The Net Delusion by Evgeny Morozov looks like it will be useful and interesting reading for those interested in the internet and its effects on politics and democracy, providing something of an alternative (thanks to Dom for the wording advice) view.
From The Observer‘s review:
Morozov, a young Belarusian-born writer and researcher now based in the US, doesn’t mince his words. But The Net Delusion is considerably more than an assault on political rhetoric; for, it argues, behind many of the fine words recently spoken in praise of technology lies a combination of utopianism and ignorance that grossly misrepresents the internet’s political role and potentials. Unless we are very careful, he suggests, the democratising power of new media will in fact bring not democracy and freedom, but the entrenchment of authoritarian regimes.
I’ve ordered the book for my Kindle and will report back once I get round to reading it.
What is also very tempting is that Morozov will be speaking at the RSA on the 20th January, on the topic of ‘The Future of WikiLeaks’ (thanks to Catherine Howe for the tip off).
Here’s the blurb:
Morozov believes that WikiLeaks currently stands at a crossroads: one route ahead would see a radical global network systematically challenging those in power – governments and companies alike – just for the sake of undermining “the system”. The current quest for transparency could soon become an exercise in anger, one leak at a time.
Alternatively, WikiLeaks could continue moving in the more sensible direction that, in some ways, it is already on: collaborating with traditional media, redacting sensitive files, and offering those in a position to know about potential victims of releases the chance to vet the data.
It is a choice between WikiLeaks becoming a new Red Brigade, or a new Transparency International. And, argues Morozov, forcing Mr Assange to go down the former route would have far more disastrous implications for American interests than anything revealed by “cable-gate”.
I’d love to attend and hopefully my schedule will allow it!