Network shutdowns impacting an entire country are now almost non-existent, but the practice of shutting down communications in certain cities or areas of a country, or suspending certain services continues globally. This has happened over the past decade or so for a variety of reasons, sometimes due to national security concerns but also to prevent the organisation of protests or the spread of civil unrest.
IPO Affiliate Sarah Logan investigates the international expansion of one of China’s biggest internet technology companies, Baidu, using Baidu’s recent attempted expansion into Vietnam as a test case and taking a mixed methods approach. This paper contributes a new area of research on the geopolitical associations of internet technology platforms to existing studies of the social, political implication of information technology. It adds to studies of the state in cyberspace by showing that, at least for Chinese companies in Vietnam, the state is embodied in perceptions of the platform, even outside the state’s physical borders: the company itself is ‘bordered.’
This reflection on the report “Benchmarking Public Demand for Internet Freedom: Russia’s Appetite for Internet Control,” seeks to argue that protecting internet freedom is not possible without a shift in public opinion. Using Russian examples, Asmolov suggests that public opinion concerning internet regulation is a function of whether the online communications environment is perceived as dangerous–giving officials a chance to play an instrumental role in fostering a sense of peril online and fomenting an “internet as threat” narrative in the minds of the public.
This report explores the Russian public demand for internet freedom. Produced by Erik Nisbet with the Center for Global Communication Studies and the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, the study seeks to uncover attitudes and opinions about internet regulation, censorship of online content, and the potential for citizen mobilization and protest.