Review by Wicus Grobler

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    Morozov, Evgeny. The Net Delusion:The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. PublicAffairs, 2012.

    In the authors own words “This book is an attempt to come to terms with this ideology as well as a warning against the pernicious influence that it has had and is likely to continue to have on democracy promotion.” He attempts to explains what he sees as a delusion on how the Internet will topple no-democratic regimes, and promote Western Ideologies.
    When I started of reading the book, it seems to be a conspiracy theorists look at the Internet and how the West is trying to subvert it to do there bidding, but it is not. In the book actually provide more insight into how the world policy makes are trying to use the Internet for there own purpose.

    An explanation of the issue being addressed / The question being asked / The larger are of investigation;
    In this work the author has divided this attention to a couple of related ideas on the freedom of information, technology. The believe that technology can be a liberation force for freedom for all oppressed nations. This believe has great appeal to many Wester policy makes and Technology startups in Silicon Valley.

    The author as divided the work into 11 distinct chapters that focus on a single argument.
    1. The Google Doctine
    2. The Texting Like It’s 1989
    3. Orwell’s Favorite Locat
    4. Censors and Sensibilities
    5. Hugo Chavez Would Like to Welcome You to the Spinternet
    6. Why the KBG Wants You to Join Facebook
    7. Why Kierkegaars Hates Slacktivism
    8. Open Networks, Narrow Minds: Cultural Contradictions of Internet Freedom
    9. Internet Freedoms and Their Consequences
    10. Making History (More Than a Browser Menu)
    11. The Wicked Fix

    The author also compares the introduction of modern technology like twitter and blackberry to Radio Free Europe and its importance during the Cold War. This perception by Western policy makers lead to the old Cold War standards for freedom fighting being introduced, and the eventual failure of these policies.
    This is contrasted with Russians use of the Internet to spread entertainment, anarchy, depoliticization and democratization and at the same time there own political view points. By this approach they are attempting to keep people occupied by entertainment and thus diminish there need for political knowledge and/or there interest in politics.
    The political view point of both east and west is then contrasted by the religious organizations and cultural use of the Internet. Examples of the use of the Internet to broadcast Hindu religious ceremonies to viewers that are not able to attend them in the temples, to the use of specialized on-line memorial site that are used by the Chinese to perform virtual memorial service to there dearly departed.

    Situation of this article into the research ecosystem – i.e. referenced and related articles and arguments – how is it relevant to research strands?:
    Written in 2011, this book explores cyber-utopianism, cyber-realists and Internet-centrism and there influences in both Wester policies, and there counter parties. The book uses the Iranian protests after the 2009 elections, as a starting point for most of the reference. The author also draws on a other referenced works for other reference on Politics and the Cold War. News transcripts and publications are also used for more resent events.

    Your appreciation of how well the author achieves his/her objectives:
    On the first glance the title might be misleading, and for a conspiracy theorist in my, I thought it might contain more what nefarious actions of governments. But alas the author constrains himself to comment on what has happened and how it is shaping policies and practices on the Internet. The author stays far a way from outright forecasting of what might happens and where things might lead, and only warns that outcomes might not be what cyber-utopianism, cyber-realists, Internet-centrism, and government what to achieve.

    Questions that remain in your mind after reading and considering the article:
    As this book is looking at past events on commenting on what happens, it doesn’t leave a lot of questions to ask on what happened. It rather makes one question the actions and legislation that governments has introduced since 2011, and what there real impact was/is on society today.

    Wicus Grobler

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