The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom
This volume examines the evolving role of the Internet in activism, dissent, and authoritarian regimes. The author investigates the impact of a range of media on social revolution and activism from television in East Germany to Twitter during Iran's Green Revolution, intertwining that analysis with discussion of the ways governments are able to use the Internet for surveillance of political activity, propaganda dissemination, and censorship. He analyzes the effect of the proliferation of available entertainment and access to consumer goods on the potential for political activity, arguing that opening societies to further consumerism and to Western cultural media has in some ways deterred political activism. The author's argument that the West conflates democratization with consumerism uncovers a critique of the West here for its complacent belief that the Internet and supposed freedom of information is a certain pathway to democratization.