The Net Delusion | Evgeny Morozov

Summary of: The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate the World
By: Evgeny Morozov

Introduction

In ‘The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate the World’, Evgeny Morozov seeks to debunk the notion that the Internet is a powerful tool to topple authoritarian governments. By comparing the role of radio in the fall of the Berlin Wall, Morozov argues that the Internet’s susceptibility to manipulation makes its political influence questionable. This summary highlights the power dynamics of the Internet, revealing how authoritarian regimes, Western governments, and even the very nature of virtual connectivity obstruct political freedom.

The Limitations of the Internet in Overthrowing Modern Dictatorships

The fall of the Berlin Wall catalyzed by the informative power of radio gives hope that the internet will play a similar role in modern-day regime change. However, this hope is misguided as the internet’s manipulability makes it incomparable to radio, and it is not a surefire tool for information dissemination and revolution. While radio was uncontrollable, authoritarian regimes today have measures to monitor and restrict internet access, making it challenging to overthrow modern-day dictatorships.

Internet: Friend or Foe?

The internet, often hailed as the ultimate weapon against political oppression, can also support authoritarian regimes. The nationalistic and xenophobic values of these regimes are often promoted more virulently by bloggers, who can either be supporters or critics of the government. Officials can encourage supportive bloggers while easily identifying dissenters. Government’s can monitor citizens through programs installed on their computers and track down dissidents with the help of social networks like Facebook. The “Like” button can even make a person a target for political suppression.

Western Governments and Internet Censorship

The Western governments practice internet censorship and manipulation just like authoritarian regimes. They shut down radical websites and track their visitors. However, they complain about the same practices in countries like China and Russia. Western governments also manipulate the internet to provoke riots against dictators by loosening their internet embargoes. This is done to support the opponents of the governments in their own interests. Despite their ideals of internet freedom, Western governments do not practice what they preach.

Internet Anonymity and the Rise of Unfavorable Organizations

The internet has revolutionized the way people interact and connect with each other. However, the internet’s anonymity also allows for criminals, racists, and nationalists to organize themselves and spread undemocratic and intolerant ideologies without fear of repercussions. While Western countries censure these kinds of platforms, authoritarian regimes enable them as long as they support the government’s views. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, Islamists who advocate for Sharia law can share their ideas without being hindered, while dissidents struggle to connect online. As a result, modern dictators indirectly bolster their supporters and weaken government opponents by manipulating the internet.

Want to read the full book summary?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed