internet and computing environment allows powerful new technologies to spring from unexpected corners–producing high-impact phenomena ranging from music file sharing to Wikipedia. He argues that an era of innovation may be threatened by security clampdowns and the proliferation of computing gadgets like TiVo and iPods that are difficult or impossible to program and leverage in new ways.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Uber Autonomous Vehicles parked in a lot
Uber Autonomous Vehicles parked in a lot

It will soon be easy for self-driving cars to hide in plain sight. We shouldn’t let them.

If they ever hit our roads for real, other drivers need to know exactly what they are.

supermassive black hole at center of Milky Way
supermassive black hole at center of Milky Way

This is the first image of the black hole at the center of our galaxy

The stunning image was made possible by linking eight existing radio observatories across the globe.

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.