[People] somehow assume that the Internet is going to be the catalyst of change that will push young people into the streets, while in fact it may actually be the new opium for the masses which will keep the same people in their rooms downloading pornography.
When we get the remote Russian village online, what will get people to the Internet is not going to be reports from Human Rights Watch. It's going to be pornography, 'Sex and the City,' or maybe funny videos of cats.
In the past it would take you weeks, if not months, to identify how Iranian activists connect to each other. Now you know how they connect to each other by looking at their Facebook page. KGB ... used to torture in order to get this data.
In China, Internet surveillance has already become a profitable industry. In fact, a growing number of private firms eagerly assist the local police by aggregating this data and presenting it in easy-to-browse formats, allowing humans to pursue more analytical tasks.
The Internet has made it much more effective and cheaper to spread propaganda.
My homeland of Belarus is an unlikely place for an Internet revolution. The country, controlled by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, was once described by Condoleezza Rice as 'the last outpost of tyranny in Europe.'
The Internet can empower groups whose aims are in fact antithetical to democracy.
North Korea aside, most authoritarian governments have already accepted the growth of the Internet culture as inevitable; they have little choice but to find ways to shape it in accord with their own narratives - or risk having their narratives shaped by others.
To fully absorb the lessons of the Internet, urge the Internet-centrists, we need to reshape our political and social institutions in its image.
The director of the FBI has been visiting Silicon Valley companies asking them to build back doors so that it can spy on what is being said online. The Department of Commerce is going after piracy. At home, the American government wants anything but Internet freedom.
As economic life relies more and more on the Internet, the potential for small bands of hackers to launch devastating attacks on the world economy is growing.
The implications are clear: Facebook wants to build an Internet where watching films, listening to music, reading books and even browsing is done not just openly but socially and collaboratively.
Contrary to the utopian rhetoric of social media enthusiasts, the Internet often makes the jump from deliberation to participation even more difficult, thwarting collective action under the heavy pressure of never-ending internal debate.
There is no doubt that the Internet brims with spamming, scamming and identity fraud. Having someone wipe out your hard drive or bank account has never been easier, and the tools for committing electronic mischief on your enemies are cheap and widely accessible.
For many oppositional movements, the Internet, while providing the opportunity to distribute information more quickly and cheaper, may have actually made their struggle more difficult in the long run.
There is this group of people who love innovation. Those people want to innovate, and they think the Internet is a wonderful tool for innovation, which is true. But you also have to remember that much of that innovation is constrained within the realities of the foreign policy.
However revolutionary it may be, the Internet still hasn't altered the basic law of human communication: Being nice to your interlocutors is a good way to start any negotiations, particularly, when being hostile is an open invitation for a cyber-fight.
This is the real tragedy of America's 'Internet freedom agenda': It's going to be the dissidents in China and Iran who will pay for the hypocrisy that drove it from the very beginning.
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