China, the Internet, Power, Knowledge

“The internet in China is, in many ways, a wonderful map of contention in society. It brings to the fore fissures, splits and forms of diversity we never used to see. The bland statement that China is 1.3 billion people lined up behind one particular view point was always suspicious. Now we have the proof. China is like a carnival of opinions. The internet maps this wonderful diversity.”

I’ve just read this in an article by Kerry Brown about the influence of the Snowden scandal on the Obama-Xi informal meeting, held during the last weekend (you can find it here). What has recently happened with the information Snowden has leaked out of the NSA can give an idea of the amount of power that is attached to the internet. Brown’s comment got me thinking about the infiniteness of amazing and interesting possibilities which can emerge from such an astounding power when it is turned to (mutual) knowledge rather than controlling aims. The worldwide-web is an incredible non-violent weapon. As the Snowden case demonstrates, it enables us to discover and expose the attempts of those who want to turn the web itself into an instrument of control.

But not only that. If used properly, the internet gives us the chance to get in touch and understand far away realities (just as Brown described) thus preventing misconceptions and diffidence.

With power comes responsibility, though. So BE RESPONSIBLE, oh you internet users.

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