By Ricky Cortez

I recently read an article published on Foreign Policy magazine’s website about how the Internet would bring freedom and peace to an entirely new level globally.  However, what Evgeny Morozov argues in the article is that it only creates a microcosm of our ethnocentric communities at large. Globally we are fighting for the right of a censorship free Internet.  We have seen censorship as a reoccurring theme from the advent of print, to our televised media and now in the culmination of all digital media on the Internet.

Yes, many people with similar goals of peace have found each other but so have the destroyers of peace and human rights.  Activists on both sides of the coin have found groups that would support their ideas, albeit good or bad.  There is a saying: “It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch.” It seems these bad apples are finding themselves on the Internet.  Where once they may have been far and few between, the Internet has brought them together to create greater negative effects than could have been possible before.

The World Wide Web has shown us the horrors that are out there.  Though I do not think it is necessarily a bad thing.  Knowledge is power and now we see how much farther we have to go to achieve a peaceful world we all can live in.

I encourage you to read the article on Foreign Policy’s website.

In my web browsing and cyber-peace fighting experience I have seen a greater shift for good with the advent of Facebook Causes, for example.  There are still ways for destroyers of peace to find a place on the Internet, but they are also counterbalanced by peacekeepers as they are in the physical world.  Sometimes it becomes a series of two steps forward then one step back but, in the end, I believe we have the ability to spread cyber-peace. That is, only if our great nations allow us this freedom.

Ricky Cortez is the IT Coordinator at WITNESS. 

2 thoughts on “The Internet as a Peacekeeper?

  1. The Internet is an incredibly powerful tool in the Court of Public Opinion, which in turn helps people on the ground. We The People now have a personal outlet directly to things we support or oppose. The traditional media is by and large controlled by the very interests we seek to expose, so that outlet is no longer viable. The article simply stated that the Internet has just made a large world even larger and everything is accessible and therefore bad things can somehow spiral out of control. I disagree with this. We all have a choice as to where we want to spend our time. I find that people who receive their news from "trusted" sources such as CNNABCCBS, etc. are very ignorant of what's really happening in the world, where as those who see a site like Wikileaks get a chance to see the harsh reality of stories that are watered down or not reported on at all by the major media. It's hard to stamp out a story once it's been viewed a million times in 2 days.

  2. Agreed. Though as with any new technology, humanity is an essential component. All technology can be used for wrong or right; to spread liberty or curtail it further. The internet is one tool among many in the struggle for peace. We should recognize its limitations and refrain from lazily hailing the internet as the be-all, end-all of the fight for justice.

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