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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent, Realistic Take on Internet Freedom, January 6, 2011
This review is from: The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (Hardcover)
The Net Delusion by Evgeny Morozov is an instant-classic in the field of technology studies that will be of interest to both serious scholars of the global Internet and those interested in making sense of the widespread excitement about using technology for advancing goals such as individual freedom.

Morozov's starting point is the belief, promoted by everyone from world leaders to prominent bloggers, that the Internet is an emancipatory agent. Millions of dollars have been spent guided by the belief that if unfettered Internet access is made available globally, especially in repressive countries, democracy will prevail because citizens will be empowered to speak freely, coordinate politically, etc. Morozov convincingly argues that the truth is far more nuanced and difficult. Although much of the rhetoric and policy in this area comes from the belief that technology has been an essential tool in promoting individual freedom throughout history, most notably being arguments about samizdat's role in ending the Cold War, Morozov provides a very readable explanation of how this metaphorical thinking is misguided.

Instead, he argues that the Internet is subject to the power of the state and therefore is largely impotent as a mechanism for promoting democracy. He shows that throughout the world, the Internet is a) more likely to be used for entertainment purposes, b) censored in ways that are not easily surmountable, c) used a tool for propaganda by both governments and individuals that are not pro-West, and d) used for spying on dissidents.

The Net Delusion is thoroughly entertaining throughout, but that doesn't stop it from digging into some very serious subjects. The final chapters provide an excellent explanation of the history and philosophy of technology - tough subjects that are rarely considered, least of all in such an approachable manner. Finally, Morozov closes with what he calls a cyber-realist manifesto to guide thinking going forward. There are certainly bits to quibble with throughout the book, but overall, it is an excellent work and highly recommended.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 19, 2011 2:11:38 PM PST
J. G. Warne says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2011 4:08:59 PM PST
Don says:
We HOPE Cairo proved him wrong! time will tell!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2012 1:24:49 PM PST
dennis says:
read Don's post. It' too early to think the Arab Spring is going to be any better than the French Revolution. First heads rolled by the hundreds, and then Napolean ran amuck in Europe with his idea of what the world should look like, and in turn made himself an Emporer. Cromwell killed a King, made himself a quasi king, and England lived under one of the most tryanical religous states.Fun was basically outlawed. The same reasons people think, and thought a revolt is a nice thing, will be listen to anyone preaching their life will be better if they toss out the currrent regime. Unfortunately, if that is going to be a benefit of the internet, we probably are back to square one in the social history of the world, and technology will be a wash providing a anarchy of ideas from people, the majority of whom, have no idea of what a real idea is.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 3:04:28 PM PDT
TGS says:
The Muslim Brotherhood proved J. G. Warne wrong.
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