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The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedomby Evgeny Morozov
Synopses & Reviews
“The revolution will be Twittered!” declared journalist Andrew Sullivan after protests erupted in Iran in June 2009. Yet for all the talk about the democratizing power of the Internet, regimes in Iran and China are as stable and repressive as ever. In fact, authoritarian governments are effectively using the Internet to suppress free speech, hone their surveillance techniques, disseminate cutting-edge propaganda, and pacify their populations with digital entertainment. Could the recent Western obsession with promoting democracy by digital means backfire?
In this spirited book, journalist and social commentator Evgeny Morozov shows that by falling for the supposedly democratizing nature of the Internet, Western do-gooders may have missed how it also entrenches dictators, threatens dissidents, and makes it harder—not easier—to promote democracy. Buzzwords like “21st-century statecraft” sound good in PowerPoint presentations, but the reality is that “digital diplomacy” requires just as much oversight and consideration as any other kind of diplomacy.
Marshaling compelling evidence, Morozov shows why we must stop thinking of the Internet and social media as inherently liberating and why ambitious and seemingly noble initiatives like the promotion of “Internet freedom” might have disastrous implications for the future of democracy as a whole.
Morozov examines how the Internet is being used not only to incite revolutionin repressive regimes such as Iran and China, but also how those same regimesare effectively using the Internet to suppress free speech and democracy.
The revolution will be Twittered!” declared journalist Andrew Sullivan after protests erupted in Iran. Yet for all the talk about the liberalizing force of the internet, regimes in Iran and China are as stable and repressive as ever. In fact, authoritarian regimes are effectively using the internet to suppress free speech and democracy. Whats more, the latest research shows that greater access to information pacifies a population as much as it incites it to revolution. If we in the West are to promote liberal ideals, well have to do more than fund Facebook.
In this book, blogger and social commentator Evgeny Morozov tackles these issues with relentless energy and analytical savvy. Marshalling a compelling set of case studies, he shows why we must stop thinking of the internet and social media as instant cures for repression, and how, in some cases, they can even threaten democracy.
About the Author
Evgeny Morozov is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy and Boston Review and a Schwartz Fellow at the New American Foundation. Morozov is currently also a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He was previously a Yahoo! Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and a fellow at the Open Society Institute in New York, where he remains on the board of the Information Program. Morozov’s writings have appeared in the Economist, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe, Slate, Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the San Francisco Chronicle, Prospect, Dissent, and many other publications.
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