‘In the end, the Internet is simply an effective tool for connecting people. Whether the network becomes a force for good or evil is up to its users.’
In the early days of the Arab Spring, Wael Ghonim declared, “If you want to liberate a society, just give them the Internet.”
Ghonim, a well-known Egyptian activist at the center of the Cairo protests, shouldn’t have stopped there. Just giving a society the Internet isn’t enough to set it free.
As pro-democracy and social justice movements have taken root on the Web, they’ve been challenged by official efforts to remake networks into tools of censorship and exclusion.
In Ghonim’s Egypt, the protesters’ optimism about the Internet after the fall of President Mubarak has plummeted under the current Sisi regime, which has silenced dissident voices in online media and imprisoned dozens of journalists.
In 2014, Egypt’s Interior Ministry drafted legislation to censor…
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