The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom

by Evgeny Morozov

Publicaffairs | January 4, 2011 | Hardcover |

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"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. 

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 432 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: January 4, 2011

Publisher: Publicaffairs

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1586488740

ISBN - 13: 9781586488741

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The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom

The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom

by Evgeny Morozov

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 432 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 0.79 in

Published: January 4, 2011

Publisher: Publicaffairs

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1586488740

ISBN - 13: 9781586488741

About the Book

"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. What's 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, we'll 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.

From the Publisher

"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. 

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.

Editorial Reviews

Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton “Evgeny Morozov is wonderfully knowledgeable about the Internet—he seems to have studied every use of it, or every political use, in every country in the world (and to have read all the posts). And he is wonderfully sophisticated and tough-minded about politics. This is a rare combination, and it makes for a powerful argument against the latest versions of technological romanticism. His book should be required reading for every political activist who hopes to change the world on the Internet.”   Thomas P.M. Barnett, author,  The Pentagon’s New Map , and senior managing director, Enterra Solutions LLC “Evgeny Morozov has produced a rich survey of recent history that reminds us that everybody wants connectivity but also varying degrees of control over content, and that connectivity on its own is a very poor predictor of political pluralism…. By doing so, he’s gored any number of sacred cows, but he’s likewise given us a far more realistic sense of what’s possible in cyberspace—both good and bad—in the years ahead. Morozov excels at this sort of counter-intuitive analysis, and he instantly recasts a number of foreign policy debates with this timely book.”   Stephen M. Walt, Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University  “ Net Delusion is a brilliant book and a great read. Politicians and pundits have hailed the
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