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Authoritarian Rule in the Digital Age: The Internet’s Challenges and Benefits to State Power

Cyber Politics
Policy Analysis
Internet
Social Media
Power
State Power
Technology
P023
Marcus Michaelsen
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Arne Hintz
Cardiff University
Oisin Tansey
Kings College London

Friday 14:00 - 15:40 (08/09/2017)

Building: BL20 Helga Engs hus Floor: 2 Room: HE 232

Abstract

The prominent role played by digital media during the protest movements of the Arab uprisings has raised enormous attention to the internet’s effects on the stability and perseverance of authoritarian rule. Authoritarian regimes worldwide, however, have responded by building increasingly sophisticated systems of internet control and regulation. Moreover, they use digital communication technologies to their own advantage for purposes of propaganda and surveillance. This panel analyzes how contemporary authoritarian regimes adapt to the challenges of the internet and appropriate it to their benefit. The presented papers not only put the dynamics of online protest mobilization under authoritarian rule under closer scrutiny but also investigate the emergence of authoritarian internet controls and their transnational diffusion, the use of commercial surveillance software, and the shaping of public opinion through disinformation. Among the countries and regions examined are Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Malaysia. Methods include network traffic and software analytics as well as process tracing, content analysis and qualitative case-studies. Presenting original and innovative approaches, the panel provides an important contribution to our understanding of the relationship between current forms of authoritarian power and digital communication technologies.
Title Details
Information Security and Authoritarian Stability: Diversity and Convergence in the Former Soviet Region View Paper Details
Watching the Watchers: Commercial Surveillance and Public Scrutiny View Paper Details
Authoritarian Resilience and Internet Controls in Iran View Paper Details
How Iranian Green Movement Activists Perceive and Respond to Online Repression View Paper Details