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A Continual Spark

February 18, 2011


I freely admit to being a poli-geek. I watch C-SPAN for fun and during campaign season I knock on the doors of strangers and ask them personal question. Despite being ‘tapped in” to both the happenings in US and Massachusetts politics I did not foresee Egpyt’s triumph sparking radical change in US commercial policy. I should have.

After reading Thursday’s Globe piece on Freshman Congressman Bill Keating’s forthcoming bill to prevent American tech companies from selling monitoring software to authoritarian governments. The move would limit the scope of what types of programs US companies can legally sell abroad. Keating says that without the law US policy doesn’t support the thought process behind American innovation.

In a statement about the issues Keating said. “I believe we are only on the cusp of seeing the negative effects when social media is misused by repressive governments. As we have seen in countries like Bahrain and Iran, these protests are growing and thus, this issue will only continue to be magnified.”

With such a sweeping change possibly on the horizon I’m hopeful  Congress will take a look at the array of other lessons the US can take away from our ever changing relationship with Egypt.

Personally, I’m hoping those lessons begin with “let’s not put a ‘made in the US’ stamp on tear gas anymore” and end with “lets be more careful about selling surplus weapons”.

For further reading check out the HuffPo’s opinion on why the US sells tear gas abroad here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-tullis/why-does-the-us-sell-tear_b_816059.html.

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