Those who disagreed that the internet would challenge dictatorships have been proven right.
Belarus-born American writer Evgeny Morozov, a scholar of the political and social implications of technology, is among the early technology sceptics whose words have now proved prescient. Morozov had questioned the claim that the internet would challenge dictatorships even at an inconvenient time to do so. While thousands were out on streets during the Arab Spring, he delivered a Ted Talk on How Internet Aids Dictatorships. Considering that the Arab Spring protests had been organised and coordinated through social media, it quite a brave, even blasphemous, thing to do in those days.
Morozov’s 2011 book, The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, focuses on two delusions, namely, “cyber-utopianism” or the belief that the internet fosters an inherently emancipatory culture; and “internet-centrism” or the belief that every important question about modern society and politics can be framed in terms of the internet. His views were considered eccentric for the mood around the net was celebratory at the time. To cite another instance, the noted journal, MIT Technology Review, wrote in 2013 that new technologies would prove “deadly to dictators”.
( Read the full text here)