Michael de Kort, the Coast Guard, and democratised media


The Washington Post features a report about Michael de Kort, a Lockheed Martin employee who – after getting no results from the usual channels – posted a whistleblowing video on Youtube about a set of critical security flaws in a fleet of refurbished Coast Guard patrol boats.

The report suggests Michael’s tactics have worked:

The video also has caught the eye of people in high places. De Kort’s video has been covered by defense trade magazines, and yesterday, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, wrote a letter to the Coast Guard asking for an answer to De Kort’s “extremely distressing” allegations.

This is unlikely to be the last time this happens. As the read/write web allows more and more people to publish content online, people like Michael who have something important to say but would ordinarily not have a voice will able to make their concerns known.

Better yet, thanks to embedded media and social networking, the message can be shared and amplified. Here’s the video:

I can see this becoming ever more important as we start inching closer to the end of President Bush’s term in office and a new US presidential election. The question is – given the dubious turthfulness of some videos online and the propensity of the medium to be used for viral marketing – how many of these messages will we be able to trust?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *