Smart Dictators Don’t Quash the Internet: Mubarak had no idea how to counter the power of social media. China, Russia and Iran know better by Evgeny Morozov

The tragic death of Khaled Said — the 28-year-old who in June 2010 was dragged from an Internet cafe in Alexandria and beaten by the Egyptian police — was the event that galvanized young Egyptians, pushing them to share their grievances on Facebook. A group called “We Are All Khaled Said” quickly reached hundreds of thousands of members and played an instrumental role in promoting the protests that eventually swept Hosni Mubarak from power.The Egyptian experience suggests that social media can greatly accelerate the death of already dying authoritarian regimes. But while it’s important to acknowledge the role that the Internet played in the Egyptian uprising, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the protesters were blessed with a government that didn’t know a tweet from a poke — as illustrated most of all, perhaps, by its desperate (and belated) gambit in temporarily shutting off the country’s access to the outside world. The lethal blow that the Internet has helped to deliver to the Mubarak regime is likely to push fellow tyrants to catch up on the latest developments in Silicon Valley and learn the ropes of online propaganda.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704657704576150653606688990.html

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