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Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom Hardcover – 13 Jan 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs,U.S. (13 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586488740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586488741
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton "Evgeny Morozov is wonderfully knowledgeable about the Internet--he seems to have studied every use of it, or every political use, in every country in the world (and to have read all the posts). And he is wonderfully sophisticated and tough-minded about politics. This is a rare combination, and it makes for a powerful argument against the latest versions of technological romanticism. His book should be required reading for every political activist who hopes to change the world on the Internet." Thomas P.M. Barnett, author, "The Pentagon's New Map," and senior managing director, Enterra Solutions LLC"Evgeny Morozov has produced a rich survey of recent history that reminds us that everybody wants connectivity but also varying degrees of control over content, and that connectivity on its own is a very poor predictor of political pluralism.... By doing so, he's gored any number of sacred cows, but he's likewise given us a far more realistic sense of what's possible in cyberspace--both good and bad--in the years ahead. Morozov excels at this sort of counter-intuitive analysis, and he instantly recasts a number of foreign policy debates with this timely book." Stephen M. Walt, Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University ""Net Delusion" is a brilliant book and a great read. Politicians and pundits have hailed the Internet as a revolutionary force that will empower the masses and consign authoritarian governments to the ash-heap of history, but Morozov explains why such naive hopes are sadly misplaced. With a keen eye for detail and a probing, skeptical intelligence, he shows that the Web is as likely to distract as to empower, and that both dictators and dissidents can exploit its novel features. If you thought that Facebook, Twitter, and the World Wide Web would trigger a new wave of democratic transformations, read this book and think again."Malcolm Gladwell"Evgeny Morozov offers a rare

About the Author

Evgeny Morozov is a contributing editor to "Foreign Policy "and "Boston Review" and a Schwartz Fellow at the New American Foundation. Morozov is currently also a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He was previously a Yahoo! Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and a fellow at the Open Society Institute in New York, where he remains on the board of the Information Program. Morozov's writings have appeared in the "Economist," "N""ewsweek," the "Wall Street Journal," the "International Herald Tribune," the "Boston""Globe," "Slate," "Le Monde," "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung," the "San Francisco""Chronicle," "Prospect," "Dissent," and many other publications.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Guardian TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Feb. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Evgeny Morozov's `The Net Delusion' is an informative and wide-ranging essay on the growth and increasing power of the internet as an agency of global change, with some less than optimistic conclusions. Taking as a start-point the way in which political-interest websites and blogs have been created by dissidents in an attempt to organise and focus opposition to less democratic regimes such as those in China, Iran and elsewhere, he broadens out his thesis to examine ways in which entrenched political interests have started to use the most successful spin-offs of the new technologies (facebook, twitter) to identify, keep track of and arrest dissenters; and that these developments of internet technologies now enable the exercise of a degree of social control far greater than was previously possible.

The author knows his subject, and utilises plentiful and relevant citations from the enormous academic bibliography listed in the index to support his argument. It is recognised that people the world over seek entertainment and frivolity from the net far more often than they engage in political or philosophical discourse; extrapolating from this data Morozov makes a convincing case that the new technologies may therefore be exploited as a more insidious agency of social control and management. He compares the 1948 totalitarian vision of Orwell's Stalinist surveillance society in `1984' with Huxley's earlier but far more seductive and ultimately more accurate vision of the future in `Brave New World' where the status quo is maintained by giving people what they want and keeping them happy on the farm.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jezza on 28 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Morozov is great on puncturing the absurd technological determinism and misplaced optimism of what he calls cyber-utopians, and he makes some important distinctions between those who advocated 'freedom for the internet' and 'freedom via the internet'.

But he seems to take it for granted that we know who the 'baddies' are and what is wrong with them - so much so that he doesn't need to define what he means by either democratic or authoritarian regimes. The book is a critique of the idea that internet tools like Facebook and Twitter are inherently pro-democratic...yet there is no discussion as to what is meant by democracy. Is Putin's Russia a democracy? Well, they have elections, don't they? And if it isn't, what exactly makes Berlusconi's Italy different? Or even Britain, with its flawed electoral system and ludicrous campaign finance rules? Can Twitter help to bring freedom to Italy, or to Britain?

This is very much a contribution to a discussion within the Washington Beltway, albeit from someone who is pretty much an outsider. There doesn't seem to be any understanding that there might be a difference on goals, not just on means, or that someone who considers themselves a democrat would pick say Hugo Chavez (who seems to be lumped in with the authoritarians) over Berlusconi or Blair.

Worth reading for the discussions about technology and technological determinism, but take the politics with a dash of salt.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Diziet on 13 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Growing up in Belarus and then living in the US, Mr Morozov has had opportunities to view the Internet from 'both sides'. He has seen at first hand both authoritarian attempts at controlling the spread of the Internet and libertarian attempts at maintaining the Internet's growth throughout the world.

This experience has allowed him to develop some useful views. He contrasts attitudes to the Internet basically between 'cyber-utopians' and 'cyber-cons'. The former he defines as those who have:

'...a quasi-religious belief in the power of the Internet to do supernatural things, from eradicating illiteracy in Africa to organizing all of the world's information...Opening up closed societies and flushing them with democracy juice until they shed off their authoritarian skin is just one of the expectations placed on the Internet these days.' (P19)

On the other hand, there are the 'cyber-cons' (an on-line version of neo-conservatives) who still view the world from an essentially Cold War perspective. Thus, they are bound by cold-war metaphors. But, as he points out:

'Breaching a powerful firewall is in no way similar to the breaching of the Berlin Wall or the lifting of passport controls at Checkpoint Charlie...[T]he cyber-wall metaphor falsely suggests that once digital barriers are removed, new and completely different barriers won't spring up in their place' (P44-45)

Between these two extremes, which overlap and inform each other, he analyses the effects of Twitter, Facebook, mobile telephony and the growing belief that all dissidents have to do is set up a Facebook page and the revolution will miraculously occur.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Guardian TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Evgeny Morozov's `The Net Delusion' is an informative and wide-ranging essay on the growth and increasing power of the internet as an agency of global change, with some less than optimistic conclusions. Taking as a start-point the way in which political-interest websites and blogs have been created by dissidents in an attempt to organise and focus opposition to less democratic regimes such as those in China, Iran and elsewhere, he broadens out his thesis to examine ways in which entrenched political interests have started to use the most successful spin-offs of the new technologies (facebook, twitter) to identify, keep track of and arrest dissenters; and that these developments of internet technologies now enable the exercise of a degree of social control far greater than was previously possible.

The author knows his subject, and utilises plentiful and relevant citations from the enormous academic bibliography listed in the index to support his argument. It is recognised that people the world over seek entertainment and frivolity from the net far more often than they engage in political or philosophical discourse; extrapolating from this data Morozov makes a convincing case that the new technologies may therefore be exploited as a more insidious agency of social control and management. He compares the 1948 totalitarian vision of Orwell's Stalinist surveillance society in `1984' with Huxley's earlier but far more seductive and ultimately more accurate vision of the future in `Brave New World' where the status quo is maintained by giving people what they want and keeping them happy on the farm.
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