The Internet doesn't bring freedom. Not automatically, anyway.
That's one of the main messages of Rebecca MacKinnon's new book, Consent of the Networked, which had its New York launch at the offices of the New America Foundation last night. In a conversation with CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker, MacKinnon, a CPJ board member, said it's up to concerned citizens, governments, and corporations to make decisions about how the Internet is used. She contrasted the Twitter-powered revolt in Egypt last year with the "networked authoritarianism" of China, where corporations are collaborators in a system designed to preserve Communist Party rule.
Here's a quick pointer to an insightful Wall Street Journal op-ed about Internet freedom from CPJ board member (and former CNN colleague) Rebecca MacKinnon. She's based in Washington these days, a Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the New America Foundation, so she has plenty to say about inside the Beltway funding issues. But she's even more insightful on the growing global pressure on Internet journalists and activists and tactics to help them.
The WSJ piece confronts issues that CPJ deals with regularly, and not just in Asia. MacKinnon's Internet-related work ever since she left CNN has been mandatory reading for anyone interested in these issues, and over the years she's broadened her area of concentration well beyond the China focus she had while working from Hong Kong.