From Manchester to Barcelona

For a long time, a certain set of assumptions dominated our digital imagination. These assumptions should be familiar enough. Information wants to be free. Anything that connects people is good. The government is bad. The internet is another world, where the old rules don’t apply. The internet is a place of individual freedom, which is above all the freedom to express oneself.

Such ideas were never 100 percent hegemonic, of course. They were always contested, with varying degrees of success. Governments, for one, found several ways to assert their sovereignty over online spaces. Scholars sounded the alarm on the rise of the white supremacist web — the notorious neo-Nazi site Stormfront launched in 1996 — and presciently observed that the internet’s connectivity could also make the world worse.

Source: From Manchester to Barcelona

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