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The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate The World by [Morozov, Evgeny]
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The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate The World Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Review

Winner of the 2012 Goldsmith Book Prize A "New York Times" Notable Book of 2011 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, re

Winner of the 2012 Goldsmith Book PrizeA "New York Times" Notable Book of 2011Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Evgeny Morozov is wonderfully knowledgeable about the Internethe 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 cyberspaceboth good and badin 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 note of wisdom and common sense, on an issue overwhelmed by digital utopians' "Kirkus Reviews," December 1, 2010
In his debut, "Foreign Policy" contributing editor Morozov pulls the Internet into sharp focus, exposing the limits of its inner logic, its reckless misuse and the dangerous myopia of its champions. A serious consideration of the online world that sparkles with charm and wit. "The Economist," January 7, 2011
the resulting book is not just unfailingly readable: it is also a provocative, enlightening and welcome riposte to the cyber-utopian worldview. "New Statesman," January 7, 2011
This book is a passionate and heavily researched account of the case against the cyber-utopians. "The Independent," January, 2011
Internet freedom," in short, is a valiant sword with a number of blades, existing in several dimensions simultaneously. As we go down the rabbit-hole of WikiLeaks, Morozov's humane and rational lantern will help us land without breaking our legs. "Huntington News," January 7, 2011
Morozov's "The Net Delusion" should be read by cockeyed optimists and pessimists alike. It's as important today as McLuhan's books (""The Gutenberg Galaxy,"" ""Understanding Media,"" ""The Medium is the Massage,"" etc.)were in the 1950s through the 1970s. "New York Times," January, 23 2011
"The Net Delusion," argues that Westerners get carried away by the potential of the Internet to democratize societies, failing to appreciate that dictators can also use the Web to buttress their regimes. A fair point. "Boston Globe," February 9, 2011
Morozov has produced an invaluable book. Copies should be smuggled to every would-be Twitter revolutionary, and to their clueless groupies in the Western democracies. "New York Times Book Review," February 6, 2011
As Evgeny Morozov demonstrates in The Net Delusion, his brilliant and courageous book, the Internet s contradictions and confusions are just becoming visible through the fading mist of Internet euphoria. Morozov is interested in the internet s political ramifications. What if the liberating potential of the Internet also contains the seeds of depoliticization and thus dedemocratization? he asks. The Net delusion of his title is just that. Contrary to the cyberutopians, as he calls them, who consider the Internet a powerful tool of political emancipation, Morozov convincingly argues that, in freedom s name, the Internet more often than not constricts or even abolishes freedom.
"New York Times," February 6, 2011 Among cyber-intellectuals in America, a fascinating debate has broken out about whether social media can do as much harm as good in totalitarian states like Egypt. In his fiercely argued new book, The Net Delusion, Evgeny Morozovchallenges the conventional wisdom of what he calls cyber-utopianism. Among other mischievous facts, he reports that there were only 19,235 registered Twitter accounts in Iran (0.027 percent of the population) on the eve of what many American pundits rebranded its Twitter Revolution. More damning, Morozov also demonstrates how the digital tools so useful to citizens in a free society can be co-opted by tech-savvy dictators, police states and garden-variety autocrats to spread propaganda and to track (and arrest) conveniently networked dissidents.This provocative debate isn t even being acknowledged in most American coverage of the Internet s role in the current uprisings.
"

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

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2724 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004I6DUH2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #265,628 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a web developer. Last year, I was tasked with looking at using Facebook in advertising. I worked out a way that allows any online advert to access the user's Facebook profile as if the user had logged into their account themselves. I used the Facebook API (a set of routines that lets any external web code access Facebook) to surreptitiously login. The only mistake the user has to make to allow me in is to have the `remember me' button on their login screen checked (and which regular Facebook user doesn't?). Once my ad is in your account (about 3-5 seconds on a good broadband connection), I can then access and retransmit all your data, including (depending on what you have on your profile) your name, address, phone numbers, friends, and your uploaded pictures. It isn't even difficult to work out; anyone with a good knowledge of JavaScript (or AS3) and a bit of HTML iframe magic can work it out in a couple of hours.

Why is this allowed to happen? Because Facebook trusts everyone; it assumes I am not evil by default. So does Wikipedia and Twitter. In fact, any social/collaborative web application has to trust me because that is what `social' means in web programming terms.

And that chimes totally with the view of this book; the web is apolitical and trusting, and although that makes it a useful tool to help democracy to take root in authoritarian states, it also makes it very easy for that authoritarian state to reduce personal freedom and spread its own propaganda in return.

If the internet ceased to exist, it would be Al-Qaida that would be worse off. The US Army loses an unsecure communications channel they don't use for frontline operations (and WikiLeaks becomes a thing of the past).
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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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