"Nano, it's not green, it's totalitarian"

The quote in the above headline comes from a banner used by protestors recently in Marseilles, France. Apparently the protestors have been disrupting public engagement meetings throughout France over the last couple of months.

Once again the fears that lead to these types of outbursts have little to nothing to do with nanotechnology and instead revolve around distrust of big business and the supposedly complicit governments that support the immoral aims of business.

In coming to the defense of the protestors, the Friends of the Earth, who in the past have boycotted public engagement meetings on the assertion that the “primary purpose ((in this case) of the Australian Office of Nanotechnology) in this area is to promote uncritical public acceptance of nanotechnology,” have offered some new reasons to hate public engagement on the subject of nanotechnology.

This time the Friends of the Earth have claimed that the public dialogues are ignoring nanoparticle toxicity. Well, that’s surely problematic. I haven’t seen the agendas for these meetings but if that issue isn’t addressed, it certainly should be. But the next two issues really get to the heart of their concerns and the banner slogans. You see, nanotechnologies encroach on our private life and nanotechnology is somehow tied up with war.

This is not the first time I have noted this line of thinking, which to some extent has been fostered by organizations that may not have been entirely aware what the fallout might be from their musings.

But hold on a minute, nanotechnology has not compromised our privacy IT and telecommunication technologies have already taken most of it away already.

And war? Really? I can only guess that the Friends of the Earth’s concerns are informed by websites such as this

These protests and their justifications from the NGOs really do indicate how necessary these public engagements are because neither of them can distinguish between nanotechnology and science fiction, and as a result they link nanotechnology to their worst fears.

 


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Nanoclast

IEEE Spectrum’s nanotechnology blog, featuring news and analysis about the development, applications, and future of science and technology at the nanoscale.

 
Editor
Dexter Johnson
Madrid, Spain
 
Contributor
Rachel Courtland
Associate Editor, IEEE Spectrum
New York, NY
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