Consent of the Networked: The World-Wide Struggle for Internet Freedom

Consent of the Networked: The World-Wide Struggle for Internet Freedom

Consent of the Networked: The World-Wide Struggle for Internet Freedom

Consent of the Networked: The World-Wide Struggle for Internet Freedom

Excerpt

On March 5, 2011, protesters stormed the Egyptian state security headquarters. In real time on Twitter, activists shared their discoveries with the world as they moved through a building that had until recently been one of the Mubarak regime’s largest torture facilities. Videos and photos uploaded to YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook showed a flurry of young men (and a few women) opening doors and cabinets, sifting through piles of shredded paper, pulling out stacks of files, and examining pieces of equipment. Some were implements of torture.

“Entered the small compound where I was locked,” tweeted Hossam el-Hamalawy, a thirty-three-year-old journalist and activist who had been detained and tortured several times since they first picked him up as a student activist thirteen years ago. Returning home a few hours later, he told his followers, “I’ve been crying hysterically today.”

Some activists found their own files. They were full of wiretap transcripts, reams of printouts of intercepted e-mails and mobile messages. All kinds of records had been kept about them: lurid details of divorces and personal relationships; all their past job applications; foreign organizations they had communicated with; international meetings they had attended. Clearly the Egyptian government had sophisticated surveillance technology at its disposal. It still does.

Wael Ghonim, the young Google executive and a hero of the Egyptian revolution for his role in creating and running the Facebook protest group that played a key role in getting the first wave of protesters into . . .

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