Welcome to the age of digital repression

Posted by K R on

Donald Trump calls for “closing that Internet up” due to the rise of Islamic extremism, Hillary Clinton says the same thing, just a bit more diplomatically, asking the great disrupters to go to work disrupting the so-called Islamic State. Given that it is impossible to shut down the Internet in the United States, even if Russian submarines were to cut transatlantic cables, this move by Trump to enter the arena of information security demonstrates one of the most pernicious challenges in our digital era: the rise of cyber repression. Even The New York Times is exploring challenging the First Amendment in the age of digital extremism, which suggests Trump’s ideas are not at all fringe. While the actions of the Islamic State and other malicious actors online pose security problems, especially in their ability help recruit and promote offensive ideologies, the rush to react to this threat may harm civil liberties, or as Trump says “oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.” The great hope of the Internet as a path to digital freedom has quickly given way to the reality of the structural control imposed by states on activists in cyberspace. The danger posed by digital threats is not severe enough to warrant a challenge to the freedoms and liberties inherent in Western political ideologies. There has been a precipitous rise in malicious hacking but it is not exhibited between states, rather it is from within them by governments seeking to maintain control over their populations. There is increasing utilization of cyber technology to silence dissent, often in direct contradiction with human rights law. The dramatic rise of digital control by the state is a development that has been relatively overlooked by both mainstream media and the United Nations compared to the concern exhibited for the as of yet mythical cyberwar. Read More: Quartz

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