Emerging Issues in Internet Regulation: The Unstable Role of Wikileaks and Cyber-Vigilantism
RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON INTERNET GOVERNANCE, Ian Brown, ed., Edward Elgar, 2012
OII/ICS Symposium, 'A Decade in Internet Time', September 24, 2011
13 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2011 Last revised: 3 Jan 2013
Date Written: September 23, 2011
This paper outlines the emerging issues in internet regulation introduced by distributed organizations and cyber-vigilantism: notably, the contributions of WikiLeaks and Anonymous to the problematics of internet governance through an uneven disruption of the power held by existing institutions including the state, but also the mass media. Drawing on Christopher Kelty's (2004) observation that persuasive arguments can be made both through language and by technology, it examines how existing definitions of governance, which are often focused on rule-making, engage with this broader set of 'arguments-by-technology' and what the consequences of these new arguments might be. It concludes that WikiLeaks as an exploit of the features of cyberlocker technology and Anonymous' cyber-vigilantism destabilize the historical arguments linking features of internet technology with political features and introduce more nuanced possibilities, including the ability of activist organizations to discredit state-level actors and to influence the process of media production.
Keywords: internet governance, digital activism, WikiLeaks, Anonymous, media power, new media power
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