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The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom

Book Description

“The revolution will be Twittered!” declared journalist Andrew Sullivan after protests erupted in Iran. But as journalist and social commentator Evgeny Morozov argues in The Net Delusion, the Internet is a tool that both revolutionaries and authoritarian governments can use. For all of the talk in the West about the power of the Internet to democratize societies, regimes in Iran and China are as stable and repressive as ever. Social media sites have been used there to entrench dictators and threaten dissidents, making it harder—not easier—to promote democracy. Marshalling a compelling set of case studies, The Net Delusion shows why the cyber-utopian stance that the Internet is inherently liberating is wrong, and how ambitious and seemingly noble initiatives like the promotion of “Internet freedom” are misguided and, on occasion, harmful.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Dedication
  3. Introduction
  4. chapter one - The Google Doctrine
    1. Hail the Google Doctrine
    2. The Unimaginable Consequences of an Imagined Revolution
    3. A Revolution in Search of Revolutionaries
    4. Where Are the Weapons of Mass Construction?
    5. How NASDAQ Will Save the World
    6. From Milk Shakes to Molotov Cocktails
    7. Why Hipsters Make Better Revolutions
    8. In Search of a Missing Handle
  5. chapter two - Texting Like It’s 1989
    1. WWW&W
    2. Cyber Cold War
    3. Nostalgia’s Lethal Metaphors
    4. Why Photocopiers Don’t Blog
    5. Which Tweet Killed the Soviet Union?
    6. Hold On to Your Data Grenade, Comrade!
    7. When the Radio Waves Seemed Mightier Than the Tanks
  6. chapter three - Orwell’s Favorite Lolcat
    1. How Cable Undermines Democracy
    2. The Denver Clan Conquers East Berlin
    3. The Opium of the Masses: Made in GDR
    4. Watching Avatar in Havana
    5. Online Discontents and Their Content Intellectuals
    6. The Orwell-Huxley Sandwich Has Expired
    7. Mash ’Em Up!
    8. The Trinity of Authoritarianism
  7. chapter four - Censors and Sensibilities
    1. Dress Your Own Windows
    2. The Kremlin Likes Blogs and So Should You
    3. Dictators and Their Dilemmas
    4. When Censors Understand You Better Than Your Mom Does
    5. Time to Unfriend
    6. We Don’t Censor; We Outsource!
    7. Wise Crowds, Unwise Causes
    8. Denial-of-Philosophy
    9. Tearing Down the Wrong Walls
  8. chapter five - Hugo Chavez Would Like to Welcome You to the Spinternet
    1. But I Saw It on the Spinternet!
    2. Elude the Cat, Empower the Masses
    3. What Barbara Streisand Could Teach Nicolae Ceauşescu
    4. Russia’s First Pornographer Meets Russia’s Sarah Palin
    5. Fifty Cents Gets You a Long Way on the Spinternet
    6. Small Doses of Propaganda Are Still Bad for You
    7. Darning Mao’s Socks, One SMS at a Time
  9. chapter six - Why the KGB Wants You to Join Facebook
    1. Never Trust Anyone with a Website
    2. Why Databases Are Better Than Stasi Officers
    3. Say Hi. You’re on Camera!
    4. How to Lose Face on Facebook
    5. Think, Search, Cough
    6. The Myth of an Overprotected Activist
    7. Rainy Days of Cloud Computing
    8. On Mobile Phones That Limit Your Mobility
  10. chapter seven - Why Kierkegaard Hates Slacktivism
    1. Digital Natives of the World, Unite!
    2. Poking Kierkegaard
    3. Kandinsky and Vonnegut Are Now Friends!
    4. Killing the Slacktivist in You
    5. On the Increased Productivity of Lonely Warriors, or Why Some Crowds Are Wise ...
    6. Everybody Can’t Be Che Guevara
    7. Dissidents Without Dissent
    8. No Such Thing as Virtual Politics
  11. chapter eight - Open Networks, Narrow Minds: Cultural Contradictions of ...
    1. A Dollar in a Haystack
    2. Mugabe Blogs Here
    3. A Doll with Censored Nipples
    4. Dangerous Intermediaries
    5. The Beam in Thine Own Cyberspace
    6. Cyberwar Can Be Good for You
    7. You Can’t Be a “Little Bit Free” on the Internet
    8. The End of the American Internet
    9. On the Dubious Virtues of Exporting Damaged Goods
    10. The Hidden Charms of Digital Orientalism
  12. chapter nine - Internet Freedoms and Their Consequences
    1. Smallpox Strikes Back
    2. Putting the Nyet in Networks
    3. Safe to Disconnect
    4. Do Weak States Need Powerful Gadgets?
    5. Why Rational Politics Doesn’t Fit a Hundred Forty Characters
    6. Why Some Data Need to Remain Foggy
  13. chapter ten - Making History (More Than a Browser Menu)
    1. Technology’s Double Life
    2. No Logic for Old Men
    3. Is There History After Twitter?
    4. Why Technologies Are Never Neutral
  14. chapter eleven - The Wicked Fix
    1. Why the Ultimate Technological Fix Is Online
    2. What We Talk About When We Talk About Code
    3. Taming the Wicked Authoritarianism
    4. Prophecies Versus Profits
    5. After Utopia: The Cyber-Realist Manifesto
  15. Acknowledgements
  17. INDEX
  19. Copyright Page