The Internet, Free Expression,
    and Authoritarianism


        Evgeny Morozov
           NOV 16/2009
US Presidents                               ♥      the Internets

                                "The Goliath of totalita...
Main tenets of cyber-utopianism...

  1. Internet provides unfettered access to info, making
                  dissent/rev...
Therefore...



=> The Internet erodes the power
    of the (authoritarian) state
Main tenets of cyber-utopianism...
  1. Internet provides unfettered access to info, making
                  dissent/revo...
Does technology erode state power?



 “The role of the nation state will change
   dramatically and there will be no more...
How Authoritarian Governments Benefit from
                  WWW



   1. Spread propaganda/advance their own
            ...
I. The Rise of the “Spinternet”
China's 50 Cent Party (wumaodang)




            ~280,000 members

     Regular National/Local Trainings

   “Priority” S...
Russia: “New Media Stars” start-up
“Researching the basic ways of promoting
state interests with the help of specialized
              social networks”
Kremlin: generou$ propaganda


        • In 2010 Russia will spend more on
        propaganda than on fighting unemploymen...
Iran: Spinning Religious Discourse

“Bureau for the Development of Religious Web
  Logs” established at the Religious Scho...
Iranian blogosphere: 2008
Iranian blogosphere: 2009
Iranian efforts pay off
Nigeria's “Anti-Blogging” Project
Who'll lead Egypt's Facebook
          revolution?
Is message control via
   Digg and Wikipedia
   more difficult/less
    effective than via
         Pravda?
Subvert and Profit
Gameabiliy and astroturfing
Facebook friends at 20 cents/friend
Aggressive Search Engine Optimization
Also: the UK
“Knowledge transfer”
Spinning vs Censoring




   Photo by Mr.Enjoy/Flickr CC
Streisand effect to blame
II. “Authoritarian Deliberation”




Photo by dunechaser/Flickr CC
Russia: Bloggers' Chamber
“Instead [of becoming a base for the civil society], RuNet has
     become home to various antis...
“We pay great attention to
 suggestions and advice from our
 netizens. The web is an important
 channel for us to understa...
Often more critical than official media




                Ashley Esarey, based on 2006 data/500 blogs
China: “Elude the Cat”
Uses of “authoritarian deliberation”


  1. Generate information useful to government:
                       wikis

   2....
Authoritarian Deliberation in China


“CCP gains the ability to legitimate policies by
 reference to a relatively inclusiv...
Kremlin's new project: Liberty.ru
Pavlovsky on Liberty.ru



“Liberty.ru will help political parties tap into
collective wisdom, see what people are really
...
Thailand: Crowdsourcing Censorship
Saudi Arabia's “flagging” campaign
III. Monitoring & Identifying
      Dissent Early On
Do we lose more than we gain?



"The myth of personal empowerment takes
    root amidst a massive loss of personal
      ...
China: TRS Technologies


“Currently [the police force] still does surveillance via
   keyword searches on search engines,...
Thank you!

Blog: neteffect.foreignpolicy.com
    Twitter: evgenymorozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
georgetown talk evgeny morozov
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Internet, Free Expression, Authoritarianism talk at Georgetown University

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  • Evgeny -
    This is a fantastic set of slides that present a compelling counterargument to the notion that the Internet is inherently democratic. Thanks so much for posting this. I wish I could have seen the talk.
    Joshua-Michéle Ross
       Reply 
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
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georgetown talk evgeny morozov

  1. 1. The Internet, Free Expression, and Authoritarianism Evgeny Morozov NOV 16/2009
  2. 2. US Presidents ♥ the Internets "The Goliath of totalitarianism will be brought down by the David of the microchip" Ronald Reagan, 1989 Photo: National Archives “Trying to control the Internet is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall” Bill Clinton, 2000 Photo: White House “Imagine if the Internet took hold in China. Imagine how freedom would spread" Photo: White House John Lennon George Bush, 1999
  3. 3. Main tenets of cyber-utopianism... 1. Internet provides unfettered access to info, making dissent/revolt more likely 2. Internet helps to raise awareness of crackdowns/injustices, putting new pressures on regimes 3. Internet empowers dissidents & activists, making them more effective/louder than before 4. Internet provides new ways for Western govts (and their citizens) to influence developments in authoritarian states
  4. 4. Therefore... => The Internet erodes the power of the (authoritarian) state
  5. 5. Main tenets of cyber-utopianism... 1. Internet provides unfettered access to info, making dissent/revolt more likely 2. Internet helps to raise awareness of crackdowns/injustices, putting new pressures on regimes 3. Internet empowers dissidents & activists, making them more effective/louder than before 4. Internet provides new ways for Western govts (and their citizens) to influence developments in authoritarian states
  6. 6. Does technology erode state power? “The role of the nation state will change dramatically and there will be no more room for nationalism than there is for smallpox...” Being Digital (1996), Nicolas Negroponte
  7. 7. How Authoritarian Governments Benefit from WWW 1. Spread propaganda/advance their own agenda (“spinternet”) 2. Generate useful info & add legitimacy (“authoritarian deliberation”) 3. Monitor/identify dissent early on (“gulag 2.0”)
  8. 8. I. The Rise of the “Spinternet”
  9. 9. China's 50 Cent Party (wumaodang) ~280,000 members Regular National/Local Trainings “Priority” Sites Required to Cooperate
  10. 10. Russia: “New Media Stars” start-up
  11. 11. “Researching the basic ways of promoting state interests with the help of specialized social networks”
  12. 12. Kremlin: generou$ propaganda • In 2010 Russia will spend more on propaganda than on fighting unemployment • Budgets of online-only state media up by 75% despite the crisis • Huge increase in international outreach
  13. 13. Iran: Spinning Religious Discourse “Bureau for the Development of Religious Web Logs” established at the Religious School of Qom in 2006 350 teachers and clergy in Qom were trained, with at least 800 students Particular concern: blogging women
  14. 14. Iranian blogosphere: 2008
  15. 15. Iranian blogosphere: 2009
  16. 16. Iranian efforts pay off
  17. 17. Nigeria's “Anti-Blogging” Project
  18. 18. Who'll lead Egypt's Facebook revolution?
  19. 19. Is message control via Digg and Wikipedia more difficult/less effective than via Pravda?
  20. 20. Subvert and Profit
  21. 21. Gameabiliy and astroturfing
  22. 22. Facebook friends at 20 cents/friend
  23. 23. Aggressive Search Engine Optimization
  24. 24. Also: the UK
  25. 25. “Knowledge transfer”
  26. 26. Spinning vs Censoring Photo by Mr.Enjoy/Flickr CC
  27. 27. Streisand effect to blame
  28. 28. II. “Authoritarian Deliberation” Photo by dunechaser/Flickr CC
  29. 29. Russia: Bloggers' Chamber “Instead [of becoming a base for the civil society], RuNet has become home to various antisocial and criminal elements...these people must feel the hand of the government Internet censorship. Censorship efforts should be very selective, very responsible, and very careful. And they should follow the deliberations of the national consultative body that would be comprised of the leading Internet personalities and bloggers. This new consultative body should develop a set of rules guiding "tolerant online behavior" that would help to extirpate all virtual confrontation” Sergey Mironov, Sept 30/2009
  30. 30. “We pay great attention to suggestions and advice from our netizens. The web is an important channel for us to understand the concerns of the public and assemble the wisdom of the public”. Hu Jintao, 2008
  31. 31. Often more critical than official media Ashley Esarey, based on 2006 data/500 blogs
  32. 32. China: “Elude the Cat”
  33. 33. Uses of “authoritarian deliberation” 1. Generate information useful to government: wikis 2. Share the blame for failed policies with the public: spin 3. Increase legitimacy (both at home and abroad): scale
  34. 34. Authoritarian Deliberation in China “CCP gains the ability to legitimate policies by reference to a relatively inclusive deliberation process rather than to an official ideology... This increases the political capacities of the CCP while furthering the careers of party officials” He Baogang and Mark Warren, ““The Deliberative Turn in Chinese Political Development””
  35. 35. Kremlin's new project: Liberty.ru
  36. 36. Pavlovsky on Liberty.ru “Liberty.ru will help political parties tap into collective wisdom, see what people are really concerned about; the parties would even be able to borrow some major policy points from these online discussions” Gleb Pavlovsky, 2009
  37. 37. Thailand: Crowdsourcing Censorship
  38. 38. Saudi Arabia's “flagging” campaign
  39. 39. III. Monitoring & Identifying Dissent Early On
  40. 40. Do we lose more than we gain? "The myth of personal empowerment takes root amidst a massive loss of personal control." Joshua-Michele Ross
  41. 41. China: TRS Technologies “Currently [the police force] still does surveillance via keyword searches on search engines, with every Marketing managera certain number of keywords to officer being given of the 200-people-strong TRS Technologies cover...We equipped eight police stations in Shanghai with our data-mining equipment...Now the work of 10 internet cops can be done by just one” • Marketing Manager, TRS Technologies (200+ staff)
  42. 42. Thank you! Blog: neteffect.foreignpolicy.com Twitter: evgenymorozov
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