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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

“New Anti-Terror Weapons: You, Me, iPhone & Twitter”

August 10th, 2009 · 1 Comment

My friend David Stephenson has a terrific post on the Huffington Post today, “New Anti-Terror Weapons: You, Me, iPhone & Twitter”. It picks up on Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano’s speech late last month in which she said: “For too long we’ve treated the public as a liability to be protected rather than an asset in our nation’s collective security.”

Stephenson, a trailblazing thinker in the use of web 2.o tools in homeland security and government in general, argues that new personal technology offers an effective way for the Secretary reorient that approach and maximize the public as an asset. As he writes:

Crafting an effective strategy to productively involve the general public in homeland security should center on two technologies: the increasingly powerful and versatile mobile communication devices that most of us now carry and the Web 2.0 social media that have been created to capitalize on them.

The reality, as every major disaster in recent years has proven, is that we will use these devices in an emergency, whether or not government wants us to. They have become so ingrained in our daily communication routines that we’d automatically turn to them in disasters as well.

Stephenson says the citizenry is ready but needs some leadership and forward thinking from the authorities at the federal, state and local level:

The public have already kept our part of the bargain, buying these advanced mobile devices and mastering social apps that can be invaluable in disasters. Now the burden is on government to meet us halfway. That involves two things: coaching us on what kind of information would be helpful in an emergency, and, when one happens, both factoring in real-time location-based info from the public into their actionable intelligence for responding, and using social media to guide us.

The full article can be found here.

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Tags: Preparedness 2.0