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How dictators watch us on the web

The internet is meant to help activists, enable democratic protest and weaken the grip of authoritarian regimes. But it doesn’t—in fact, the web is a boon for bullies

By Evgeny Morozov   December 2009

Read more in this debate: media guru, Clay Shirky, responds to Morozov’s criticisms and defends the web as a positive force for democracy. Morozov replies to Shirky here.

Hear more: Evgeny Morozov speaks at Demos on the subject: “Is the internet really changing politics?”, and Prospect’s Tom Chatfield interviews Morozov here.

My homeland of Belarus is an unlikely place for an internet revolution. The country, controlled by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, was once described by Condoleezza Rice as “the last outpost of tyranny in Europe.”

Its last presidential election in March 2006 was followed by…

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