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23. Freedom technologists bibliography, A-L

September 7, 2015

Freedom Technologists: Digital Activism and Political Change in the 21st Century (working title), Chapter 2, Freedom Technologists


** last updated 10 April to 4 June 2016 (Benkler 2016, Firer-Blaess 2016) and 2 Feb to 5 March 2016 (Bollier and Pavlovich 2008, Castro 2013, Dobie 2004, Greenberg 2016, Hussain 2016, Keen 2015, Leach, Nafus and Krieger 2009)  **

This is the twenty-third post in the freedom technologists series. See also:

In this working bibliography I bring together a large set of references on a specific category of political actor that I am calling ‘freedom technologists’, namely those tech-minded individuals, groups and organisations with a keen interest in the democratic and emancipatory potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Freedom technologists combine technological and political notions and skills to pursue greater Internet and democratic freedoms, which they regard as being inextricably entwined (Postill 2014). Far from being techno-utopians or deluded ‘slacktivists’ (Morozov, 2013, Skoric, 2012), in my experience most freedom technologists are in fact techno-pragmatists, that is, people who take a very practical view of the limits and possibilities of new technologies for political change. This working bibliography is part of current research towards Chapter 2 of my forthcoming book Freedom Technologists: Digital Activism and Political Change in the 21st Century (working title).

Many thanks to Sky Croeser, Chris Csikszentmihályi, Victor Lasa and Vesna Manojlovic for their recommendations. Further suggestions are always welcome via email, or the comments section.

Keywords: technology, politics, techno-politics, hackers, hacktivism, digital activism, internet activism, digital liberation movement, political change, social protest, techno-libertarians

Aday, S., Farrell, H., Lynch, M., Sides, J., Kelly, J., & Zuckerman, E. (2010). Blogs and bullets: New media in contentious politics.

In this report from the United States Institute of Peace’s Centers of Innovation for Science, Technology, and Peacebuilding, and Media, Conflict, and Peacebuilding, a team of scholars from The George Washington University, in cooperation with scholars from Harvard University and Morningside Analytics, critically assesses both the “cyberutopian” and “cyberskeptic” perspectives on the impact of new media on political movements.

Akser, M. (2015). The Revolution Will Be Hacktivated. Digital Transformations in Turkey: Current Perspectives in Communication Studies, 275.

The democratic rights claimed to be enshrined but curtailed under the AKP government’s repressive regime was counterbalanced by Redhack, a Turkish hacktivist group online. Through their diverse tactics such as resistance, revelation and countering Redhack’s activity led to a digital transformation in Turkish politics. Redhack’s opposition is towards AKP’s neo-liberal patronage policies. The resistance took many forms: (1) defacing government websites that misuse public resources. (2) revelation to counter censorship against traditional media by the AKP government. By revealing documents related to AKP government’s corruption, Redhack led the way for traditional media to bring the issue to public scrutiny. The third tactic of taking direct action in the form of counter-attack came as a result of the Gezi Park Occupy Istanbul movement. Redhack actively used television to voice their agenda and called people to action. A networked discourse analysis that looks at mediation of playful tactics by hacktivists is a new transformative phase in how cyber security shifts from terrorism into information resistance, revelation and countering.

Alcazan et al (2012) Tecnopolítica. Internet y R-Evoluciones. Icaria.

#Error 404. Democracy Not Found. El 15 de mayo de 2011 salimos a la calle des­pués de meses de trabajo en la red. El 15-M es inimaginable sin internet y el uso político que las multitudes conec­ta­das han hecho de él. El 15-M es impen­sa­ble sin la red de redes, somos una red dis­tribuida de cambio social. Con este li­­bro queremos hacer una con­tri­bución a una lectura del 15-M abierta y en cons­­­trucción, que valore su dimen­sión tecnopo­lítica. Entender la relación del 15-M con internet, con sus preceden­tes, con sus dispositivos de comunica­ción y orga­nización, es esen­cial para com­­­­prender las posibili­da­des abier­­tas para la ac­ción colectiva en la sociedad red. La r-evolución está en marcha y se mul­tiplica de manera glo­­bal. Se extiende la in­­dig­nación, el deseo de cam­bio y emerge el potencial de transfor­­mación de las redes abiertas y distri­buidas.

Al Hussaini, A. (2011). Tunisia: Anonymous vs. Ammar–who wins the battle of censorship?. Global Voices, 3 January 2011,

The Tunisian censor, commonly known as Ammar, continues to wreak havoc on activists’ accounts, in a country that has been witnessing a wave of protests since the middle of December. Just today, activists claimed that the government has hacked into their email accounts, accessing their blogs and social networking sites, and disabling them. The move seems to have come in retaliation to an attack by Anonymous, which has targeted vital Tunisian government sites and gateways.

Andrejevic, M. (2014). WikiLeaks, Surveillance, and Transparency. International Journal of Communication, 8, 2619-2630.

The place for WikiLeaks was, in a sense, carved out in advance by the dramatic failure of conventional channels for challenging power or holding it accountable. It is a fact that deserves more attention than it gets that, in the United States, the two political newspapers of record (The New York Times and The Washington Post) issued extended public apologies for failures in their coverage during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. In no uncertain terms, these influential newspapers conceded that they did not provide adequate information to the populace about one of the most important decisions facing the nation—a decision that would claim the lives of tens of thousands of people and redefine international relations on a global scale. The Times noted that, on reviewing its coverage of the lead-up to the war, “we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been” (The Editors, 2001, para. 3)—a failure that it identified as structural.

Appelgren, E., & Nygren, G. (2014). Data Journalism in Sweden: Introducing new methods and genres of journalism into “old” organizations. Digital Journalism, 2(3), 394-405.

Data journalism is an evolving form of investigative journalism. In previous research and handbooks published on this topic, this form of journalism has been called computer-assisted reporting and data-driven journalism, as well as precision, computational or database journalism. In Sweden, data journalism is still fairly uncommon. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the development of data journalism at seven Swedish traditional media companies, using action research methods. The content of this paper is based on an online survey of journalists and in-depth interviews with editors at these participating companies. The results indicate that, based on how this field is currently perceived by journalists in the interviews, there is a common definition of data journalism. Furthermore, the survey shows that the attitudes towards data journalism during the process of introducing new methods and genres of journalism into “old” organizations are correlated with the level of perceived experience in data journalism working methods. The main challenges facing the working methods of data journalism today are a shortage of time and the need for training and developing data journalism skills.

Armitage, J. (ed.) (1999) ‘Special Issue on Machinic Modulations: New Cultural Theory and Technopolitics’, Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 4(2) (September).

Assange, J., Appelbaum, J., Muller-Maguhn, A., & Zimmermann, J. (2012). Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet. Singapore Books.

Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet is an important wake-up call about a possible dystopian future, which is a technological reality now… While messengers of dangerous outcomes are always met at first with hostility and even mockery, history shows that we disregard such warnings as these at our peril.” —Naomi Wolf

Baack, S. (2015). Datafication and empowerment: How the open data movement re-articulates notions of democracy, participation, and journalism. Big Data & Society, 2(2), 2053951715594634.

This article shows how activists in the open data movement re-articulate notions of democracy, participation, and journalism by applying practices and values from open source culture to the creation and use of data. Focusing on the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany and drawing from a combination of interviews and content analysis, it argues that this process leads activists to develop new rationalities around datafication that can support the agency of datafied publics. Three modulations of open source are identified: First, by regarding data as a prerequisite for generating knowledge, activists transform the sharing of source code to include the sharing of raw data. Sharing raw data should break the interpretative monopoly of governments and would allow people to make their own interpretation of data about public issues. Second, activists connect this idea to an open and flexible form of representative democracy by applying the open source model of participation to political participation. Third, activists acknowledge that intermediaries are necessary to make raw data accessible to the public. This leads them to an interest in transforming journalism to become an intermediary in this sense. At the same time, they try to act as intermediaries themselves and develop civic technologies to put their ideas into practice. The article concludes with suggesting that the practices and ideas of open data activists are relevant because they illustrate the connection between datafication and open source culture and help to understand how datafication might support the agency of publics and actors outside big government and big business.

Bailey Jr, C. W. (2013). Strong copyright+ DRM+ weak net neutrality= digital dystopia?. Information Technology and Libraries, 25(3), 116-127.

Three critical issues—a dramatic expansion of the scope, duration, and punitive nature of copyright laws; the ability of Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems to lock-down digital content in an unprecedented fashion; and the erosion of Net neutrality, which ensures that all Internet traffic is treated equally—are examined in detail and their potential impact on libraries is assessed. How legislatures, the courts, and the commercial marketplace treat these issues will strongly influence the future of digital information for good or ill.

Balkan, A. 2014. RightsCon or a right con? (or How I learned to stop worrying and love corporate surveillance.)

4 Mar, 2014 Are folks in Silicon Valley genuinely ignorant of the relationship between corporate surveillance and government surveillance? Or is it wilful ignorance? Or is this just a textbook example of institutional corruption at work? Are the organisers of RightsCon actively supporting the whitewashing of a business model (monetising data/corporate surveillance) that is directly responsible for the dragnet government surveillance that we’ve been alerted to by Edward Snowden? Corporations like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are painting themselves as the victims when they are every bit the perpetrators and it appears that some of us are buying into their story hook, line, and sinker.

Barron, B. (2007). The Importance of Network Neutrality to the Internet’s Role in the Public Sphere. Canadian Journal of Media Studies, 3(1), 90-105.

Network Neutrality, the principle by which Internet Service Providers transmit data equally without consideration to its source, type, content or destination, is important to the creation and preservation of effective democratic communication on the Internet. While there are many faults which can be found with discussion and debate on the Internet, the Internet still represents an improvement over traditional media and media distribution networks and should be carefully protected.

Bang, H. P., & Sørensen, E. (1999). The everyday maker: A new challenge to democratic governance. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 325-341.
A powerful feature of Putnam’s social capital framework is the attention it directs towards a critical question for democracies: How is democratic civic engagement created, sustained and expanded (cf Levi, 1996, p. 52) However, Putnam’s investigation into this problem neglects considerations concerning the consequences of the ongoing transition of democratic government into democratic governance. As a result, his evaluation of the state of affairs of Western democracy becomes more gloomy than need be. A study of democratic governance and civic engagement in Denmark draws the contours of a new political identity, the Everyday Maker. The Everyday Maker represents a new form of political engagement, which attempts to combine individuality and commonality in new relations of self- and co-governance. Seen from Putnam’s government perspective there is a serious risk that the researcher comes to ignore the political potential of the
Everyday Makers and see them as nothing but individuals “bowling alone.”
Bastos, M. T., & Mercea, D. (2015). Serial activists: Political Twitter beyond influentials and the twittertariat. New Media & Society, 1461444815584764.

This article introduces a group of politically charged Twitter users that deviates from elite and ordinary users. After mining 20 M tweets related to nearly 200 instances of political protest from 2009 to 2013, we identified a network of individuals tweeting across geographically distant protest hashtags and revisited the term “serial activists.” We contacted 191 individuals and conducted 21 in-depth, semi-structured interviews thematically coded to provide a typology of serial activists and their struggles with institutionalized power. We found that these users have an ordinary following, but bridge disparate language communities and facilitate collective action by virtue of their dedication to multiple causes. Serial activists differ from influentials or traditional grassroots activists and their activity challenges Twitter scholarship foregrounding the two-step flow model of communication. The results add a much needed depth to the prevalent data-driven treatment of political Twitter by describing a class of extraordinarily prolific users beyond influentials and the twittertariat.

Beckett, C. and J. Ball (2012). Wikileaks: News in the networked era. Polity.

WikiLeaks is the most challenging journalistic phenomenon to have emerged in the digital era. It has provoked anger and enthusiasm in equal measure, from across the political and journalistic spectrum. WikiLeaks poses a series of questions to the status quo in politics, journalism and to the ways we understand political communication. It has compromised the foreign policy operations of the most powerful state in the world, broken stories comparable to great historic scoops like the Pentagon Papers, and caused the mighty international news organizations to collaborate with this tiny editorial outfit. Yet it may also be on the verge of extinction. This is the first book to examine WikiLeaks fully and critically and its place in the contemporary news environment. The authors combine inside knowledge with the latest media research and analysis to argue that the significance of Wikileaks is that it is part of the shift in the nature of news to a network system that is contestable and unstable. Welcome to Wiki World and a new age of uncertainty. Charlie Beckett July 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm: For a shorter but more approving review of this book try this:
“a cool-headed, astute analysis of the social, political and technological context in which the now infamous website was formed. From the wider issues of government and corporate transparency to the potential impact of the leaks on the future possibility of an open Internet, the two co-authors pack a great deal into the book’s 164 pages. Throughout it remains eminently readable, thought-provoking and insightful.”

Benkler, Y. (2006). The wealth of networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom. Yale University Press.

With the radical changes in information production that the Internet has introduced, we stand at an important moment of transition, says Yochai Benkler in this thought-provoking book. The phenomenon he describes as social production is reshaping markets, while at the same time offering new opportunities to enhance individual freedom, cultural diversity, political discourse, and justice. But these results are by no means inevitable: a systematic campaign to protect the entrenched industrial information economy of the last century threatens the promise of today’s emerging networked information environment. In this comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy, Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are changing—and shows that the way information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people can create and express themselves. He describes the range of legal and policy choices that confront us and maintains that there is much to be gained—or lost—by the decisions we make today.

Benkler, Y. (2011). Free Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate, A. Harv. CR-CLL Rev., 46, 311.

A study of the events surrounding the Wikileaks document releases in 2010 provides a rich set of insights about the weaknesses and sources of resilience of the emerging networked fourth estate. It marks the emergence of a new model of watchdog function, one that is neither purely networked nor purely traditional, but is rather a mutualistic interaction between the two. It identifies the peculiar risks to, and sources of resilience of, the networked fourth estate in a multidimensional system of expression and restraint, and suggests the need to resolve a major potential vulnerability—the ability of private infrastructure companies to restrict speech without being bound by the constraints of legality, and the possibility that government actors will take advantage of this affordance in an extralegal public-private partnership for censorship. Finally, it offers a richly detailed event study of the complexity of the emerging networked fourth estate, and the interaction, both constructive and destructive, between the surviving elements of the traditional model and the emerging elements of the new. It teaches us that the traditional, managerial-professional sources of responsibility in a free press function imperfectly under present market conditions, while the distributed models of mutual criticism and universal skeptical reading, so typical of the Net, are far from powerless to deliver effective criticism and self-correction where necessary. The future likely is, as the Guardian put it, “a new model of co-operation” between surviving elements of the traditional, mass-mediated fourth estate, and its emerging networked models.418 The transition to this new model will likely be anything but smooth.

Benkler, Y. (2016). Degrees of Freedom, Dimensions of Power. Daedalus 145(1), 18-32.

The original Internet design combined technical, organizational, and cultural characteristics that decentralized power along diverse dimensions. Decentralized institutional, technical, and market power maximized freedom to operate and innovate at the expense of control. Market developments have introduced new points of control. Mobile and cloud computing, the Internet of Things, fiber transition, big data, surveillance, and behavioral marketing introduce new control points and dimensions of power into the Internet as a social-cultural-economic platform. Unlike in the Internet’s first generation, companies and governments are well aware of the significance of design choices, and are jostling to acquire power over, and appropriate value from, networked activity. If we are to preserve the democratic and creative promise of the Internet, we must continuously diagnose control points as they emerge and devise mechanisms of recreating diversity of constraint and degrees of freedom in the network to work around these forms of reconcentrated power.

Bennett, W. L., & Segerberg, A. (2012). The logic of connective action: Digital media and the personalization of contentious politics. Information, Communication & Society, 15(5), 739-768.

From the Arab Spring and los indignados in Spain, to Occupy Wall Street (and beyond), large-scale, sustained protests are using digital media in ways that go beyond sending and receiving messages. Some of these action formations contain relatively small roles for formal brick and mortar organizations. Others involve well-established advocacy organizations, in hybrid relations with other organizations, using technologies that enable personalized public engagement. Both stand in contrast to the more familiar organizationally managed and brokered action conventionally associated with social movement and issue advocacy. This article examines the organizational dynamics that emerge when communication becomes a prominent part of organizational structure. It argues that understanding such variations in large-scale action networks requires distinguishing between at least two logics that may be in play: The familiar logic of collective action associated with high levels of organizational resources and the formation of collective identities, and the less familiar logic of connective action based on personalized content sharing across media networks. In the former, introducing digital media do not change the core dynamics of the action. In the case of the latter, they do. Building on these distinctions, the article presents three ideal types of large-scale action networks that are becoming prominent in the contentious politics of the contemporary era.

Beyer, J. L. (2014a). Expect us: online communities and political mobilization. Oxford University Press.

Expect Us focuses on four online communities—Anonymous (, The Pirate Bay, World of Warcraft, and the posting boards. In all of these online communities, members engaged deeply with political issues in a range of ways. However, only two of the communities mobilized politically. If political behavior occurred on all four communities, why did only two of these sites foster political mobilization among their participants, while the other two did not? Using ethnographic methods, Expect Us argues that key structural features about the birthplaces of the four communities shaped the type of political behavior that emerged from each. The book argues that the likelihood of political mobilization rises when a site provides high levels of anonymity, low levels of formal regulation, and minimal access to small-group interaction. Once these factors are present, the nature of the communities themselves—their values and emergent norms of behavior—then appears to influence whether there is a conflict between the dominant community norms and offline legal and behavioral norms. Although this normative conflict is by no means a perfect “recipe” for predicting political mobilization, it certainly appeared to set the stage for cohesive political action by an online community. Keywords: online community, anonymity, regulation, digital rights, information politics, WikiLeaks, Anonymous, The Pirate Bay, World of Warcraft,

Beyer, J. L. (2014b). The emergence of a freedom of information movement: Anonymous, WikiLeaks, the Pirate party, and Iceland. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication, 19(2), 141-154.

Online rhetoric about the Internet’s potential to change society, the need to reform intellectual property laws, and the evils of censorship is becoming increasingly similar across sites. The push for “freedom of information” is not restricted to online spaces, but it appears to be born from such spaces, with the concept itself shaped by the presence of the Internet and its effect on networked societies. Focusing on WikiLeaks, the Pirate Party, Anonymous, and Iceland, I describe the emerging coalescence of “freedom of information” advocates pushing for a simultaneous liberalization and homogenization of freedom of information regulations across democracies.

Beyer, J. L., & McKelvey, F. (2015). Piracy & Social Change: You Are Not Welcome Among Us: Pirates and the State. International Journal of Communication, 9, 19.

In a historical review focused on digital piracy, we explore the relationship between hacker politics and the state. We distinguish between two core aspects of piracy—the challenge to property rights and the challenge to state power—and argue that digital piracy should be considered more broadly as a challenge to the authority of the state. We trace generations of peer-to-peer networking, showing that digital piracy is a key component in the development of a political platform that advocates for a set of ideals grounded in collaborative culture, nonhierarchical organization, and a reliance on the network. We assert that this politics expresses itself in a philosophy that was formed together with the development of the state-evading forms of communication that perpetuate unmanageable networks. Keywords: pirates, information politics, intellectual property, state networks.

Boler, M., Macdonald, A., Nitsou, C., & Harris, A. (2014) Connective labor and social media: Women’s roles in the ‘leaderless’ Occupy movement. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 20(4), pp. 438-460.

This article draws upon the insights of 75 Occupy activists from Toronto and across the United States interviewed as part of the 3-year study ‘Social Media in the Hands of Young Citizens’. This article highlights three major roles adopted by women in the so-called leaderless, horizontally structured Occupy movement – both within the offline, face-to-face General Assembly meetings held during the Occupy encampments and within the online spaces of Facebook pages, Web sites, affinity groups, and working committees. As key participants in the movement, women used social technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, and livestreaming as modes of activist engagement, developing unique roles such as that of the ‘Admin’ (Social Media Administrator), the ‘Documentarian’, and the ‘Connector’. The women’s adoption of these roles illustrates, we argue, the emerging notion of ‘connective labor’ an extended enactment of Bennett and Segerberg’s (2012) notion of ‘the logic of connective action’, augmenting its logic to reveal the often hidden labor of women in sustaining the networked and affective dimension of social movements. This article highlights the gendered, hybrid, embodied, and material nature of women’s connective labor that has supported, and in many ways sustained, the contemporary Occupy movement.

Bollier, D., & Pavlovich, R. (2008). Viral spiral: how the commoners built a digital republic of their own (p. 156). New York: New Press.

Viral Spiral is a term to describe the almost-magical process by which Internet users come together to build digital tools and share content on self-created online commons. Using free software, Creative Commons licenses and their own imaginations, ordinary people have invented an astonishing online social order and economy that is free of customary commercial constraints – and robust enough to challenge traditional institutions. This new order cam be seem in thousands of collaborative websites and archives, the blogosphere, social networking sites, Wikipedia, craigslist, remix music and video mashups, and a flood of innovations in open education, open science and open business models. Viral Spiral is the first comprehensive history of the attempt by a global brigade of techies, lawyers, artists, and many others to create a digital republic committed to freedom and innovation.

Bracy, C. (2013) Why hackers make good citizens,

Hacking is about more than mischief-making or political subversion. As Catherine Bracy describes in this spirited talk, it can be just as much a force for good as it is for evil. She spins through some inspiring civically-minded projects in Honolulu, Oakland and Mexico City — and makes a compelling case that we all have what it takes to get involved.

Breindl, Y., & Briatte, F. (2013). Digital protest skills and online activism against copyright reform in France and the European Union. Policy & Internet, 5(1), 27-55.

In the past decade, parliaments in industrialized countries have been pressured to adopt more restrictive legislation to prevent unauthorized file-sharing and enforce higher standards of digital copyright enforcement over entertainment media and computer software. A complex process of supranational and national lawmaking has resulted in several legislatures adopting such measures, with wide variations in content and implementation. These policy developments offer an interesting research puzzle, given their high political salience and the amount of controversy they have generated. Specifically, the introduction of harsher intellectual property regulations has resulted in intense “online” and “offline” collective action by skilled activists who have significantly altered the digital copyright policy field over the years. In France, grassroots movements have turned the passing of digital copyright infringement laws through Parliament into highly controversial episodes. Similarly, at the European level, the Telecoms Package Reform has given rise to an intense protest effort, carried by an ad hoc coalition of European activists. In both cases, online mobilization was an essential element of political contention against these legislative initiatives. In both cases, our analysis shows that online mobilization and contention can substantially affect policymaking by disrupting the course of parliamentary lawmaking at both the national and European levels. We provide an analytical framework to study these processes, as well as an analysis of the frames and digital network repertoires involved in the two cases under scrutiny, with reference to the nascent research agenda formed by the politics of intellectual property. Keywords: digital copyright; intellectual property; online mobilization; collective action.

Brevini, B., Hintz, A., & McCurdy, P. (Eds.). (2013). Beyond WikiLeaks: implications for the future of communications, journalism and society. Palgrave Macmillan.

Revelations published by the whistleblower platform WikiLeaks, including the releases of U.S. diplomatic cables in what became referred to as ‘Cablegate’, put WikiLeaks into the international spotlight and sparked intense about the role and impact of leaks in a digital era. Beyond WikiLeaks opens a space to reflect on the broader implications across political and media fields, and on the transformations that result from new forms of leak journalism and transparency activism. A select group of renowned scholars, international experts, and WikiLeaks ‘insiders’ discuss the consequences of the WikiLeaks saga for traditional media, international journalism, freedom of expression, policymaking, civil society, social change, and international politics. From short insider reports to elaborate and theoretically informed academic texts, the different chapters provide critical assessments of the current historical juncture of our mediatized society and offer outlooks of the future. Authors include, amongst others, Harvard University’s Yochai Benkler, Graham Murdoch of Loughborough University, net activism scholar, Gabriella Coleman, the Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Jillian York, and Guardian editor, Chris Elliott. The book also includes a conversation between philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, and its prologue is written by Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Icelandic MP and editor of the WikiLeaks video, `Collateral Murder`.

Briatte, F., & Gueydier, P. 2013. Artistes, lobbyistes et pirates: l’opposition de plaidoyers professionnels et activistes autour du droit d’auteur sur Internet en France, 2005-2010. In Congrès de l’Association Française de Science Politique.

L’analyse présentée dans ce texte a d’abord consisté à rappeler le rôle d’antécédents critiques dans la situation actuelle, marquée à la fois par la tradition nationale française de protection du droit d’auteur et par les mutations de sa régulation transnationale, en réaction à l’expansion des télécommunications Internet et du développement des technologies numériques de partage de fichiers. Cette séquence, initialement dominée par un argumentaire professionnel, montre que l’irruption de plaidoyers contestataires s’y est effectuée en partie par homothétie avec les règles de fonctionnement usuelles du champ d’action stratégique constitué autour du droit d’auteur. Ce parallélisme entre les activités de plaidoyers professionnel et activiste autour de la régulation du droit d’auteur n’est pas fortuit : nos terrains de recherche respectifs montrent au contraire que ce jeu de contrastes a fait partie intégrante de la stratégie employée par les groupes d’activistes ayant le plus professionnalisé leur activité de mobilisation.

Brooke, H. (2011), The Revolution Will Be Digitised: Dispatches from the Information War, London: William Heinemann.

There is more information in the world than ever before – but who’s in control? At the centre sits the Establishment: governments, corporations and powerful individuals who have more knowledge about us, and more power, than ever before. Circling them is a new generation of hackers, pro-democracy campaigners and internet activists who no longer accept that the Establishment should run the show. Award-winning journalist and campaigner Heather Brooke takes us inside the Information War and explores the most urgent questions of the digital age: where is the balance between freedom and security? In an online world, does privacy still exist? And will the internet empower individuals, or usher in a new age of censorship, surveillance and oppression?

Brooke, H. 2011. “Inside the secret world of hackers,” Guardian (24 August), at,

If Anonymous and Lulzsec are the id of hacking, then physical hackerspaces are the heart of the higher-minded hacking ideals: freedom of information, meritocracy of ideas, a joy of learning and anti-authoritarianism. The CCC is Europe’s largest hacker organisation and also one of the oldest worldwide, having been set up in 1981 by Wau Holland and others who predicted the rising importance digital technology would have in people’s lives. CCC’s hackers are often older and run their own businesses. They hold conferences and even consult with the German government. The CCC is famous for exposing the security flaws of major technologies, from chip and PIN to smartphones. Want to know how to listen in on GSM mobile phone traffic? Here’s the place to learn (within legal constraints, of course). Among some of their more noteworthy “hacks” is pulling the fingerprints of the German interior minister from a water glass and putting them on a transparent film that could be used to fool fingerprint readers. The Club also worked with activists for voting transparency to expose flaws in computerised voting machines. These were later ruled unconstitutional in Germany and abolished in Holland.

The CCC isn’t just about technical hacking, it is a hub of political activism based around a few common goals: transparency of governments, privacy for private people and the removal of excessive restrictions on sharing information. Many of these hacks are demonstrated at the annual conference at the Berlin Congress Centre, and it was here that Julian Assange presented WikiLeaks to an enthusiastic crowd in 2008.

Hackerspaces aren’t just about hacking with computers. The ideals can be applied to every aspect of life including politics – which is considered just another “system” by which humans live together. Like any other system, it can therefore be hacked and these spaces offer a real-time experiment in political hacking.

Bruce, M., Peltu, M., & Dutton, W. H. (1999). Society on the line: Information politics in the digital age. Oxford University Press.

Society on the Line presents a new way of thinking about the social and economic implications of the revolution in information and communication technologies (ICTs). It offers a clear overview of information in the digital age, and explains how social and technical choices about ICTs influence access to information, people, services, and technologies themselves.

Cammaerts, B. (2013). Networked Resistance: the case of WikiLeaks. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication, 18(4), 420-436.

In this article, WikiLeaks is embedded within broader debates relevant to both social movement and mediation theory. First, the nature of the ties between a variety of relevant actors are assessed. Second, the networked opportunities and constraints at a discursive and material level of analysis are highlighted and finally the resistance strategies they employ towards mainstream culture are addressed. It is concluded that at the heart of information and communication resistance a dynamic dialectic can be observed between mediated opportunities for disruptions and attempts of the powers that be to close down these opportunities. Furthermore, it has to be acknowledged that reliance on mainstream actors and structures for exposure, funding or hosting contentious content comes with risks for radical activists. Keywords: Opportunity Structure; Mediation; Hacktivism; Networks; WikiLeaks.

Cammaerts, B. (2015). Pirates on the Liquid Shores of Liberal Democracy: Movement Frames of European Pirate Parties. Javnost-The Public, 22(1), 19-36.

In this article, the movement frames of European Pirate Parties are analysed through a thematic analysis of texts relating to the Pirate Parties and transcripts of semi-structured interviews with representatives of Pirate Parties across three European countries—Germany, the United Kingdom and Belgium. At the level of the diagnostic and prognostic frames the Pirate Parties address contentious issues and discourses about civic liberties, privacy and access to knowledge in a digital era, but they also critique liberal representative democracy as such, which they argue needs to incorporate delegative models of democracy. In addition to this, a pro-social frame is presented emphasising free education and a basic income. In order to achieve these aims the Pirate Parties develop a distinct collective identity and foster political agency through activism and by participating in electoral politics. Lack of electoral appeal and low levels of membership is some countries, inability to deal with conflicts and an unwillingness to clarify the ideological position and the precise relationship between a libertarian freedom-related agenda and a social justice agenda represent challenges for the Pirate Parties.

Carty, V., & Onyett, J. (2006). Protest, cyberactivism and new social movements: The reemergence of the peace movement post 9/11. Social Movement Studies, 5(3), 229-249.

This paper examines ways in which the Internet and alternative forms of media have enhanced the global, yet grassroots, political mobilization in the anti-war effort in the post 9/11 environment. An examination of the role of cyberactivism in the peace movement enhances our understanding of social movements and contentious politics by analyzing how contemporary social movements are using advanced forms of technology and mass communication as a mobilizing tool and a conduit to alternative forms of media. These serve as both a means and target of protest action and have played a critical role in the organization and success of internal political mobilizing. Cyberactivism, globalization, social movements, war on terrorism, contentious politics, political opportunity structures

Castells, M. (2013) Networks of outrage and hope: Social movements in the internet age (London: John Wiley & Sons).

This book is an exploration of the new forms of social movements and protests that are erupting in the world today, from the Arab uprisings to the indignadas movement in Spain, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US. While these and similar social movements differ in many important ways, there is one thing they share in common: they are all interwoven inextricably with the creation of autonomous communication networks supported by the Internet and wireless communication. In this timely and important book, Manuel Castells – the leading scholar of our contemporary networked society – examines the social, cultural and political roots of these new social movements, studies their innovative forms of self-organization, assesses the precise role of technology in the dynamics of the movements, suggests the reasons for the support they have found in large segments of society, and probes their capacity to induce political change by influencing people’s minds.

Chadwick, A. (2006). Internet politics: States, citizens, and new communication technologies. Oxford University Press, USA.

In the developed world, there is no longer an issue of whether the Internet affects politics-but rather how, why, and with what consequences. With the Internet now spreading at a breathtaking rate in the developing world, the new medium is fraught with tensions, paradoxes, and contradictions. How do we make sense of these? In this major new work, Andrew Chadwick addresses such concerns, providing the first comprehensive overview of Internet politics.

Internet Politics examines the impact of new communication technologies on political parties and elections, pressure groups, social movements, local democracy, public bureaucracies, and global governance. It also analyzes persistent and controversial policy problems, including the digital divide; the governance of the Internet itself; the tensions between surveillance, privacy, and security; and the political economy of the Internet media sector. The approach is explicitly comparative, providing numerous examples from the U.S., Britain, and many other countries. Written in a clear and accessible style, this theoretically sophisticated and up-to-date text reveals the key difference the Internet makes in how we “do” politics and how we “think about” political life.

Chadwick, A. (2013) The Hybrid Media system: Politics and Power (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

The diffusion and rapid evolution of new communication technologies has reshaped media and politics. But who are the new power players? Written by a leading scholar in the field, The Hybrid Media System is a sweeping and compelling new theory of how political communication now works.

Politics is increasingly defined by organizations, groups, and individuals who are best able to blend older and newer media logics, in what Andrew Chadwick terms a hybrid system. Power is wielded by those who create, tap, and steer information flows to suit their goals and in ways that modify, enable, and disable the power of others, across and between a range of older and newer media. Chadwick examines news making in all of its contemporary “professional” and “amateur” forms, parties and election campaigns, activist movements, and government communication. He presents compelling illustrations of the hybrid media system in flow, from American presidential campaigns to WikiLeaks, from live prime ministerial debates to hotly-contested political scandals, from the daily practices of journalists, campaign workers, and bloggers to the struggles of new activist organizations. This wide-ranging book maps the emerging balance of power between older and newer media technologies, genres, norms, behaviors, and organizational forms. Political communication has entered a new era. This book reveals how the clash of older and newer media logics causes chaos and disintegration but also surprising new patterns of order and integration.

Chadwick, A. and Collister, S. (2014). Boundary-Drawing Power and the Renewal of Professional News Organizations: The Case of The Guardian and the Edward Snowden NSA Leak. International Journal of Communication, 8, 22.

The Edward Snowden National Security Agency leak of 2013 was an important punctuating phase in the evolution of political journalism and political communication as media systems continue to adapt to the incursion of digital media logics. The leak’s mediation reveals professional news organizations’ evolving power in an increasingly congested, complex, and polycentric hybrid media system where the number of news actors has radically increased. We identify the practices through which The Guardian reconfigured and renewed its power and which enabled it to lay bare highly significant aspects of state power and surveillance. This involved exercising a form of strategic, if still contingent, control over the information and communication environments within which the Snowden story developed. This was based upon a range of practices encapsulated by a concept we introduce: boundary-drawing power.

Christensen, C. (2014). WikiLeaks: From Popular Culture to Political Economy~ Introduction. International Journal of Communication, 8, 5.

Despite their early work, it was the leaked material that came from Chelsea Manning that threw WikiLeaks into the international spotlight, and, thus, made the organization a topic of scholarly interest. To date, the most in-depth single work on WikiLeaks has come from Brevini, Hintz, and McCurdy (2013), but a number of other scholars have investigated the relationship between the organization and, for example, journalism (e.g., Coddington, 2012; Handley & Rutigliano, 2012; Lynch, 2010, 2013; McNair, 2012; Tambini, 2013), law (e.g., Benkler, 2012; Cannon 2013; Davidson 2011; Fenster 2012; Peters 2011; Rothe & Steinmetz 2013; Wells 2012), and resistance and activism (e.g., Cammaerts, 2013; Lindgren & Lundström, 2011; Zajácz, 2013). The idea behind this collection of essays about WikiLeaks was influenced by the fact that WikiLeaks, their activities, and the sociopolitical incrustations around the organization resonate in so many areas within media studies and related disciplines—more, I would argue, than have been addressed to date. Thus, when I began to approach authors regarding potential contributions to this collection, I was interested in asking influential and innovative scholars from a wide variety of research backgrounds.

Christensen, C., & Jónsdóttir, B. (2014). WikiLeaks, Transparency and Privacy: A Discussion with Birgitta Jónsdóttir. International Journal of Communication, 8, 9.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir is currently a member of the Icelandic Parliament, where she represents the Pirate Party. Jónsdóttir was an early WikiLeaks volunteer and was one of the key members of the team in Iceland that put together the famous Collateral Murder video. In this wide-ranging discussion with Christian Christensen, Jónsdóttir talks about her work with WikiLeaks, politics, and her ideas about technology, transparency, and privacy. She also discusses how she has been placed under surveillance because of her work with WikiLeaks and other organizations.

Clinton, H. R. (2012). Internet Freedom and Human Rights. Issues in Science and Technology, 28(3), 45.

Maintaining the practice of open communication and continuing the system of multi-stakeholder management of the Internet can help advance the principles expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Coleman, G. 2004. “The political agnosticism of free and open source software and the inadvertent politics of contrast,” Anthropology Quarterly, volume 77, number 3, pp. 507–519.

Free and open source software (FOSS), which is by now entrenched in the technology sector, has recently traveled far beyond this sphere in the form of artifacts, licenses, and as a broader icon for openness and collaboration. FOSS has attained a robust socio-political life as a touchstone for like-minded projects in art, law, journalism, and science—some examples being MIT’s OpenCourseWare project, School Forge, and the BBC’s decision to release all their archives under a Creative Commons license. One might suspect FOSS of having a deliberate political agenda, but when asked, FOSS developers invariably offer a firm and unambiguous “no”—usually followed by a precise lexicon for discussing the proper relationship between FOSS and politics. For example, while it is perfectly acceptable and encouraged to have a panel on free software at an anti-globalization conference, FOSS developers would suggest that it is unacceptable to claim that FOSS has as one of its goals anti-globalization, or for that matter any political program—a subtle but vital difference, which captures the uncanny, visceral, and minute semiotic acts by which developers divorce FOSS from a guided political direction. FOSS, of course, beholds a complex political life despite the lack of political intention; nonetheless, I argue that the political agnosticism of FOSS shapes the expressive life and force of its informal politics.

Coleman, E.G. (2011). Hacker politics and publics. Public Culture, 23(3 65), 511-516.

This article examines some of the attributes that mark geek and hacker politics as distinct from other domains of digitally based activism and offers an introductory framework to assess their political significance.

Coleman, E.G. (2013) Code Is Speech: Hackers attempt to write themselves into the Constitution., April 2013,

…For open source developers, then, freedom means expression, learning, and modification, not the mere absence of a price tag. Hackers first started talking about software as speech in response to what they saw as excessive copyrighting and patenting of computer software in the 1970s and ’80s. The first widely circulated paper associating source code with free speech was “Freedom of Speech in Software,” written by programmer Peter Salin in 1991. Salin characterized computer programs as “writings,” arguing that software was unfit for patents (intended for inventions) but appropriate for copyrights and thus free speech protections (which apply to expressive content).

Coleman, E.G. and Ralph, M. 2011. Is it a Crime? The Transgressive Politics of Hacking in Anonymous, Social Text, 28 September 2011,

Instead of merely depicting hackers as virtual pamphleteers for free speech or as digital outlaws, we need to start asking more specific questions about why and when hackers embrace particular attitudes toward different kinds of laws, explore in greater detail what they are hoping to achieve, and take greater care in examining the consequences.

Coleman, E. G. (2013). Coding freedom: The ethics and aesthetics of hacking. Princeton University Press.

Who are computer hackers? What is free software? And what does the emergence of a community dedicated to the production of free and open source software–and to hacking as a technical, aesthetic, and moral project–reveal about the values of contemporary liberalism? Exploring the rise and political significance of the free and open source software (F/OSS) movement in the United States and Europe, Coding Freedom details the ethics behind hackers’ devotion to F/OSS, the social codes that guide its production, and the political struggles through which hackers question the scope and direction of copyright and patent law. In telling the story of the F/OSS movement, the book unfolds a broader narrative involving computing, the politics of access, and intellectual property.

Gabriella Coleman tracks the ways in which hackers collaborate and examines passionate manifestos, hacker humor, free software project governance, and festive hacker conferences. Looking at the ways that hackers sustain their productive freedom, Coleman shows that these activists, driven by a commitment to their work, reformulate key ideals including free speech, transparency, and meritocracy, and refuse restrictive intellectual protections. Coleman demonstrates how hacking, so often marginalized or misunderstood, sheds light on the continuing relevance of liberalism in online collaboration.

Coleman, E.G. (2014). Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. Verso Books.

John Postill review: The past five years have seen a global flourishing of political initiatives in which tech-minded actors of different kinds (geeks, hackers, bloggers, online journalists, citizen politicians, etc.) have played prominent roles. From whistleblowing to online protests, from occupied squares to anti-establishment parties, these ‘freedom technologists’ can no longer be dismissed, particularly after Edward Snowden’s revelations about the surveillance abuses of America’s NSA and allied agencies. Based on long-term anthropological fieldwork, Gabriella Coleman’s Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, is a riveting account of one these new collective actors: Anonymous.

Coleman, S., & Wright, S. (2008). Political blogs and representative democracy. Information Polity, 13(1-2), 1-6.

The need for a renewed relationship between citizens and politicians is addressed by the latest in vogue information and communication technology, the Weblog, or blog. Not since the dot com boom has the democratising potential of a technological tool been the focus of so much attention.

Cost of Freedom 2015. The Cost of Freedom is a book that will be written in Marseille from November 2nd to 6th. We are looking for activists, artists, designers, developers, researchers, and writers involved with free knowledge movements ( open access / culture / data / education / government / hardware / science / software / wiki ) to join the effort and take part in this Book Sprint.

Croeser, K. 2012. “Issue Crawler map of the digital liberties movement,” at

Croeser, S. (2012). Contested technologies: The emergence of the digital liberties movement. First Monday, 17(8).

The digital liberties movement is an emerging social movement that draws together activism around online censorship and surveillance, free/libre and open source software, and intellectual property. This paper uses the social movement literature’s framework to build an understanding of the movement, expanding the dominant framework by including a focus on the networks which sustain the movement. While other communities and movements have addressed these issues in the past, activists within the digital liberties movement are beginning to build a sense of a collective identity and a master frame that ties together these issues. They are doing this in online spaces, including blogs, and through campaigns around landmark issues, which also help to build the network which the movement relies upon. The 2012 campaign against the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act has highlighted the movement’s strength, but will also, perhaps, raise challenges for digital liberties activists as they confront the tension between attempts to disavow politics and a profoundly political project.

In the case of the DLM, there are a number of terms that have been used by media, scholars, and participants themselves to identify movement participants, including “infoanarchists” (Schwartz and Cha, 2000), “online civil libertarians” (Borland, 2001), “pirates”, “(anti–)intellectual property activists” (Brown, 2005), “copyfighters” (Farivar, 2008), technology activists (Doctorow, 2011a), and free culture advocates (Bayley, 2011). The emergence of ‘Anonymous’ as an identity which is increasingly available for political action is also important in this respect: as Gabriella Coleman (2012) notes, since 2008 ‘Anonymous’ has come to be associated with “an irreverent, insurgent brand of activist politics” rather than the trolling which characterised previous actions. Participants who are figuratively and/or literally wearing the ‘Anonymous’ mask have played a significant role within the DLM, including in the recent campaigns against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Together, these emerging collective identities demonstrate the growth of the movement.

While participants in the DLM have on occasion been described as communists and/or socialists (Himanen, 2001; Kelly, 2009; Stallman, 2008), many within the movement have been quick to distance themselves from these labels. Lawrence Lessig, one of the leading proponents of creative commons licences and a key figure within the DLM, responded immediately to Kevin Kelly’s (2009) claims that digital culture was experiencing a “New Socialism”. Lessig (2009) writes that “none of the things that Kelly (and I) celebrate about the Internet are ‘socialist’” because they are based on freedom, rather than coercion.… These sentiments are representative of the mood within most of the movement, which eschews an open affiliation with left–wing and anti–capitalist ideologies.

Croeser, S. (2014). Global Justice and the Politics of Information: The Struggle Over Knowledge. Routledge.

The global social justice movement attempts to build a more equitable, democratic, and environmentally sustainable world. However, this book argues that actors involved need to recognise knowledge – including scientific and technological systems – to a greater extent than they presently do. The rise of the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring and the Wikileaks controversy has demonstrated that the internet can play an important role in helping people to organise against unjust systems. While governments may be able to control individual activists, they can no longer control the flow of information. However, the existence of new information and communications technologies does not in itself guarantee that peoples’ movements will win out against authoritarian governments or the power of economic elites. Drawing on extensive interviews and fieldwork, this book illustrates the importance of contributions from local movements around the world to the struggle for global justice. Including detailed case studies on opposition to genetically-modified crops in the south of India, and the digital liberties movement, this book is vital reading for anyone trying to understand the changing relationship between science, technology, and progressive movements around the world.

Csikszentmihályi, C. (2012). Engineering Collectives: Technology From the Coop. Limn, 1(2).

Engineers make the world, but not just as they please. Chris Csikszentmihályi recounts how engineers come to be part of one collective or another.

Csíkszentmihályi, Chris; Mukundane, Jude (2015), RootIO: Platform Design for Civic Media. figshare.

RootIO is a civic media platform and research project in the context of rural farming communities in Uganda. The RootIO project draws from prior work in Civic Media, the design of public goods and information services for communities rather than individuals. This project presents the additional challenge of designing a participatory community information platform in a relatively low literacy, low income area with little access to ICTs. Unlike many “development” projects, it focuses on local peer production rather than top-down “behavior change” messaging. RootIO is in active development and prototype FM stations will go on air in 2015: what follows is a prospective exploration and report of current and future work. RootIO is being developed with an open-ended and iterative method, where use and failure can be tracked and analyzed in real-time.

Dahlberg-Grundberg, M. (2015). Technology as movement On hybrid organizational types and the mutual constitution of movement identity and technological infrastructure in digital activism. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 1354856515577921.

New communication technologies bring about new ways for political groups and movements to mobilize and organize. A consequence of this might be that established interpretations of and attitudes towards social movements may have to be revisited, for example, when it comes to their internal constitution and their modes of working. This interview case study looks at the digital activist cluster Telecomix and its interventions during the Arab Spring. The study addresses how the network used technological and communicational infrastructures and platforms and how it was organizationally affected by these. By using concepts such as ‘one media bias’, ‘media ecology’, ‘hybridity’ and ‘cognitive praxis’, the article aims to conceptualize how the identity of a movement and its technological infrastructure mutually constitute each other.

Dafermos, G. and Söderberg, J. 2009. ‘The hacker movement as the continuation of the labour struggle’, Capital & Class. 33 (1), 53-73.

Examining the way in which capital exploits the volunteer labour of free software developers, this article argues that there is a historical continuity between hackers and labour struggle. The common denominator is their rejection of alienated work practices, which suggests that corporate involvement in the computer underground, far from inhibiting further struggles by hackers, may function as a catalyst for them.

Deibert, R. (2008). Access denied: The practice and policy of global internet filtering. Mit Press.

Access Denied examines the political, legal, social, and cultural contexts of Internet filtering in these states from a variety of perspectives. Chapters discuss the mechanisms and politics of Internet filtering, the strengths and limitations of the technology that powers it, the relevance of international law, ethical considerations for corporations that supply states with the tools for blocking and filtering, and the implications of Internet filtering for activist communities that increasingly rely on Internet technologies for communicating their missions. Reports on Internet content regulation in forty different countries follow, with each two-page country profile outlining the types of content blocked by category and documenting key findings.

Deibert, R. J. (2013). Black code: Inside the battle for cyberspace. Signal.
As cyberspace develops in unprecedented ways, powerful agents are scrambling for control. Predatory cyber criminal gangs such as Koobface have made social media their stalking ground. The discovery of Stuxnet, a computer worm reportedly developed by Israel and the United States and aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, showed that state cyberwar is now a very real possibility. Governments and corporations are in collusion and are setting the rules of the road behind closed doors.
This is not the way it was supposed to be. The Internet’s original promise of a global commons of shared knowledge and communications is now under threat. Drawing on the first-hand experiences of one of the most important protagonists in the battle — the Citizen Lab and its global network of frontline researchers, who have spent more than a decade cracking cyber espionage rings and uncovering attacks on citizens and NGOs worldwide — Black Code takes readers on a fascinating journey into the battle for cyberspace.

Deibert, R., Palfrey, J., Rohozinski, R., Zittrain, J., & Haraszti, M. (2010). Access controlled: The shaping of power, rights, and rule in cyberspace. Mit Press.

Internet filtering, censorship of Web content, and online surveillance are increasing in scale, scope, and sophistication around the world, in democratic countries as well as in authoritarian states. The first generation of Internet controls consisted largely of building firewalls at key Internet gateways; China’s famous “Great Firewall of China” is one of the first national Internet filtering systems. Today the new tools for Internet controls that are emerging go beyond mere denial of information. These new techniques, which aim to normalize (or even legalize) Internet control, include targeted viruses and the strategically timed deployment of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, surveillance at key points of the Internet’s infrastructure, take-down notices, stringent terms of usage policies, and national information shaping strategies. Access Controlled reports on this new normative terrain. The book, a project from the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a collaboration of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and the SecDev Group, offers six substantial chapters that analyze Internet control in both Western and Eastern Europe and a section of shorter regional reports and country profiles drawn from material gathered by the ONI around the world through a combination of technical interrogation and field research methods.

Deibert, R., & Rohozinski, R. (2010). Liberation vs. control: The future of cyberspace. Journal of Democracy, 21(4), 43-57.

Among theorists of new information and communication technologies, there is a persistent tension between those who see them as technologies of liberation, and those who see them as technologies of control. We argue that the dichotomy itself is misleading, suggesting a basic opposition between forces of light and forces of darkness. In fact, the situation is much more complex and needs to be qualified. Rather than seeing technologies in oppositional terms, as either “empty” vessels to be filled by human intent, or powerful forces imbued with some kind of agency that no one can withstand, technologies are complex and continuously evolving manifestations of social forces of a particular time and place. Once created, technologies in turn shape and limit the prospects for human communication and interaction in a constantly iterative manner. This dynamic is especially evident in the case of cyberspace, a domain of intense competition, one which creates an ever-changing matrix of opportunities and constraints for social forces and ideas. Social forces and ideas, in turn, are imbued with alternative rationalities which collide with each other and affect the structure of the communications environment. Unless the characteristics of cyberspace change radically in the near future, and global human culture grows monolithic, linking technological properties to a single social outcome, like liberation or control, is highly dubious.

Deibert, R., Palfrey, J., Rohozinski, R., & Zittrain, J. (2011). Access contested: security, identity, and resistance in Asian cyberspace. MIT Press.

A daily battle for rights and freedoms in cyberspace is being waged in Asia. At the epicenter of this contest is China–home to the world’s largest Internet population and what is perhaps the world’s most advanced Internet censorship and surveillance regime in cyberspace. Resistance to China’s Internet controls comes from both grassroots activists and corporate giants such as Google. Meanwhile, similar struggles play out across the rest of the region, from India and Singapore to Thailand and Burma, although each national dynamic is unique. Access Contested, the third volume from the OpenNet Initiative (a collaborative partnership of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and the SecDev Group in Ottawa), examines the interplay of national security, social and ethnic identity, and resistance in Asian cyberspace, offering in-depth accounts of national struggles against Internet controls as well as updated country reports by ONI researchers. The contributors examine such topics as Internet censorship in Thailand, the Malaysian blogosphere, surveillance and censorship around gender and sexuality in Malaysia, Internet governance in China, corporate social responsibility and freedom of expression in South Korea and India, cyber attacks on independent Burmese media, and distributed-denial-of-service attacks and other digital control measures across Asia.

“This team has consistently produced the most important research on how and why technology matters in contemporary politics. With unique investigative tools, policy savvy, and a normative commitment to exposing the ways that tough regimes use digital media to control civil society, Access Contested demonstrates that in many ways, information technology is politics.” Philip N. Howard, Director, Project on Information Technology and Political Islam, University of Washington; author, The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy“—

De Rosa, A. 2012. “Open source politics: Reddit drafts ‘The Freedom of Internet Act.’,” Reuters Blogs (24 February), at

Reddit users have taken it upon themselves to draft legislation in place of SOPA and PIPA, unsatisfied with Washington politicians, who seem to have shown a willful ignorance of how the Internet actually works. Using a Google Doc open for anyone to help write and edit, they’ve come up with a draft version of “The Freedom of Internet Act”

Dessi, G. 2012. The Icelandic constitutional experiment, Open Democracy, 23 October,

This Saturday, a year after a Constitutional Council has written a draft constitution with the help of citizens, voters agreed this draft should be the basis for a new constitution. This writing experiment stands out for its surprisingly democratic process, but a closer look reveals some of its limitations.

Diamond, L. (2010). Liberation technology. Journal of Democracy, 21(3), 69-83.

The Internet, mobile phones, and other forms of “liberation technology” enable citizens to express opinions, mobilize protests, and expand the horizons of freedom. Autocratic governments are also learning to master these technologies, however. Ultimately, the contest between democrats and autocrats will depend not just on technology, but on political organization and strategy.

Diamond, L., & Plattner, M. F. (2012). Liberation technology: Social media and the struggle for democracy. JHU Press.

The revolutions sweeping the Middle East provide dramatic evidence of the role that technology plays in mobilizing citizen protest and upending seemingly invulnerable authoritarian regimes. A grainy cell phone video of a Tunisian street vendor’s self-immolation helped spark the massive protests that toppled longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and Egypt’s “Facebook revolution” forced the ruling regime out of power and into exile. While such “liberation technology” has been instrumental in freeing Egypt and Tunisia, other cases—such as China and Iran—demonstrate that it can be deployed just as effectively by authoritarian regimes seeking to control the Internet, stifle protest, and target dissenters. This two-sided dynamic has set off an intense technological race between “netizens” demanding freedom and authoritarians determined to retain their grip on power.

Liberation Technology brings together cutting-edge scholarship from scholars and practitioners at the forefront of this burgeoning field of study. An introductory section defines the debate with a foundational piece on liberation technology and is then followed by essays discussing the popular dichotomy of “liberation” versus “control” with regard to the Internet and the sociopolitical dimensions of such controls. Additional chapters delve into the cases of individual countries: China, Egypt, Iran, and Tunisia. This book also includes in-depth analysis of specific technologies such as Ushahidi—a platform developed to document human-rights abuses in the wake of Kenya’s 2007 elections—and alkasir—a tool that has been used widely throughout the Middle East to circumvent cyber-censorship. Liberation Technology will prove an essential resource for all students seeking to understand the intersection of information and communications technology and the global struggle for democracy. Contributors: Walid Al-Saqaf, Daniel Calingaert, Ronald Deibert, Larry Diamond, Elham Gheytanchi, Philip N. Howard, Muzammil M. Hussain, Rebecca MacKinnon, Patrick Meier, Evgeny Morozov, Xiao Qiang, Rafal Rohozinski, Mehdi Yahyanejad.

Di Salvo, P., & Negro, G. (2015). Framing Edward Snowden: A comparative analysis of four newspapers in China, United Kingdom and United States. Journalism, 1464884915595472.

This article sheds light on the framing of Edward Snowden in four newspapers in three different countries. The authors analysed online editions of a major American daily (The New York Times), one prominent European newspaper (The Guardian), one mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (The People’s Daily) and The South China Morning Post. The study seeks to explore how the role of Edward Snowden was framed and how digital whistleblowing was descripted by newspapers with different levels of Internet control, perception and culture on whistleblowing. The research is based on the framework proposed by a recent study of the framing of Bradley Manning. The results of a content analysis will present to what extent the press supported or criticized the role of Edward Snowden and his revelations. This article used four out of its five categories (‘Hero’, ‘Victim’, ‘Villain’, ‘Whistle-Blower’) plus a new addition of ‘Mole’, proposed by the authors. The findings provide evidence of the differences in the framing of Edward Snowden and the rhetoric behind reporting about whistleblowers and Internet governance.

Dobie, I. (2004). The Music Industry Versus the Internet: MP3 and Other Cyber Music Wars. Web Studies, 2nd ed. London, Arnold, 204-213.

The music industry is slowly realising that online distribution isn’t going to go away, and so is working out ways to offer this facility itself. The debate goes on, and is covered by Ian Dobie’s chapter in this book. Meanwhile, related cultural industries, such as the movie and publishing businesses, continue to fear digital threats to their well-established empires – although certain traditions, such as going to the cinema with friends, or curling up on the sofa with a book, are well-loved and seem unlikely to be wiped out by a computer-based alternative in the next few years.

Doctorow, C. 2012 The problem with nerd politics, The Guardian, 15 May ,

If people who understand technology don’t claim positions that defend the positive uses of technology, if we don’t operate within the realm of traditional power and politics, if we don’t speak out for the rights of our technically unsophisticated friends and neighbours, then we will also be lost. Technology lets us organise and work together in new ways, and to build new kinds of institutions and groups, but these will always be in the wider world, not above it.

Dür, A., & Mateo, G. (2014). Public opinion and interest group influence: how citizen groups derailed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Journal of European Public Policy, 21(8), 1199-1217.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which envisages stricter standards for the transnational enforcement of intellectual property rights, received strong support from business groups. Nevertheless, a campaign against the agreement that was initiated by a small number of citizen groups was successful in stopping its ratification in the European Union (EU). This result is puzzling because the anti-ACTA side controlled few material resources and should have found it difficult to have its voice heard on an issue negotiated at the international level. We explain the success of the anti-ACTA campaign by showing how interest groups managed to increase the public salience of the issue; how the increasing public salience motivated a growing number of interest groups to mobilize; and how the resulting dynamic made decision-makers opt against ratification of the agreement. The article advances scholarly understanding of the interaction between lobbying and public opinion and sheds light on the defeat of ACTA.

Earl, J. (2014). Something Old and Something New: A Comment on “New Media, New Civics”. Policy & Internet, 6(2), 169-175.

I argue that activists and scholars alike (including Zuckerman) should consider moving past the idea that thin forms of engagement are only meaningful when they are the bottom rung of a ladder leading to thicker and thicker activism. Research and even anecdotes that Zuckerman discusses show that sometimes bursts of thin engagement do succeed (just as sometimes, heavy on the sometimes, researchers know that thicker forms of activism succeed too). Instead, I am arguing for a literature where scholars accept that a distribution of thin and thick engagement can productively exist, instead of always implicitly denigrating thin engagements by remaining ever hopeful that engagement will eventually thicken. To do otherwise strikes me as not unlike saying you have no problem with your son being gay, but secretly hoping he meets the “right” woman.

Earl, J., & Beyer, J. L. (2014). The Dynamics of Backlash Online: Anonymous and the Battle for WikiLeaks. In Intersectionality and Social Change (pp. 207-233). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

We analyze reactions to the U.S. government-led repression of WikiLeaks in late 2010 by actors such as Anonymous and the Pirate Parties to argue that the potential for backlash, which has been so prominent offline, is also a potential repercussion of repression online. In doing so, we use existing research to identify different ways in which bystanders might be pulled into conflicts, and examine our case for evidence of any of these forms of backlash. We also hypothesize that the net observed effect of repression is really the result of competing and/or amplifying backlash and deterrence effects; when this net effect is in favor of backlash, we call it a “net backlash effect” to indicate that there was more backlash than deterrence. We argue that net backlash occurs when repression recruits more bystanders into a conflict than it is able to deter in terms of already active participants. We also argue that backlash is a very likely outcome when Internet activism is repressed. Keywords: Online protest, repression, bystanders, WikiLeaks, Anonymous, Internet

Estalella, A. 2011. Ensamblajes de esperanza: Un estudio antropológico del bloguear apasionado. PhD thesis, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona.

Esta tesis investiga la esperanza que algunas personas depositan en la posibilidad de transformar la sociedad a través de la tecnología, de una tecnología específica de Internet: los blogs. Para muchos de aquellos con los que conviví durante mi trabajo de campo, los blogs son una revolución que va a transformar la sociedad, o que de hecho la está transformando durante el momento en que se realiza mi investigación. Hay quienes consideran que a través de los blogs y de su práctica de bloguear se abre la posibilidad de elaborar nuevos modos de hacer ciencia, para otros son una forma diferente de desarrollar el periodismo, una herramienta para nuevos modos de hacer política o un medio y contexto para transformar la educación. Esas son algunas de las expectativas en las cuales se explicitan sus esperanzas y que circulan en España durante los 18 meses de mi trabajo de campo durante 2006 y 2007.

Fahmi, W. S. (2009). Bloggers’ street movement and the right to the city.(Re) claiming Cairo’s real and virtual “spaces of freedom”. Environment and urbanization, 21(1), 89-107.

Faced with formidable challenges to expression in Cairo’s public spaces, urban blogger activists have developed new ways of articulating dissent, namely spatial tactics ranging from boycott campaigns, cyber-activism and protest art, to innovations in mobilization, means of communication and organizational flexibility. This is particularly evident in the way these activists have (re)claimed Cairo’s contested public spaces in downtown Unions Street and Midan al Tahrir (Liberation Square) and transformed them into zones for public protest, employing urban installations and street graffiti and constructing significant sites of urban resistance and spatial contestation. The emergence of this grassroots street activism opens up a new public sphere through which the role of urban governance might be contested to accommodate cultural identities within various forms of spatiality and popular democracy.

Faris, R., Roberts, H., Etling, B., Othman, D., & Benkler, Y. (2015). Score Another One for the Internet? The Role of the Networked Public Sphere in the US Net Neutrality Policy Debate. Berkman Center Research Publication, (2015-4).

In this paper we study the public debate over net neutrality in the United States from January through November 2014. We compiled, mapped, and analyzed over 16,000 stories published on net neutrality, augmented by data from Twitter,, and Google Trends. Using a mixed-methods approach that combines link analysis with qualitative content analysis, we describe the evolution of the debate over time and assess the role, reach, and influence of different media sources and advocacy groups in setting the agenda, framing the debate, and mobilizing collective action. We conclude that a diverse set of actors working in conjunction through the networked public sphere played a central, arguably decisive, role in turning around the Federal Communications Commission policy on net neutrality.

Farivar, C. 2008. “Lessig, a copyfighter for Congress?” — Machinist, at

Farrell, H. (2012). The consequences of the internet for politics. Annual Review of Political Science, 15, 35-52.

Political scientists are only now beginning to come to terms with the importance of the Internet to politics. The most promising way to study the Internet is to look at the role that causal mechanisms such as the lowering of transaction costs, homophilous sorting, and preference falsification play in intermediating between specific aspects of the Internet and political outcomes. This will allow scholars to disentangle the relevant causal relationships and contribute to important present debates over whether the Internet exacerbates polarization in the United States, and whether social media helped pave the way toward the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. Over time, ever fewer political scientists are likely to study the Internet as such, as it becomes more and more a part of everyday political life. However, integrating the Internet’s effects with present debates over politics, and taking proper advantage of the extraordinary data that it can provide, requires good causal arguments and attention to their underlying mechanisms.

Feenstra, R. A., and Keane, J. (2014). Politics in Spain: A case of monitory democracy. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, Online First, 1–19. doi:10.1007/s11266-014-9461-2

Analysing the current political context in Spain is a major challenge to political theory. Spain is experiencing the accumulation of trends that in recent years have focused the attention of most theorists and political scientists: discrediting of the major parties, falling numbers of party members, disaffection, etc. In parallel, this trend has been accompanied by citizen mobilisations that, since 15 May 2011, are manifest in numerous channels and strategies. The aim of this paper was to analyse the complex Spanish context from the monitory democracy proposal. The results show how in recent years processes of public scrutiny have been consolidated through a range of citizen initiatives. The study offers an in-depth analysis of the main characteristics of the most notable cases and monitoring initiatives, and also reflects on their democratising potential.

Fell Brown, G.M. 2013. The politics of hacktivism. Socialist Alternative.

Digital technology can offer valuable tools for activists, but on the basis of capitalism the digital playing field will remain structurally tilted in favor of the capitalists. Most of the activists in Anonymous and LulzSec and some of the activists involved in WikiLeaks are from working-class backgrounds and support workers’ struggles, but there’s a difference between supporting workers’ struggles and participating in them. Hacking can be disruptive, but it doesn’t have the same impact as strikes, sit-downs, and occupations. The state and the capitalist ruling class have enormous powers at their disposal to disrupt, persecute, and defeat hacking efforts. Reliance on hacking is not a viable strategy for decisively defeating these powers.

Ferguson, R., & Griffiths, B. (2006). Thin democracy? Parliamentarians, citizens and the influence of blogging on political engagement. Parliamentary Affairs, 59(2), 366-374.

This analysis has attempted to provide an objective account of political blogging in the UK. Despite the negativity in our critical appraisal, blogging has had a positive impact in refreshing debates about the influence of information and communication technology (ICT) on British politics and political engagement. Amongst a small section of the British polity at least, blogging is a means of raising media, political and ICT literacy, it is motivating individuals who may have previously only existed at the fringes of the political debate to try to engage with those traditionally at the centre and helping those elected representatives to broaden and deepen their consultation base. Over the course of this Parliament, it will be intriguing to watch how blogging develops and whether it becomes the mainstream influence our sample hopes.

Fernández-Delgado, F. C., & Balanza, M. T. V. (2012). Beyond WikiLeaks: The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative and the Creation of Free Havens. International Journal of Communication, 6, 24.

On June 16, 2010, the Icelandic Parliament unanimously approved the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), a legislative package that turns the concept of “tax haven” on its head by offering fundamental protections for free speech and freedom of expression. This article offers a general picture of the political context in which the IMMI is set and describes the core free speech concerns identified in it as well as the legal reforms put forward to tackle them. To conclude, we examine both the possible legal implications of the IMMI and its general significance for the emergence of the networked public sphere in general and of the networked fourth estate in particular.

Figueras, J. (2015). Internetworked Social Movements and the Promise of Politics: A Case Study of the 15M Movement. Promoting Social Change and Democracy Through Information Technology, 116.

This chapter analyses the Spanish social movement of the 15M, and the influence of Information and Communication Technologies on it. Drawing a distinction between liberal and republican citizenship, the first part of the chapter discusses the interactions between technology and social movements in terms of political participation. This part compares and contrasts characteristics of online-based interactions with offline mobilisations in Spain. The second part of the chapter compiles a set of features that can be found in current Internetworked Social Movements, and its meaning from the perspective of political engagement. The chapter concludes that ICTs contributed to the recuperation of republican politics with current examples that suggest that forthcoming movements will promote this kind of participation.

Fink, K., & Anderson, C. W. (2014). Data Journalism in the United States: Beyond the “usual suspects”. Journalism Studies, (ahead-of-print), 1-15.

Understanding the phenomenon of data journalism requires an examination of this emerging practice not just within organizations themselves, but across them, at the inter-institutional level. Using a semi-structured interview approach, we begin to map the emerging computational journalistic field. We find considerable variety among data journalists in terms of their educational backgrounds, skills, tools and goals. However, many of them face similar struggles, such as trying to define their roles within their organizations and managing scarce resources. Our cross-organizational approach allows for comparisons with similar studies in Belgium, Sweden, and Norway. The common thread in these studies is that the practice of data journalism is stratified. Divisions exist in some countries between resource-rich and resource-poor organizations and in other countries between the realm of discourse and the realm of practice.

Firer-Blaess, S. 2016. The Collective Identity of Anonymous. Web of Meanings in a Digitally Enabled Movement. PhD Thesis. Uppsala Studies in Media and Communication 12. 220 pp. Uppsala: ActaUniversitatis Upsaliensis.

The present dissertation explores the collective identity of the Anonymous movement. This movement is characterised by the heterogeneity of its activities, from meme-crafting to pranks to activist actions, with a wide range of goals and tactics. Such heterogeneity raises the question as to why such a diverse group of people makes the decision to act under the same name. To answer this question, the concept of collective identity is applied, which describes how participants collectively construct the definition of their group. This dissertation is based on a three-year ethnography. The main findings show that the collective identity of Anonymous rests on five sets of self-defining concepts related to: 1) Anonymous’ counterculture of offense and parrhesia, 2) its personification into two personae (the ‘trickster’ and the ‘hero’) that have differing goals, means, and relationships with the environment, 3) a horizontal organisation and a democratic decision-making process, 4) practices of anonymity and an ethics of self-effacement, and 5) its self-definition as a universal entity, inclusive, and unbounded. The collective identity construction process is marked by tensions due to the incompatibility of some of these concepts, but also due to differences between these collective identity definitions and actual practices. As a consequence, they have to be constantly reaffirmed through social actions and discourses. Not all individuals who reclaim themselves as Anonymous recognise the totality of these collective identity definitions, but they all accept a number of them that are sufficient to legitimate their own belonging to the movement, and most of the time to be recognised by others as such. The different groups constituting Anonymous are therefore symbolically linked through a web of collective identity definitions rather than an encompassing and unified collective identity. This ‘connective identity’ gives the movement a heterogeneous composition while at the same time permitting it to retain a sense of identity that explains the use of a collective name.

Fredriksson, M. (2015). Piracy & Social Change| The Pirate Party and the Politics of Communication. International Journal of Communication, 9, 16.

This article draws on a series of interviews with members of the Pirate Party, a political party focusing on copyright and information politics, in different countries. It discusses the interviewees’ visions of democracy and technology and explains that copyright is seen as not only an obstacle to the free consumption of music and movies but a threat to the freedom of speech, the right to privacy, and a thriving public sphere. The first part of this article briefly sketches how the Pirate Party’s commitment to the democratic potential of new communication technologies can be interpreted as a defense of a digitally expanded lifeworld against the attempts at colonization by market forces and state bureaucracies. The second part problematizes this assumption by discussing the interactions between the Pirate movement and the tech industry in relation to recent theories on the connection between political agency and social media.

Freedom House (2014) Freedom on the Net 2014.

Freedom on the Net 2014 – the fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe, covering developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014 – finds internet freedom around the world in decline for the fourth consecutive year, with 36 out of 65 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period. In a departure from the past, when most governments preferred a behind-the-scenes approach to internet control, countries rapidly adopted new laws that legitimize existing repression and effectively criminalize online dissent. The past year also saw increased government pres­sure on independent news websites, which had previously been among the few uninhibited sources of information in many countries, in addition to more people detained or prosecuted for their digital activities than ever before.

Freedom House (2015) Freedom on the Net 2015

Freedom on the Net 2015 finds internet freedom around the world in decline for a fifth consecutive year as more governments censored information of public interest while also expanding surveillance and cracking down on privacy tools.

  • Content removals increased: Authorities in 42 of the 65 countries assessed required private companies or internet users to restrict or delete web content dealing with political, religious, or social issues, up from 37 the previous year.
  • Arrests and intimidation escalated: Authorities in 40 of 65 countries imprisoned people for sharing information concerning politics, religion or society through digital networks.
  • Surveillance laws and technologies multiplied: Governments in 14 of 65 countries passed new laws to increase surveillance since June 2014 and many more upgraded their surveillance equipment.
  • Governments undermined encryption, anonymity: Democracies and authoritarian regimes alike stigmatized encryption as an instrument of terrorism, and many tried to ban or limit tools that protect privacy.

Freelon, D. (2014). Online Civic Activism: Where Does It Fit?. Policy & Internet, 6(2), 192-198.

Ethan Zuckerman (2014) raises a number of important points in his essay “New Media, New Civics.” This response will focus on one of its central concepts, online activism, as it relates to civic engagement and activism broadly writ. Zuckerman’s formulation of “participatory civics” reminds me of several similar concepts that have been developed over the past two decades or so. These include “actualizing citizenship” (Bennett, 2008), “autonomous citizenship” (Coleman, 2008), “engaged citizenship” (Dalton, 2008), “new politics” (Dahlgren, 2005), “postmodern politics” (Inglehart, 1997), “subpolitics” (Beck, Giddens, & Lash, 1994), and the civic tendencies of “Generation DotNet” (Zukin, Keeter, Andolina, Jenkins, & Delli Carpini, 2006), and “Generation Digital” (Montgomery, 2007). Each of these differs somewhat from the others, but all share in common the argument that the loosely defined “youth” of the late-modern era tend to favor individually motivated, issue-specific “activism” over government- and mass-media-focused “politics.” Zuckerman spends most of his essay attempting to set the agenda of the participatory civics debate, contributing in the process a helpful two-dimensional typology with which different civic acts may be compared.

Freelon, D., Merritt, S., & Jaymes, T. (2015). Focus On The Tech: Internet centrism in global protest coverage. Digital Journalism, 3(2), 175-191.

Internet centrism, the notion that online tools play substantial roles in social and political processes, is frequently invoked by journalists, pundits, and academics. Existing research has explored this idea directly in the case of protest, attempting to discern the actual magnitude of the internet’s role in protest organization and mobilization. Taking a different approach, we conduct a content analysis to examine the extent to which internet centrism is discussed in articles about the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring in mainstream US newspapers and technology blogs. Our main findings are that the role of publication type in predicting internet centrism depends upon which protest is being discussed, and the role of protest type depends upon publication type. This study lends a theoretical perspective to an under-studied journalistic phenomenon with the potential to influence how audiences think about the causes and consequences of protests.

Fuchs, C. (2011). WikiLeaks: power 2.0? Surveillance 2.0? Criticism 2.0? Alternative media 2.0? A political-economic analysis. Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, 5(1).

The task of this paper is to analyse how WikiLeaks relates to capitalism. It deals specifically with the questions: Is WikiLeaks a counter-surveillance medium? Is it a form of alternative medium and alternative journalism? How does WikiLeaks relate to the liberal and socialist worldviews? The role of WikiLeaks as a watchdog organisation is analysed and the role of surveillance, counter-surveillance and transparency is discussed (section 2). The paper assesses how ideology and worldviews shape WikiLeaks self-understanding (section 3) and WikiLeaks is connected to journalism and alternative media theory (section 4). Finally, some conclusions about the role of WikiLeaks in contemporary capitalism are drawn (section 5).

Fuster, M. (2012). The Free Culture and 15M Movements in Spain: Composition, Social Networks and Synergies. Social Movement Studies, 11(3-4), 386-392.

This profile discusses the organization, goals and practices of the Spanish 15M movement. I argue that it developed as a complex, multi-layered ecosystem, mobilizing a new generation of citizens through the convergence of struggles over housing and the Free Culture and Digital Commons Movement (FCM), creating a common framework for action through social networks. Primarily in and through the actions in public squares, the 15M movement also constructed further layers of mobilization, incorporating the networks and skills of previous social movements (such as those mobilizing over inter alia education, health, alternative consumption) and connecting with previous generations who had mobilized over civil liberties in transition to democracy. Furthermore, I argue that links with the Free Culture Movement had a profound effect on the genealogy of 15M—in terms of its composition, agenda, framing and organizational logic. The methodology is based on case studies of both the FCM and 15M between December 2010 and December 2011 in Spain.

Gharbia, S. B. (2010). The Internet freedom fallacy and the Arab digital activism. Nawaat Blog, 17.

Giasson, T., Raynauld, V., & Darisse, C. (2011). Hypercitizens from a distinct society: characterizing Quebec’s political bloggers’ online and offline political involvement. International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies (IJICST), 1(2), 29-45.
While many, mostly American, scholars have recently conducted quantitative and qualitative investigations of the structure and content of political blogs, few have focused on the political involvement of their authors. Based on data collected through an online survey conducted in April 2008, this paper proposes the first detailed account of the sociopolitical profile of 56 members of the Quebec political blogosphere. The description of these bloggers’ involvement in content dispersion and online social networks as well as their participation in offline political activities helps to better understand the particularities of an emergent community of active citizens. Additionally, the research draws contrasts with previous studies of the U.S. political blogosphere and argues for the production of more detailed analysis considering the specificities of different communities of North American political bloggers.
Goggin, G., McLelland, M., Lee, K., Frances, S., Tkach, L., Tamura, T., & Yu, H. (2013). Internet Activism in Asia-Pacific: A Comparative, Cultural History. Selected Papers of Internet Research, 3.
As the internet has become a central delivery platform across contemporary mediascapes, activism around internet access, freedom, censorship, and openness has become more prominent. As internet freedom gathers momentum as a global media policy concept and movement, it is important to interrogate the terms in which it is constructed and understood. All too often, and certainly evident in these recent moves, is a strong, normative sense in which North American concepts of internet, media, activism and even ‘freedom’ shape the boundaries and modes of contemporary debates, policy frameworks, and action. Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to reframe contemporary notions of internet freedom, their politics, publics, actors, and movements. Drawing from the wider project on Asia-Pacific internet histories, this paper presents three case studies of internet activism –– respectively in Australia, South Korea, and Japan.

Golumbia, D. 2015. Tor, Technocracy, Democracy

David Golumbia, April 23, 2015 [Excerpts] In a terrific recent article describing technocracy and its prevalence in contemporary digital culture, the philosophers of technology Evan Selinger and Jathan Sadowski write:

Unlike force wielding, iron-fisted dictators, technocrats derive their authority from a seemingly softer form of power: scientific and engineering prestige. No matter where technocrats are found, they attempt to legitimize their hold over others by offering innovative proposals untainted by troubling subjective biases and interests. Through rhetorical appeals to optimization and objectivity, technocrats depict their favored approaches to social control as pragmatic alternatives to grossly inefficient political mechanisms. Indeed, technocrats regularly conceive of their interventions in duty-bound terms, as a responsibility to help citizens and society overcome vast political frictions.

Such technocratic beliefs are widespread in our world today, especially in the enclaves of digital enthusiasts, whether or not they are part of the giant corporate-digital leviathan. Hackers (“civic,” “ethical,” “white” and “black” hat alike), hacktivists, WikiLeaks fans, Anonymous “members,” even Edward Snowden himself walk hand-in-hand with Facebook and Google in telling us that coders don’t just have good things to contribute to the political world, but that the political world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it: the political world is broken, they appear to think (rightly, at least in part), and the solution to that, they think (wrongly, at least for the most part), is for programmers to take political matters into their own hands.

Greenberg, A. (2012). This machine kills secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and their fight to empower whistleblowers. Penguin.

WikiLeaks brought to light a new form of whistle-blowing, using powerful cryptographic code to hide leakers’ identities while they spill the private data of government agencies and corporations. But that technology has been evolving for decades in the hands of hackers and radical activists, from the libertarian enclaves of Northern California to Berlin to the Balkans. And the secret-killing machine continues to evolve beyond WikiLeaks, as a movement of hacktivists aims to obliterate the world’s institutional secrecy. This is the story of the code and characters–idealists, anarchists, extremists–who are transforming the next generation’s notion of what activism can be. With unrivaled access to such major players as Julian Assange, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and WikiLeaks’s shadowy engineer known as the Architect, (never before interviewed) reporter Andy Greenberg unveils the world of politically motivated hackers–who they are and how they operate.

Greenberg, A. (2016) It’s Been 20 Years Since This Man Declared Cyberspace Independence. 8 March 2016.

Barlow says […] that he hasn’t backed away from his declaration at all. He maintains that its central thesis holds […]: That the Internet is a separate, global place without the physical boundaries that define states and give them their power. “Cyberspace is something that happens independently of the physical world in exactly the same way as the mind and body,” Barlow says. “It depends on the physical world and can’t exist without it, but to a fairly large extent, it’s another thing, unprecedented in world history: An environment where people across the planet could come together and have a sense of political constituency.” “It’s very simple,” he concludes. “They don’t have jurisdiction.”

Greenwald, G. (2014). No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US surveillance state. Metropolitan Books.

Going beyond NSA specifics, Greenwald […] takes on the establishment media, excoriating their habitual avoidance of adversarial reporting on the government and their failure to serve the interests of the people. Finally, he asks what it means both for individuals and for a nation’s political health when a government pries so invasively into the private lives of its citizens—and considers what safeguards and forms of oversight are necessary to protect democracy in the digital age. Coming at a landmark moment in American history, No Place to Hide is a fearless, incisive, and essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state. – See more at:

Haggart, B. (2013). Fair Copyright for Canada: Lessons for Online Social Movements from the First Canadian Facebook Uprising. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 46(04), 841-861.

Despite the growing importance of social media, their political effectiveness remains understudied. Drawing on and updating resource mobilization theory and political process theory, this article considers how social media make “political engagement more probable” and determine the success of online social movements. It does so by examining the mainstreaming of the Canadian “user rights” copyright movement, focusing on the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook page, created in December 2007. This decentralized, grassroots, social media-focused action—the first successful campaign of its kind in Canada and one of the first in the world—changed the terms of the Canadian copyright debate and legitimized Canadian user rights. As this case demonstrates, social media have changed the type and quantity of resources needed to create and sustain social movements, creating openings for new groups and interests. Their success, however, remains dependent on the political context within which they operate.

Haggart, B. (2014). Birth of a Movement: The Anti‐Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and the Politicization of Mexican Copyright. Policy & Internet, 6(1), 69-88.

The literature on social movements—national and transnational—and social media has tended to focus on cases from the global North rather than the South, raising questions about its applicability to countries with low Internet penetration rates and weak civil societies. To remedy this deficit, this article presents the case of the Mexican Stop Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) network. In 2010–11, a network of about a dozen underfunded copyright and Internet activists convinced the Mexican Senate to reject—unanimously—the ACTA, a U.S.-led plurilateral treaty that critics claimed would strengthen international intellectual property rights at the cost of fundamental Mexican Constitutional and human rights. This article argues that this victory was the result of activists’ use of social media in a way that recognized the limits and possibilities within existing Mexican political arrangements. While Stop ACTA’s success suggests social media’s utility for social movements in other developing countries, it leaves open the question as to whether it can make up for weak civil society institutions over the long-term.

The year 2012 witnessed several dramatic developments in the increasingly contentious global intellectual property (IP) debate. On January 18th, the Internet declared war on two copyright-related bills before the U.S. Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act. In order to draw attention to concerns that the bills would, in the name of reducing online copyright violations, fundamentally damage the open architecture of the Internet itself, thousands of websites, most notably Wikipedia and Reddit, blacked out their sites, directing their users to information about the bills and how to contact their Congressional representatives. In an unprecedented demonstration of grassroots mobilization, millions of Americans flooded Congress with calls and emails protesting the bills, famously crashing the Senate’s website (“SOPA Petition Gets Millions of Signatures,” 2012; Wikipedia, 2012). Within 24 hours, the bills were withdrawn (Sell, 2013).

Less than 1 month later, on February 11th, more than 100,000 people1 took to the streets across Europe to protest an IP treaty, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a U.S.-led treaty that had been negotiated among several countries, including the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Mexico. Critics argued that it would have a negative effect on human rights, especially “the rights to due process, privacy, freedom of information, freedom of expression, and access to essential medicines” (Amnesty International, 2012).

Similar to the effect of the SOPA protests, the European anti-ACTA protests compelled the European Commission (as well as several member governments) to withdraw its support in December 2012 for a treaty that the Commission had previously seemed intent on passing. The two events represented victories against well-funded and politically powerful IP interests, and offered evidence that transnational activists could stand up to powerful economic and state interests and win (Sell, 2013).

Harlow, S., & Johnson, T. J. (2011). Overthrowing the Protest Paradigm? How The New York Times, Global Voices and Twitter Covered the Egyptian Revolution. International Journal of Communication, 5, 1359-74.

With social-media driven protests erupting across the Arab world, this content analysis of Egyptian protest coverage in The New York Times, the Twitter feed of Times reporter Nick Kristof, and the citizen media site Global Voices, examines whether the de-legitimizing “protest paradigm” found in mainstream media is replicated in social media and blogs, and what impact their protest coverage has on their credibility. Results showed that The Times adhered to the paradigm by emphasizing the spectacle, quoting official sources, and de-valuing protesters as reporters maintained an impartial role. In contrast, Global Voices and Kristof’s Twitter feed took different approaches, legitimizing protesters and serving as commentators/analysts, even actors, in the unfolding events. Global Voices also provided more opportunities for reader interactivity.

Hart, J. A. (2011). The net neutrality debate in the United States. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 8(4), 418-443.

In 2006, a major telecommunications bill was held up because it did not include guarantees for something called “net neutrality.” Republicans strongly opposed these guarantees, while Democrats strongly favored them. The debate over net neutrality continued during the long campaign leading up to the 2008 presidential election. When the Obama Administration took office in 2009, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski revived the idea of codifying net neutrality rules. In April 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the FCC did not have the authority to regulate Internet service providers under its own interpretation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The FCC adopted a new strategy because of the Court’s action. It opted not to undertake a major revision of the Telecommunications Act, but instead to attempt to regulate Internet service provision under modified “common carriage” rules, just as basic telephone services had been previously. An attempt will be made here to explain these choices.

Herman, B. D., & Kim, M. (2014). The Internet Defends Itself: The Network Neutrality Debate on the Web. The Information Society, 30(1), 31-44.

This study examines the network neutrality debate, as represented online. The research begins by conducting network analysis to identify key websites, followed by retrieving the relevant documents and using content analysis. Results demonstrate that the online version of the debate skews heavily toward the pro-network neutrality side. The web debate also includes much higher proportions of voices from nonprofit sectors, especially nongovernmental organizations. Telecommunications companies and trade groups, which anchor the anti-network neutrality coalition, are relatively quiet online. These findings show groups that are less powerful making heavy use of online communication and, in light of the political history of the issue, they also suggest online mobilizing may help reshape the dynamics of issue advocacy.

Himanen, P. 2001. The hacker ethic, and the spirit of the information age. London: Secker and Warburg.

The Hacker Ethic takes us on a journey through fundamental questions about life in the information age – a trip of constant surprises, after which our time and our lives can be seen from unexpected perspectives.Nearly a century ago, Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism articulated the animating spirit of the industrial age, the Protestant ethic. In the original meaning of the word, hackers are enthusiastic computer programmers who share their work with others; they are not computer criminals. Now Pekka Himanen – together with Linus Torvalds and Manuel Castells – articulates how hackers represent a new opposing ethos for the information age.Underlying hackers’ technical creations – such as the Internet and the personal computer, which have become symbols of our time – are the hacker values that produced them. These values promote passionate and freely rhythmed work; the belief that individuals can create great things by joining forces in imaginative ways; and the need to maintain our existing ethical ideals, such as privacy and equality, in our new increasingly technologized society.

Hintz, A. (2013). Dimensions of Modern Freedom of Expression: WikiLeaks, Policy Hacking, and Digital Freedoms. Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society, 146.

The WikiLeaks project can be placed in the midst of these examples of the use of liberation technology and the various experiences of individuals and movements in advancing free expression, transparency, and social transformation. The leaks platform has bypassed information restrictions, expanded the range of publicly available information, and challenged the leading media players to change their routines and practices. Demonstrating the capacity of technical experts to challenge major powers, WikiLeaks seems to express a broader trend in which the power relations between individuals and institutions are shifting in favour of the former (Grimsson, 2011 ). In that sense, citizen journalism, the Arab Spring, and WikiLeaks may confirm some of the predictions of cyber-libertarians and techno-utopians, who have long criticized traditional institutions as outdated and have praised the power of individuals in cyberspace (Barlow, 1996).

However, this reading of recent events may be premature. Just as social media have been used by activists to advance political change, they have been used by governments to control and deter such action, for example, by identifying protesters (as in Tunisia, Syria, and Iran). Vital online resources and funding streams have been cut to weaken dissident organizations (as happened to WikiLeaks in December 2010 and ever since).

Hintz, A. (2015). Internet Freedoms and Restrictions. The Routledge Companion to Alternative and Community Media.

Hintz, A., & Milan, S. (2011). User rights for the Internet age: Communications policy according to “Netizens”. The handbook of global media and communication policy, 230-241.

This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction; The Policy Environment: Spotlight on the State; “Netizens” and Net Activism; Policy Agendas: User Rights for the Internet Age; Practices of Intervention: Bypassing the Law; Conclusion: Toward an Enabling Policy Environment.

Hintz, A., & Milan, S. 2011. Exploring information governance activism: Action repertoires, strategies and agendas.

In this chapter we will introduce and analyze the experiences of several civil society coalitions and networks that have promoted policy change, focusing on those that have featured media practitioners and communication activists in key roles. Based on these cases, we will explore common characteristics of current information governance activism. In particular, we will look at the following three aspects:

(1) Action repertoires: What action repertoires do the various social actors adopt, and how do they mobilize ‘inside’, ‘outside’, and ‘beyond’ policy arenas?

(2) Strategies and conditions for policy change: What have been the core factors for successes and failures, what strategies have been applied, and how have social actors exploited political opportunities of political change and crisis?

(3) Policy agendas and interaction: Do policy initiatives connect and relate their agendas, and do they combine concerns from ‘old’ and ‘new’ media platforms and thereby overcome divisions between different sets of policies (as well as between different social groups mobilizing on them)?

Hogge, B. (2005). Global voices: blogging the world. openDemocracy, December, 13, 2005.

In late 2004, MacKinnon and Zuckerman realised that although American weblogs were talking to one another and gaining lots of exposure in the mainstream press, blogs from the rest of the world needed a bigger audience. Their central mission, beyond supporting the right of people to speak and speak freely, became promoting the importance of listening. The result is a website which aggregates posts from weblogs around the world. The homepage of the Global Voices site is dominated by a cloud of tags listing countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Clicking on each one brings you the news from the blogosphere, with options to visit other blog summaries in the region. The site, originally maintained by Zuckerman and MacKinnon, now has a team of six regional editors. It is supplemented by a wiki running through the centre of the page, where readers can suggest other regional blogs worth monitoring. The project has grown at an enormous pace. The site received a total of 800 visits in its first four weeks. Now 300,000 individual people check the site each month. On an average day, Global Voices gets 12,000 readers, many from the mainstream press, which uses the stories as its own personal and international news desk.

Hood, C. (2011). From FOI world to WikiLeaks world: a new chapter in the transparency story?. Governance, 24(4), 635-638.

So just what is new about WikiLeaks world? Perhaps three things. One is the institutional form of an international organization operating in cyberspace in ways intended to frustrate retribution and regulation through national information laws (by siting itself in the most constitutionally disclosure-friendly jurisdictions, such as Iceland and Sweden) and operating as an intermediary organization through which leakers can release information to media and the public. A second novelty is arguably the sheer quantity of classified information published on the WikiLeaks Web site as mentioned earlier. Third, though WikiLeaks itself soon abandoned its initial plan to work though user-editable “wiki” architecture, there is perhaps something new in the collective searching power that wiki-type media can harness. That is illustrated by recent cases in which WikiLeaks-type Web sites have posted prominent German politicians’ doctoral theses online in an organized and successful search for plagiarized passages.

Howard, P. N., & Hussain, M. M. (2013). Democracy’s fourth wave?: digital media and the Arab Spring. Oxford University Press.

Did digital media really “cause” the Arab Spring, or is it an important factor of the story behind what might become democracy’s fourth wave? An unlikely network of citizens used digital media to start a cascade of social protest that ultimately toppled four of the world’s most entrenched dictators. Howard and Hussain find that the complex causal recipe includes several economic, political and cultural factors, but that digital media is consistently one of the most important sufficient and necessary conditions for explaining both the fragility of regimes and the success of social movements. This book looks at not only the unexpected evolution of events during the Arab Spring, but the deeper history of creative digital activism throughout the region.

Huang, J. (2015). Values and Symbolism in Anonymous’s Brand Identity (MA dissertation, Duke University).

Hacktivism is a portmanteau of computer hacking and activism (Wikipedia). Coined in 1996 by Omega, a member of cDc, “hacktivism” was linked to Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), stating “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression” (Shantz and Tomblin 63-64). Among all the hacker collectives that associate themselves with hacktivism, Anonymous, a leaderless and decentralized group of hackers, might be regarded as the most controversial one. This is because it dabbles in a series of whimsical pranks and publicity stunts but also deliberate digital attacks against government, religious, and corporate websites in the name of defending free flow of information and delivering social justice. In this paper, I will use public media content regarding Anonymous for my primary sources, including Western mainstream media’s news coverage and Anonymous’s own social media posts, to analyze the contribution Anonymous has made to the hacker subculture. Anonymous commits itself to building a distinguishable brand identity as a defender of freedom of speech, hoping to use its symbolic values to “[contribute] to a wider political landscape” (Goode 84). Anonymous’s absence of hierarchy allows anyone who shares the same principles to partake in online/offline activities and claim its title. Its slogans take on the coloration of populism, denying self-promotion, demanding greater digital democracy and serving as an antidote to “cyber-imperialism” (Coleman 391). Plus, Anonymous excels at using social media to promulgate its values and create counter-narratives. Although, more often than not, Anonymous adopts legally ambiguous and morally debatable tactics to hack and expose “wrongdoers,” this leaderless and decentralized hacker collective has become an unorthodox political and cultural icon of civil resistance.

Hussain, M. M. (2014). Securing Technologies of Freedom after the Arab Spring: Policy Entrepreneurship and Norms Consolidation Practices in Internet Freedom Promotion. Doctoral dissertation (Ph.D.), University of Washington.

This dissertation is an investigation of the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests of 2011-2012 and their consequences for impacting contemporary discussions and efforts to promote “internet freedom” by Western democratic states. This study focuses on the key stakeholder communities that have emerged to compete, define, and consolidate the norms and frameworks surrounding internet freedom promotion: state-based, private sector, and civil society actors. This dissertation also describes the rise and failed attempt of civil society stakeholders to infuse democratically-oriented frames for approaching digital infrastructure management with the primary interests of protecting citizen rights and political activists in autocratic states. The political economy of global digital infrastructure regulation is also examined, and the positions of state-based and private sector influences within it are articulated. In doing so, this study identifies a key tech-savvy community of practice that has delineated the most comprehensive opportunities and pitfalls of using digital media tools for democracy promotion, and is struggling to consolidate and enact these practices and norms into policy frameworks. However, these efforts are cast against the competing interests of the technology providers in colluding with repressive and democratic state powers to provide functionally equivalent anti-democratic technocratic capabilities. Thus, this story is parts network analysis, part policy analysis, and part event analysis. Throughout, the proto-regime formation approach to technology policy is emphasized in contrast to existing state-sponsored telecommunications regulatory bodies.

Hussain, M. M. (2014). Digital Infrastructure Politics and Internet Freedom Stakeholders after the Arab Spring. Journal of International Affairs, 68(1), 37.

This article presents a brief characterization of the transformational consequences of the Arab Spring for global policy frameworks and democracy promotion efforts regarding Internet infrastructure. To do so, we begin with unpacking the battle that took place in Dubai in December 2012 at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) between competing state powers, technology policy regimes, and civil society activists jockeying on the global stage to promote Internet freedom. Particular emphasis is placed on the discourses and controversies carried over from the Arab Spring surrounding Internet freedom as democracy promotion, including the growing importance of transnationally-organized and tech-savvy civil society activists who have joined these opaque policy debates. The next section focuses on highlighting the new practices and ideologies of this particularly novel “community of practice” comprising transnational tech-savvy activists who have joined the Internet freedom proto-regime. The final discussion elucidates the policy innovations and frameworks born from the interactions of this diverse stakeholder network since the Arab Spring, and contrasts them with those of the state and private sector stakeholders who traditionally hold sway in shaping information infrastructure policies. We conclude by outlining the opportunities and challenges facing these policy entrepreneurs and the democratic interests of global Internet users.

Hussain, M. (Ed.). (2014). State power 2.0: Authoritarian entrenchment and political engagement worldwide. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Digital media and online social networking applications have changed the way in which dissent is organized with social movement leaders using online applications and digital content systems to organize collective action, activate local protest groups, network with international social movements and share their political perspectives. In the past, authoritarian regimes could control broadcast media in times of political crisis by destroying newsprint supplies, seizing radio and television stations, and blocking phone calls. It is much more difficult to control media in the digital age though there have certainly been occasions when states have successfully shut down their digital networks. What causes state-powers to block internet access, disable digital networks or even shut off internet access? How is it done, what is the impact and how do dissidents attempt to fight back? In this timely and accessible volume a collection of high profile, international scholars answer these key questions using cases from Israel, Iran, Russia, Morocco, Vietnam and Kuwait and assess the political economy of the actors, institutions and regimes involved and effected by the state-management and control of digital networks.

Hussain, M.(2016) Digital Rights Activism: Thinking Beyond Digital Democratization and Networked Authoritarianism. Quello Brown Bag discussion, East Lansing, MI 48823, 22 April 2016.
In recent years, field-wide academic debates have narrowed focus on validating or critiquing the techno-utopian and techno-pessimist claims surrounding the impacts of digital media on contemporary characteristics of political mobilizations, revolutions, and change. Meanwhile, on the ground, state power, civil society, and private sector actors have been embroiled in complex international struggles over the future of the very same political communication infrastructures undergirding techno-utopian and techno-pessimist debates. To address this chasm, this book draws from network ethnography, participant observation, and field interviews in North Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America between mid-2012 to mid-2015 to argue that not enough serious attention has been paid to the struggles and competitions between digital activists, political technologists, and policy entrepreneurs over shared political communication infrastructures. To bridge this gap, I draw attention to three sites of activity where their tensions are made most visible: the public advocacy surrounding internet freedom as championed by infrastructure stakeholders (state powers, private sector, and civil society); the technical affordances surrounding internet freedom as designed by political technologists in their political communication tools; and the policy norms surrounding internet freedom as encoded by policy entrepreneurs in governing political communication infrastructure. I conclude by suggesting that while impact assessments on whether digital technologies have liberalized states or better enabled their coercive tactics remain important, the international political economy of global political communication infrastructure and its digital technocrats (digital activists, political technologists, and policy entrepreneurs) are far more concerning and consequential for comparative communication and democratization studies than traditionally examined.

Ishkanian, A. (2011). Liberation technology: dreams, politics, history. Open Democracy.

…Most “cyber-utopians” (as Evgeny Morozov calls them) or “liberation technologists” (as some refer to themselves) recognise the obstacles in their way: in particular, that authoritarian regimes are adept at using internet censorship, surveillance and monitoring to blunt the emancipatory momentum. But they go on to argue that further technological advances can help circumvent the “the great firewall of China” and its equivalents.… The United States is playing the leading role globally in advancing “internet freedom”, reflected in its award of $20 million in 2008-10 to support the work of digital activists. A diplomatic initiative – 21st Century Statecraft – aims to make diplomacy more innovative by fusing the new technologies with traditional foreign-policy tools.

… The Program on Liberation Technology seeks to understand how “information technology can be used to defend human rights, improve governance, empower the poor, promote economic development, and pursue a variety of other social goods.”  It plans to “evaluate (through experiment and other empirical methods) which technologies and applications are having greatest success, how those successes can be replicated, and how less successful technologies and applications can be improved to deliver real economic, social, and political benefit.”

A project that has human goals at its nominal centre yet focuses on tools and technologies always runs the risk of technological determinism and indeed fetishism. Moreover, the prior history of “toolbox” approaches to political change (albeit before an era when the internet was widespread) enjoins caution over making the discovery and spread of successful technologies the key to achieving improvements in governance, development and human rights. It may be also that these technology-centred approaches tend to encourage a context-free and amnesiac attitude that ignores the experiences even of the very recent past. In any event, the extraordinary events in the middle east and north Africa fuel the liberation technologists’ euphoria.

Jordan, T., Taylor, P., & Rutledge, L. How, through online activism, can power be observed in the flow of information and data?.

Juris, J.S. 2008. Networking Futures: the Movements against Corporate Globalization. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

In an account full of activist voices and on-the-ground detail, Jeffrey provides a history of anti-corporate globalization movements, an examination of their connections to local dynamics in Barcelona, and an analysis of movement-related politics, organizational forms, and decision-making. Depicting spectacular direct action protests in Barcelona and other cities, he describes how far-flung activist networks are embodied and how networking politics are performed. He further explores how activists have used e-mail lists, Web pages, and free software to organize actions, share information, coordinate at a distance, and stage “electronic civil disobedience.” Based on a powerful cultural logic, anti-corporate globalization networks have become models of and for emerging forms of radical, directly democratic politics. Activists are not only responding to growing poverty, inequality, and environmental devastation; they are also building social laboratories for the production of alternative values, discourses, and practices.

Kahn, R., & Kellner, D. (2004). New media and internet activism: From the’Battle of Seattle’to blogging. New media & society, 6(1), 87-95.

The examples in this article suggest how new media developments in technoculture make possible a reconfiguring of politics and culture and a refocusing of politics on everyday life. In this conjuncture, the ideas of Guy Debord and the Situationist International are especially relevant, with their stress on the construction of situations, use of technology, media of communication, and cultural forms to promote a revolution of everyday life, and to increase the realm of freedom, community, and empowerment. The ideas and practices of Debord and the Situationists have a bewitching afterlife in internet culture and its articulations with the social world. In summer 2003, new ‘flash mobs’ began emerging in major cities throughout the world, as groups of individuals answered email summons to appear in specific sites, coordinated through the use of hand-held GSP tracking systems, to carry out particular actions. These brief playful encounters, which united new cultural collectives through the use of the internet, usually involved absurdist interventions that confused shoppers, security guards, and the media, although many times their point was simply to liberate an urban space such that prevailing social norms were challenged and temporarily set aside.

Kahn, R., & Kellner, D. (2005). Oppositional politics and the Internet: A critical/reconstructive approach. Cultural Politics, 1(1), 75-100.

We argue that the continued growth of the Internet, both as a form of mainstream media and as a tool for organizing democratic social interactions, requires that Internet politics be retheorized from a standpoint that is both critical and reconstructive. While we undertake an approach that is critical of corporate forms and hegemonic uses of the Internet, we advocate for new software developments such as blogs and trace the oppositional deployments of the Internet made by a wide variety of groups in the cause of progressive cultural and political struggle. In this regard, we describe how the Internet has facilitated the worldwide emergence of the anti-globalization, anti-war and anti-capitalism movements, even as it has coalesced local communities and groups, and so we conclude that the future of Internet politics must be thought dialectically as both global and local. We end by noting the relevance of the ideas of Guy Debord, with his focus on the construction of situations, the use of technology, media of communication and cultural forms to promote a revolution of everyday life.

Kapor, M. (1991). Civil liberties in cyberspace. Scientific American, 265(3), 158-164.

Karatzogianni, A. (2015). Firebrand Waves of Digital Activism 1994-2014: The Rise and Spread of Hacktivism and Cyberconflict.

Firebrand Waves of Digital Activism 1994-2014 introduces four waves of upsurge in digital activism and cyberconflict. The rise of digital activism started in 1994, was transformed by the events of 9/11, culminated in 2011 with the Arab Spring uprisings, and entered a transformative phase of control and mainstreaming since 2013 with the Snowden affair. The book’s argument is that digital activism is entering a phase of mainstreaming as ‘politics as usual’: an established element in the fabric of political life with no exceptional qualities, normalized and mainstreamed by governments through collaboration with corporations and the cooptation of NGOs. Cyberconflict will revolve more around high-level information warfare of attacking infrastructure, rather than just using ICTs to mobilise or as a weapon for low-level societal and largely symbolic attacks. The book goes on to elaborate on how the higher level character of conflict in digital networks will intensify to the extent that digital activism and cyberconflict of the last two decades shall pale by comparison.


Kavada, A. (2013). Internet cultures and protest movements: The cultural links between strategy, organizing and online communication.

Kean, S. (2007). Internet Research, Uncensored. Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(29).

In this article, the author discusses a computer program called Psiphon which bypasses government filters undetected. The University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, a research center for digital media and politics, designed Psiphon for technology-savvy activists. Some technology-savvy activists use other open-source software, like Tor (which relies on servers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), to circumvent what they call “silly” government restrictions. But people must download files to run those programs–a risk in Iran, where having such files on your computer can lead to jail. Psiphon, is Web-based: Users download nothing, leaving no clues for snoops. It could open the Internet to thousands of students who use public terminals. To use Psiphon, people in censored countries need social connections to people in uncensored countries, and Western universities house huge populations of technology-savvy and politically fired-up foreigners. Psiphon’s reliance on social networks means censored users will find circumvention easier than ever.

Keen, A. (2015). The Internet is not the answer. Atlantic Books Ltd.
The more important truth about the internet, Keen thinks, is that it has evolved into a global machine for creating a world characterised by vast and growing inequality. “The error that evangelists make,” he writes, “is to assume that the internet’s open, decentralised technology naturally translates into a less hierarchical or unequal society. But rather than more openness and the destruction of hierarchies, an unregulated network society is breaking the old centre, compounding economic and cultural inequality, and creating a digital generation of masters of the universe. This new power may be rooted in a borderless network, but it still translates into massive wealth and power for a tiny handful of companies and individuals.” (Guardian)

Kellner, D. (1997) ‘Intellectuals, the New Public Spheres, and Technopolitics’, New Political Science 41–42 (Fall): 169–88.

A revitalization of democracy in capitalist societies will therefore require a democratic media politics. Such a politics could involve a two-fold strategy of, first, attempting to democratize existing media to make them more responsive to the “public interest, convenience, and necessity.” In the United States, the media watchdog group FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Media) has developed this alternative, criticizing mainstream media for failing to assume their democratic and journalistic responsibilities and calling for an expansion of voices and ideas within the media system. Another strategy involves the development of oppositional media, alternatives to the mainstream, developed outside of the established media system. On my view, both strategies are necessary for the development of a democratic media politics and it is a mistake to pursue one at the neglect of the other.

Kelty C (2008) Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

In Two Bits, Christopher M. Kelty investigates the history and cultural significance of Free Software, revealing the people and practices that have transformed not only software but also music, film, science, and education. Free Software is a set of practices devoted to the collaborative creation of software source code that is made openly and freely available through an unconventional use of copyright law. Kelty explains how these specific practices have reoriented the relations of power around the creation, dissemination, and authorization of all kinds of knowledge. He also makes an important contribution to discussions of public spheres and social imaginaries by demonstrating how Free Software is a “recursive public”—a public organized around the ability to build, modify, and maintain the very infrastructure that gives it life in the first place.

Knight, S. 2013. Icelandic Activist Birgitta Jónsdóttir Reveals How WikiLeaks Changed Her Country Forever,, 17 October 2013,

In 2010, Jónsdóttir and like-minded colleagues introduced legislation in Parliament for transparency reforms and journalist protection— the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI). It and other innovative post-collapse reforms – an attempt at a new constitution, drafted using crowdsourced techniques; websites designed to get the city of Reykjavik and parliament to address popular proposals; an anonymous online submission form for whistleblowers who want to connect with journalists; and others —drew attention to Iceland as an alternative to the post-collapse reforms (or lack thereof)  in the U.S. and Europe.

Konieczny, P. (2014). The day Wikipedia stood still: Wikipedia’s editors’ participation in the 2012 anti-SOPA protests as a case study of online organization empowering international and national political opportunity structures. Current Sociology, 62(7), 994-1016.

This article contributes to the discussions on Internet mobilization and on international social movements’ ability to influence national policy. The event studied is the ‘first Internet strike’ of 18 January 2012 aimed against the SOPA legislation proposed in the USA. Wikipedia’s volunteer editors from all around the world took part in the vote concerning whether Wikipedia should undertake a protest action aimed at influencing American policymakers. Wikipedia editors are shown to share values of the international free culture movement, though experienced editors were also likely to be conflicted about whether taking part in a protest action was not violating the site’s principle of encyclopedic neutrality. Further, Wikipedia’s participation in this protest action allowed non-US citizens to have a visible impact on the US national legislation. As such, Wikipedia can be seen as an international social movement organization, whose 24 hour-long blackout of its popular website was a major factor in the success of the anti-SOPA protests. Wikipedia’s blackout was an expression of an international political opportunity structure in the form of worldwide awareness and protests, which in turn enabled a national political opportunity structure by informing and mobilizing American citizens.

Krotoski, A. (2011). WikiLeaks and the new, transparent world order. The Political Quarterly, 82(4), 526-530.

Kubitschko, S. (2015a). Media practices of civil society organisations: Emerging paths to legitimation and long-term engagement (Doctoral dissertation).

In this thesis I wish to analyse the complex relationship between actors’ media- related practices, legitimacy and long-term engagement. Based on a qualitative approach my research investigates two cases –Citizens for Europe, a civil society organisations involved in issues relating to European citizenship, and the Chaos Computer Club, one of the world’s oldest and largest hacker organisations. More concretely, through face-to-face interviews, participant observation and media analysis I analyse the role media practices play for the two organisations to establish legitimation and to sustain their political engagement over time. Accordingly, my thesis seeks to provide an empirically informed interpretive account of the meaning media-related practices have for actors’ political endeavours. From a more operationalised perspective, I am trying to make a convincing argument that practices circulating around and oriented towards media technologies and infrastructures play a configurative role for actors’ ability to co-determine democratic constellations. Instead of suggesting a straightforward causal chain my thesis conceptualises the entanglements between media practices, legitimation and long-term engagement as interlocking arrangements grounded in relational dynamics. Overall, my thesis aims to compliment existing research on the role media technologies and infrastructures play for the formation of political arrangements by looking at organisation-based engagement. In doing so, my research partially bridges a current research gap concerning the relationship between organisational actors’ media-related practices and their ability to establish legitimacy and to perpetuate political engagement over time.

Kubitschko, S. (2015b). Hackers’ media practices Demonstrating and articulating expertise as interlocking arrangements. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 1354856515579847.

The increased level of technical abstractness poses a challenge for laypersons and politicians alike to notice the political impacts specific technical developments might bring. By presenting qualitative research on Europe’s oldest and one of the world’s largest hacker organizations – the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) – the article shows that the CCC acts as a civil society organization that brings together a wide range of knowledge, skills and experiences related to media technologies and infrastructures. By deconstructing the abstractness of a given technology, the CCC materializes its formerly unrecognized political quality. Yet, the political endeavour of closing the expert-public gap, in the interests of public democracy, is only brought to life once the outcomes of a particular hack are communicated in comprehensible manners to diverse publics and audiences. Overall the article points to the emergence of new modes and practices of expertise by conceptualizing the Club’s active demonstration of expertise through hacking and its articulation of expertise through media-related practices and interactions with institutional politics as interlocking arrangements. Today, hackers – and in particular hacker organizations – are best considered actors whose skills, knowledge and experiences are ever more relevant for political cultures and democracy at large.

Kubitschko, S. (2015c ). The Role of Hackers in Countering Surveillance and Promoting Democracy, Media and Communication, 2015, Volume 3, Issue 2, Pages 77-87.

Practices related to media technologies and infrastructures (MTI) are an increasingly important part of democratic constellations in general and of surveillance tactics in particular. This article does not seek to discuss surveillance per se, but instead to open a new line of inquiry by presenting qualitative research on the Chaos Computer Club (CCC)—one of the world’s largest and Europe’s oldest hacker organizations. Despite the longstanding conception of hacking as infused with political significance, the scope and style of hackers’ engagement with emerging issues related to surveillance remains poorly understood. The rationale of this paper is to examine the CCC as a civil society organization that counter-acts contemporary assemblages of surveillance in two ways: first, by de-constructing existing technology and by supporting, building, maintaining and using alternative media technologies and infrastructures that enable more secure and anonymous communication; and second, by articulating their expertise related to contemporary MTI to a wide range of audiences, publics and actors. Highlighting the significance of “privacy” for the health of democracy, I argue that the hacker organization is co-determining “interstitial spaces within information processing practices” (Cohen, 2012, p. 1931), and by doing so is acting on indispensable structural features of contemporary democratic constellations.

Land, Molly K. and Meier, Patrick and Belinsky, Mark and Jacobi, Emily, #ICT4HR: Information and Communication Technologies for Human Rights. World Bank Institute, Nordic Trust Fund, Open Development Technology Alliance, and ICT4Gov, November 2012. Available at SSRN:

New technologies have been heralded as revolutionizing activism and government, providing a means for citizens to engage with others and with their government faster and more simply than ever before. The purpose of this report is to analyze the impact of new technologies on human rights. Using case studies largely from three countries, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Dominican Republic, the report considers both the opportunities and risks presented by new technologies for human rights.

The report concludes there are benefits that can be realized through the deployment of new technologies in human rights projects. New technologies offer the potential to reduce the cost of collecting information about human rights issues and to increase participation in human rights advocacy efforts. Each of these possible benefits, however, gives rise to new risks and challenges. Although new technologies can reduce the cost of information gathering, it can be difficult to ensure the accuracy of the information generated. The involvement of ordinary individuals in collecting information also presents particular challenges for security, because these individuals may lack the necessary training or professional protocols for assessing and taking measures to ensure security. Managing these risks is complicated by a tension between the approaches of human rights and technology experts. For example, the values of the technology field — a willingness to experiment and “to fail, adopt, and iterate” — can be in some tension with the need to develop considered and reasoned security protocols ahead of time. In other words, while hacking is an iterative process, security is not.

The report concludes by presenting several recommendations designed to respond at least in part to the human rights risks identified in the report. The report does not purport to provide a blueprint for all projects seeking to employ new technologies in furtherance of human rights or development goals. The challenges that arise in any particular project will be context specific and beyond the scope of this report. Rather, the report seeks to identify, in a preliminary manner, some of the questions that might be asked at the outset in order to respond to concerns about accuracy, security, and participation.

Landorf, Brittany, “Female Reverberations Online: An Analysis of Tunisian, Egyptian, and Moroccan Female Cyberactivism During the Arab Spring” (2014). International Studies Honors Projects. Paper 20.

Digital technologies and social media networks have the potential to open new platforms for women in the public domain. During the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions, female cyberactivists used digital technologies to participate in and at times led protests. This thesis examines how Tunisian, Egyptian, and Moroccan female cyberactivists deployed social media networks to write a new body politic online. It argues throughout that female activists turned to online activism to disrupt gender relations in their countries and demand social, religious, economic, and political gender parity.

Langman, L. (2005). From Virtual Public Spheres to Global Justice: A Critical Theory of Internetworked Social Movements*. Sociological Theory, 23(1), 42-74.

From the early 1990s when the EZLN (the Zapatistas), led by Subcommandte Marcos, first made use of the Internet to the late 1990s with the defeat of the Multilateral Agreement on Trade and Investment and the anti-WTO protests in Seattle, Quebec, and Genoa, it became evident that new, qualitatively different kinds of social protest movements were emergent. These new movements seemed diffuse and unstructured, yet at the same time, they forged unlikely coalitions of labor, environmentalists, feminists, peace, and global social justice activists collectively critical of the adversities of neoliberal globalization and its associated militarism. Moreover, the rapid emergence and worldwide proliferation of these movements, organized and coordinated through the Internet, raised a number of questions that require rethinking social movement theory. Specifically, the electronic networks that made contemporary globalization possible also led to the emergence of “virtual public spheres” and, in turn, “Internetworked Social Movements.” Social movement theory has typically focused on local structures, leadership, recruitment, political opportunities, and strategies from framing issues to orchestrating protests. While this tradition still offers valuable insights, we need to examine unique aspects of globalization that prompt such mobilizations, as well as their democratic methods of participatory organization and clever use of electronic media. Moreover, their emancipatory interests become obscured by the “objective” methods of social science whose “neutrality” belies a tacit assent to the status quo. It will be argued that the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory offers a multi-level, multi-disciplinary approach that considers the role of literacy and media in fostering modernist bourgeois movements as well as anti-modernist fascist movements. This theoretical tradition offers a contemporary framework in which legitimacy crises are discussed and participants arrive at consensual truth claims; in this process, new forms of empowered, activist identities are fostered and negotiated that impel cyberactivism.

Leach, J., Nafus, D., & Krieger, B. (2009). Freedom imagined: morality and aesthetics in open source software design. Ethnos, 74(1), 51-71.
This paper is about the interaction between the human imagination and technology among a self-described ‘community’: that of developers of Free or Open Source Software. I argue that the moral imagination observable in this phenomenon can be understood with reference to its emergence around specific methods of technical production. Principles of openness, truth, freedom and progress, which are also understood as central to the technical production of good software, are reinforced (as a ethical orientation) by their contribution to making ‘good’ software. A reciprocal dynamic ensues in which better software is seen as dependent on particular social practices and ideologies while these practices and ideologies are given salience by their success in fostering valuable production. Processes key to the generation of this social form are examined before a number of key features of the practice of programming, such as its often combative and individualistic character, and an absence of women in developer communities, are considered in the light of the analysis.

Le Monde, May 2015, Comment Berlin est devenue la capitale des hackers. Publié le 16-05-2015

La capitale allemande est devenue un passage obligé des hackers et activistes du net, en s’imposant comme une anti-Silicon Valley.

Lessig, L. 2004. Free culture: how big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity. New York: Penguin Press.

This is the third book by Stanford law professor Larry Lessig, and the third now in which he furthers his basic theme: that the ancien regime of intellectual property owners is locked in a battle with the capabilities of new technology. Lessig used his first book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (Basic Books, 1999), to explain that the notion of cyberspace as free, open, and anarchic is simply a myth, and a dangerous one at that: the very architecture of our computers and how they communicate determine what one can and cannot do within that environment. If you can get control of that architecture, say by mandating filters on content, you can get substantial control over the culture of that communication space. In his second book, The Future of Ideas: the Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (Random House, 2001), Lessig describes how the change from real property to virtual property actually means more opportunity for control, not less. The theme that he takes up in Free Culture is his concern that certain powerful interests in our society (read: Hollywood) are using copyright law to lock down the very stuff of creativity: mainly, past creativity.

Lessig, L. 2009. “Et tu, KK? (aka, No, Kevin, this is not ‘socialism’),” Lessig Blog (28 May). at

Lewis, S. C., & Usher, N. (2014). Code, collaboration, and the future of journalism: A case study of the Hacks/Hackers global network. Digital Journalism, 2(3), 383-393.

Amid the rise of computational and data-driven forms of journalism, it is important to consider the institutions, interactions, and processes that aim to help the social worlds of journalism and technology come together and collaborate around a common cause of news innovation. This paper examines one of the most prominent such efforts: the transnational grassroots organization called Hacks/Hackers. Through a two-year qualitative case study, we sought to understand just how journalists and technologists would engage through this organization: what kinds of interactions would occur, and what factors might facilitate collaboration? Drawing upon the science and technology studies concept of “trading zones,” we examine how Hacks/Hackers functions as an informal and transitory trading zone through which journalists and technologists can casually meet and coordinate. The level of engagement between the two groups, we found, depends on a set of social and structural factors, including institutional support and the leadership of key volunteers, and the depth of that engagement depends on sufficient mutual understanding among journalists and hackers. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the challenges and opportunities presented through the intersection of journalism and technology.

Lim, M. (2013) Framing Bouazizi: ‘White lies’, hybrid network, and collective/connective action in the 2010–11 Tunisian uprising. Journalism, 14(7), 921-941.

By delving into the detailed account of the Tunisian uprising, this article offers an explanation that sets the 2010 uprising apart from its precursors. The 2010 uprising was successful because activists successfully managed to bridge geographical and class divides as well as to converge offline and online activisms. Such connection and convergence were made possible, first, through the availability of dramatic visual evidence that turned a local incident into a spectacle. Second, by successful frame alignment with a master narrative that culturally and politically resonated with the entire population. Third, by activating a hybrid network made of the connective structures to facilitate collective action – among Tunisians who shared collective identities and collective frames – and connective action – among individuals who sought more personalized paths to contribute to the movement through digital media. Activism, Arab Spring, Bouazizi, collective action, framing, networks, social media, social movement, Tunisia

Löblich, M. (2015). Dissent and Political Participation: The Many Faces of Communication Policy Advocacy and Activism. Communication, Culture & Critique.

This article deals with dissent among political civil society organizations in communication policy. The research question is why these organizations ended up being on different sides of the debate on rules regarding net neutrality in the United States. Rationales, goals, routines, and resources are examined based on Anthony Giddens’s theory of structuration. This study focuses on the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet proceeding, and draws on interviews with 13 organizations and document analyses. A group portrait, a typology, and influencing factors provide information as to why different priorities were attributed to net neutrality and why this concept did not become a unifying theme among civil advocacy and activist organizations.

A typology helped to identify the different positions in the Open Internet proceeding. Criteria for type construction were developed during data analysis (Kluge, 2000). The importance of net neutrality rules for organizations was chosen as one criterion, and organizations’ core concerns as second. The first criterion aimed to address the research question, while the second criterion was selected because organizations distinguished themselves through their core concern for either media structures or social structures. The importance of net neutrality rules was rated on one of three levels (important, neither important nor unimportant, unimportant). The core concern was labeled either as “media structure,” “both media structures and social structures,” or “social structures.” Some organizations were exclusively engaged in changing media structures, some saw changing social structures as linked to changing media and communication structures, and others’ core concerns were social structures and media were only one issue among many others. These two criteria created an attribute space (Kluge, 2000) by which organizations were grouped in four types (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Attribute Space. Note. The Believers: Open Technology Institute, Free Press, Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, The Mobilizers: Media Action Grassroots Network, Center for Rural Strategies, United Church of Christ/Office of Communication, National Hispanic Media Coalition; The Reframers: League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Asian American Justice Center, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council; The Cyber Enthusiast: Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Cyber Enthusiast

This type consists of the EFF. The EFF is not a DC insider, did not deeply participate in the Open Internet proceeding, and did not support the FCC’s proposed rules. At first glance, its objection was surprising, because in 2007 the digital liberties’ organization, together with the Associated Press, revealed that Comcast had been secretly interfering with bit-torrent traffic (Lasar, 2010). The EFF’s legal director believes that the “Internet needs to be dumb pipes,” yet she was “not happy with the solutions” proposed by the FCC. In its comment to the proceeding, the EFF contested the FCC’s statutory authority and feared “unprecedented overreach […] also in a host of other areas” (EFF, 2010, p. 7).

The EFF was founded in 1990 to protect free expression in the digital realm against state surveillance. It regards the government as a major threat to communications rights on the Internet (EFF, n.d.). The organization is rooted in cyber-libertarian enthusiasm. Its mistrust in the political system in general—the legal director described the U.S. congress as “completely broken”—and in the net neutrality rules in particular has to do with Silicon Valley, where the organization has a large portion of its membership. In its early years, the EFF had its headquarters on the East Coast, but soon moved to California and became a “litigation shop.” The “pressure to sell out four things in order to get one thing is very great if you are a DC player,” explained the legal director. The response to the EFF’s policy work inside the Beltway represented “a very clear answer” by its members. The legal director reported that the “set of values out here [in the Bay Area]” are very different than on the East Coast (see Turner, 2005). Against this background, it is not surprising that the group has been particularly concerned about innovators and content creators (EFF, 2010).

Loveluck, B. (2015). Internet, une société contre l’Etat? Libéralisme informationnel et économies politiques de l’auto-organisation en régime numérique. Réseaux. Communication-technologie-société, (192), 35p.

L’informatique en réseau a souvent été présentée comme un instrument favorisant l’auto-organisation de la société civile, à partir de modes alternatifs de distribution du pouvoir et de coordination des activités. L’histoire d’internet, abordée du point de vue de l’histoire des idées, montre que de telles propriétés ont donné lieu à la formation d’une véritable philosophie politique que nous avons appelée le libéralisme informationnel. Celle-ci a vu différents modèles d’économie politique s’affronter ; nous en présentons ici le mouvement général ainsi que les divergences internes. Nous terminons par un exposé de trois grandes formes de gouvernementalité qui en sont issues, et qui ouvrent à une critique de l’économie politique en régime numérique : la captation, la dissémination et l’auto-institution.

Ludlow, Peter. 2001. Crypto anarchy, cyberstates, and pirate utopias. MIT Press.

Peter Ludlow extends the approach he used so successfully in High Noon on the Electronic Frontier, offering a collection of writings that reflects the eclectic nature of the online world, as well as its tremendous energy and creativity. This time the subject is the emergence of governance structures within online communities and the visions of political sovereignty shaping some of those communities. Ludlow views virtual communities as laboratories for conducting experiments in the construction of new societies and governance structures. While many online experiments will fail, Ludlow argues that given the synergy of the online world, new and superior governance structures may emerge. Indeed, utopian visions are not out of place, provided that we understand the new utopias to be fleeting localized “islands in the Net” and not permanent institutions.

The book is organized in five sections. The first section considers the sovereignty of the Internet. The second section asks how widespread access to resources such as Pretty Good Privacy and anonymous remailers allows the possibility of “Crypto Anarchy”—essentially carving out space for activities that lie outside the purview of nation states and other traditional powers. The third section shows how the growth of e-commerce is raising questions of legal jurisdiction and taxation for which the geographic boundaries of nation-states are obsolete. The fourth section looks at specific experimental governance structures evolved by online communities. The fifth section considers utopian and anti-utopian visions for cyberspace. Contributors: Richard Barbrook, John Perry Barlow, William E. Baugh Jr., David S. Bennahum, Hakim Bey, David Brin, Andy Cameron, Dorothy E. Denning, Mark Dery, Kevin Doyle, Duncan Frissell, Eric Hughes, Karrie Jacobs, David Johnson, Peter Ludlow, Timothy C. May, Jennifer L. Mnookin, Nathan Newman, David G. Post, Jedediah S. Purdy, Charles J. Stivale

Lynch, L. (2010). ““We’re Going to Crack the World Open”: Wikileaks and the future of investigative reporting,” Journalism Practice, 4(3): 309-318.

This paper considers the current and future role played by the document-leaking site Wikileaks in the process of investigative journalism, by analyzing the way in which Wikileaks has articulated its own relationship with the press and then detailing how reporters have actually discovered and used the site. My research shows that Wikileaks is used both as a regular destination and as a one-time source for leaked material; additionally, it is increasingly used as a repository for leaked documents that are removed from print and online media outlets through legal action. I argue Wikileaks represents perhaps the most extreme of a number of new Web-based interventions into the troubled climate for investigative reporting, and might usefully be seen less as an “outlier” than as on the far end of continuum.

About the author of this bibliography

Dr John Postill is Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University, Melbourne, and Digital Anthropology Fellow at University College London (UCL). His publications include Localizing the Internet (2011), Media and Nation Building (2006) and the co-edited volume Theorising Media and Practice (2010, with Birgit Bräuchler). Currently he is conducting anthropological research on new forms of digital activism and civic engagement in Indonesia, Spain and globally. He is also writing a book on the connection between techno-politics and new citizen movements around the world, as well as the co-edited volume Theorising Media and Change (with Elisenda Ardèvol and Sirpa Tenhunen). His Twitter handle is @JohnPostill

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