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Engineer Uses YouTube to Highlight Security Flaws

What do you do when you're privy to sensitive information you think is important, but no one around you is listening? That's right--make a video and put it on YouTube. That's what Lockheed Martin engineer Michael De Kort did. His video reveals what he thinks are startling security flaws in a new fleet of U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats. "It may be very hard for you to believe that our government and the largest defense contractor in the world [are] capable of such alarming incompetence and can make ethical compromises as glaring as what I am going to describe," the video begins. In it, De Kort points out blind spots in the ship's security cameras and shows how certain pieces of equipment malfunction in cold weather. It's not exactly a national security threat, but De Kort's 10-minute video is "an excellent example of the democratization of the media, where everyone has access to the printing press of the 21st century," says Dina Kaplan, co-founder of Web TV site Blip.tv. For his efforts, De Kort was laid off a few days after the YouTube posting. The video has been viewed some 8,000 times, which is a drop in the bucket compared with some YouTube videos that get played hundreds of thousands of times. However, De Kort's video has been picked up by defense trade magazines, and House Rep Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) has called on the Coast Guard to provide an answer to De Kort's "extremely distressing" allegations. "I want to make sure that the product we paid for is a product that does not jeopardize our men and women in service," Thompson says. That's example No. 1: YouTube for social change

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