The Great Debate

Social media and the new Cold War

By Philip N. Howard
August 1, 2012

There is a new Cold War starting. It does not involve opposing military forces, but it does involve competing ideas about how political life should be organized. The battles are between broadcast media outlets and social-media upstarts, which have very different approaches to news production, ownership and censorship. And some of the biggest battles are in Russia, where the ruling elites that dominate broadcast media are pitted against the civil society groups that flourish through social media.

from Paul Smalera:

Twitter’s censorship is a gray box of shame, but not for Twitter

January 29, 2012

Twitter’s announcement this week that it was going to enable country-specific censorship of posts is arousing fury around the Internet. Commentators, activists, protesters and netizens have said it’s “very bad news” and claim to be “#outraged”. Bianca Jagger, for one, asked how to go about boycotting Twitter, on Twitter, according to the New York Times. (Step one might be... well, never mind.) The critics have settled on #TwitterBlackout: all day on Saturday the 28th, they promised to not tweet, as a show of protest and solidarity with those who might be censored.

As a biological weapon, H5N1 is for the birds

By Peter Christian Hall
January 9, 2012

By Peter Christian Hall
The opinions expressed are his own.

Amid the furor over the U.S. government’s move to restrict publication of vital research into H5N1 avian flu, no one seems to be challenging a key assumption—that H5N1 could make a useful weapon. It wouldn’t.

Stopping the Stop Online Piracy Act

By Nancy Scola
December 28, 2011

Now that Congress has hit pause on its controversial Stop Online Piracy Act and nearly every argument about the merits and failings of the piece of copyright legislation has been made, it’s a good time to ask: what, in 2012, will it take to actually stop a bill like this?

from David Rohde:

China’s newest export: Internet censorship

By David Rohde
November 17, 2011
BEIJING -- This great city is the epicenter of a geopolitical battle over cyberspace, who controls it, and who defines its rights and freedoms. China’s 485 million web users are the world’s largest online population. And the Chinese government has developed the world’s most advanced Internet censorship and surveillance system to police their activity. 

China’s Web filtering starts in the West

By Eric Auchard
July 1, 2009

Eric Auchard– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Advancing global Internet freedom

March 3, 2009

Leslie Harris – Leslie Harris is the president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, DC. The views expressed are her own. —