Political Change in the Digital Age: The Fragility and Promise of Online Organizing


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. For more information on the article or the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, visit http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/publications/2010/political_change_in_the_digital_age

Bruce Etling
Robert M Faris
John Gorham Palfrey

This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA

Publication Date: 
December 9, 2010