Does the Web Hinder Democracy?

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It's counterintuitive, but could a free Internet actually aid authoritarianism? Richard MacManus thinks so. At ReadWriteWeb, he draws on the work of blogger Evgeny Morozov to suggest that the tweeting of activists in the "Iran Twitter protests of June of 2009" actually helped the Iranian government gather intelligence. Activists' networking was out in the open for the government to observe and act upon. The main argument:

While the Web promotes freedom of expression, at the same time it enables authoritarian regimes to monitor their citizens and identify troublemakers.

Meanwhile, others suggest the Internet could also make people more passive, functioning as "the new opium for the masses." Is the Web actually a handicap for democratic movements?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.