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Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Internet As A Tool of Repression

Evgeny Morozov gives us libertarians some great food for thought in the following TED Conference talk, in which he argues that far from encouraging dissidence and openness, the Internet might have the opposite effect on authoritarian regimes.

He gives examples of how authoritarian governments use the power of the Internet and even blogging to repress dissent and further inculcate the values and ideology of the ruling state. It's a fascinating talk, and whether you agree or disagree, all libertarians should pay attention.

Please use the comment thread of this post to discuss the video and share whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Morozov's thesis, and why. Don't just respond to Mr. Morozov. Respond to each other too, especially to those with whom you disagree (respectfully, of course).

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  1. I could not agree more from my studies as well as from spending time in China myself.

  2. It's a question I feel like I'd have to explore some more. And the answer may be "yes and no."

    On the one hand, he can give a lot of anecdotal information about the use of the Internet as a tool of repression, but there are plenty of anecdotes about its use as a tool of dissidence (i.e. Iran, Twitter, Mousavi).

  3. Yeah!
    This is a very timely warning to all of us in any country.
    These techniques are being used in the US and the way they have been introduced has been so subtle and so professional that the majority of people are being sucked in.
    The local governments are using "visioning" and community planning strategies called "charettes" where those who participate are merely led to validate the predetermined agenda. The 'planners' then claim that the "vision" was created by "stakeholders" and the agenda rolls forward. When reality sets in, and a group forms in opposition to the actual results of "the plan", friendly faces will show up at their meetings to attempt to co-opt them back into the fold. If they resist, then the group is demonized in the media and online. The "rapid reponse team" of the agenda boosters will post to blogs and forums in order to undermine the credibility of those opposed to their agenda.
    We would all do well to study the "Delphi Technique" and learn to recognize when it is being used and how to overcome it early on.

  4. It was a good warning, wasn't it? The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Thanks for commenting!