In the introduction, Morozov defines The Google Doctrine as “the enthusiastic belief in the liberating power of technology accompanied by the irresistible urge to enlist Silicon Valley start-ups in the global fight for freedom” and in Chapter 1 he expands on this thesis. He discusses the “Twitter Revolution” in Iran – and claims that the fixation on Twitter during that time was overblown, and also that the Google Doctrine backfired, as these technology companies were easily painted by autocrats as being too closely aligned with US interests, rather than authentic expressions of popular outrage.
He also notes that some of these corporations that democracy promoters are depending on have refused to join the Global Network Initiative (GNI) or have other privacy concerns (a la Google).
Another point that Morozov stresses is that he is NOT anti-Internet. In fact, he embraces it – but warns that the simple assumption that better technology will necessarily lead to more open societies and democratic governments is both wrong and dangerous.
Questions for discussion:
1) During the Arab Spring, there was plenty of focus on what technologies activists were using (and governments were subverting) in various countries. Did we again fall prey to The Google Doctrine, ignoring internal factors in favor of focusing on new gadgets/technologies?
2) And yet censorship efforts *did* seem to backfire on governments in Egypt and Tunisia (although less so elsewhere). What does this say about those regimes’ responses to the focus on Web 2.0?
3) Is there a danger in farming out policy to for-profit corporations? Or is it the only logical way to proceed given the realities of the Internet in 2011?
Chapter 1 – The Google Doctrine
Chapter 2 – Texting Like It’s 1989
Chapter 3 – Orwell’s Favorite Lolcat
Chapter 4 – Censors and Sensibilities
Chapter 5 – Hugo Chavez Would Like to Welcome You to the Spinternet
Chapter 6 – Why the KGB Wants You to Join Facebook
Chapter 7 – Why Kierkegaard Hates Slacktivism
Chapter 8 – Open Networks, Narrow Minds
Chapter 9 – Internet Freedoms and Their Consequences
Chapter 10 – Making History (More Than a Browser Menu)
Chapter 11 – The Wicked Fix