Authoritarian regimes learned to fear the rise of the internet because it spurred an online community who encouraged information sharing relatively free from government oversight. However, the West—the creator of the internet—is retreating from openness in cyberspace because of strong arguments made by defense specialists about cyber vulnerabilities and because of cyber meddling by foreign actors, most clearly the Russian Government. This article argues that combatting the rise of authoritarianism, particularly in Russia, requires embracing the strategic advantages openness provides for democracy. The article outlines the ordeal of “cyber rebellions” across the globe and closes with a discussion about the dangers of bowing to pressure to create borders in cyberspace, pointing out that inspiring a retreat from openness is precisely the intent of the authoritarian regimes who most fear it.
Date of Publication
Flynn, Matthew J. “Cyber Rebellions: The Online Struggle for Openness.” Journal of International Affairs, vol. 71, no. 1.5, 2018, pp. 107–114.