Authored by Bruce Etling, Rob Faris, John Palfrey, Internet and Democracy

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In this paper, we discuss the possible impact of digital technologies in authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes.   We conclude that policymakers and scholars that have been most optimistic about the impact of digital tools have over-emphasized the role of information, specifically access to alternative and independent sources of information and unfiltered access to the Internet. We argue, in contrast, that more attention should be paid to the means of overcoming the difficulties of online organization in the face of authoritarian governments in an increasingly digital geopolitical environment.

Last updated April 06, 2011

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