“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.
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Internet filtering, censorship of Web content, and online surveillance are increasing in scale, scope, and sophistication around the world, in democratic countries as well as in authoritarian states. The first generation of Internet controls consisted largely of building firewalls at key Internet gateways; China's famous Great Firewall of China is one of the first national Internet filtering systems. Today the new tools for Internet controls that are emerging go beyond mere denial of information. These new techniques, which aim to normalize (or even legalize) Internet control, include targeted viruses and the strategically timed deployment of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, surveillance at key points of the Internet's infrastructure, take-down notices, stringent terms of usage policies, and national information shaping strategies. Access Controlled reports on this new normative terrain.
The book, a project from the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a collaboration of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies, Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and the SecDev Group, offers six substantial chapters that analyze Internet control in both Western and Eastern Europe and a section of shorter regional reports and country profiles drawn from material gathered by the ONI around the world through a combination of technical interrogation and field research methods.
Chapter authors: Ronald Deibert, Colin Maclay, John Palfrey, Hal Roberts, Rafal Rohozinski, Nart Villeneuve, Ethan Zuckerman
Information Revolution and Global Politics series
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Internet users in the People's Republic of China may not enjoy the same World Wide Web as the rest of the world, but their web viewing experience is edging closer to reality. The government of China is not the only administration to exercise the practice of internet censorship, but it is among the most notorious. Internet censorship in China is a complicated process that is constantly changing. This study found that it is still common for sensitive material to be unavailable in China but the severity of censorship is lessening. It was conducted in order to test the extent of control which the Chinese government has over what its internet users' view on the internet. Through the longevity of this study and evaluations to past studies, it can be said the internet in China is becoming less controlled. The Great Firewall of China could be falling down. This could be leading to a better informed and more connected Chinese society.
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This book is about a cyberwar with China. This new type of war, says the author, is China's effort at bending another country's will to its own. It is clever, broadly applied, successful, and aimed directly at the United States. This war is neither conventional nor accidental. The U.S. military is at a disadvantage because it is part of a system of government that is democratic, decentralized and mostly separated from American businesses. This system has served the country well but is not a path that China sees as worth following. This book is not a "how to" book of strategies that might be developed to fight a cyberwar. It is a way to grasp and categorize what the Chinese are already doing, to make sense of it. Until the U.S. sees itself as in a war, it cannot begin to effectively prosecute it.
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Few doubt that China wants to be a major economic and military power on the world stage. To achieve this ambitious goal, however, the PRC leadership knows that China must first become an advanced information-based society. But does China have what it takes to get there? Are its leaders prepared to make the tough choices required to secure China’s cyber future? Or is there a fundamental mismatch between China’s cyber ambitions and the policies pursued by the CCP until now?
This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of China’s information society. It explores the key practical challenges facing Chinese politicians as they try to marry the development of modern information and communications technology with old ways of governing their people and conducting international relations. Fundamental realities of the information age, not least its globalizing character, are forcing the pace of technological change in China and are not fully compatible with the old PRC ethics of stability, national industrial strength and sovereignty. What happens to China in future decades will depend on the ethical choices its leaders are willing to make today. The stakes are high. But if China’s ruling party does not adapt more aggressively to the defining realities of power and social organization in the information age, the ‘China dream’ looks unlikely to become a reality.