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Posts Tagged ‘Belarus’

KOMMUNIKATION: Evgeny Morozov skriver i Prospect om varför den ökade användningen av sociala medier inte med automatik underminerar diktaturer.

Artikeln är ett bra botemedel mot den alltför utbredda naiva tron att social medier kan bota allt mellan himmel och jord.

Despite what digital enthusiasts tell you, the emergence of new digital spaces for dissent also lead to new ways of tracking it. (…)  

Social networking, then, has inadvertently made it easier to gather intelligence about activist networks. Even a tiny security flaw in the settings of one Facebook profile can compromise the security of many others. A study by two MIT students, reported in September, showed it is possible to predict a person’s sexual orientation by analysing their Facebook friends; bad news for those in regions where homosexuality carries the threat of beatings and prison. And many authoritarian regimes are turning to data-mining companies to help them identify troublemakers. TRS Technologies in China is one such company. It boasts that “thanks to our technology, the work of ten internet cops can now be done by just one.” (…) 

[T]he advent of blogging and social networking has also made it easier for the state to plant and promote its own messages, spinning and neutralising online discussions before they translate into offline action. The “great firewall of China,” which supposedly keeps the Chinese in the dark, is legendary. In truth, such methods of internet censorship no longer work. (…) Governments have long lost absolute control over how the information spreads online, and extirpating it from blogs is no longer a viable option. Instead, they fight back. It is no trouble to dispatch commentators to accuse a dissident of being an infidel, a sexual deviant, a criminal, or worst of all a CIA stooge. 

Moreover, the distracting noise of the internet—the gossip, pornography, and conspiracy theories—can act as a de-politicising factor. Providing unfettered access to information is not by itself going to push citizens of authoritarian states to learn about their government’s crimes. (…) [M]ost people, whether in democracies or not, prefer to read about trivia and what’s useful in daily life—restaurant and film reviews and so on—than about the tedious business of governance. (…) 

Authoritarian governments know that the internet could be a new opium for the masses. They are tolerant of rampant internet piracy, as in China. In many cases, they push the cyber-hedonistic pursuits of their youth. Government-controlled internet providers in Belarus, for example, run dedicated servers full of pirated digital goodies for their clients to download for free. Under this new social contract, internet users are allowed plenty of autonomy online—just so long as they don’t venture into politics.

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