Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Consent of the Networked

I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Rebecca MacKinnon's book Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom, which is being released January 31st. The book's summary moves the debate about if internet can shape policy and spur increased freedoms to how the internet can attain these ends. It seems as though the book will discuss how citizens need to defend their liberties and rights on the internet in the same way one would do through a rally or protest offline. MacKinnon relates web users to "netizens" - a term I used often in my thesis - which are people who act like citizens of the internet "and take ownership and responsibility for [their] digital future." To find out more about this upcoming book, or to pre-order, visit the book's official website.

MacKinnon, whom I referenced in my thesis, became a role model of mine as I wrote it. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, MacKinnon has worked extensively in China as a journalist and correspondent. She founded Global Voices Online, an "international citizen media network" and works to research and document how the internet shapes global policy and freedom of expression. She even testified in front of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on "China’s Information Control Practices and the Implications for the United States" and is considered an expert in Chinese internet censorship.

One post written by MacKinnon on her blog RConversation greatly inspired my thesis and research. While my adviser and I made connections between the modern movements and actions taken by netizens utilizing the Human Flesh Search Engine, MacKinnon drew a strong parallel between these cyber-vigilantes and the Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution. In her post titled "From Red Guards to Cyber-Vigilantism to Where Next?", MacKinnon likens Red Guards of the past who targeted members of the bureaucracy to Chinese netizens who have recently been targeting corrupt officials through the internet, leading to quite a few sackings.

For more information on the Human Flesh Search Engine being utilized to end corruption, I urge you to visit my thesis above where I discuss the search engine and corruption, or visit the Instances section above for concise snippets.

No comments:

Post a Comment