Securing Technologies of Freedom after the Arab Spring: Policy Entrepreneurship and Norms Consolidation Practices in Internet Freedom Promotion
Hussain, Muzammil Mohamed
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This dissertation is an investigation of the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests of 2011-2012 and their consequences for impacting contemporary discussions and efforts to promote "internet freedom" by Western democratic states. This study focuses on the key stakeholder communities that have emerged to compete, define, and consolidate the norms and frameworks surrounding internet freedom promotion: state-based, private sector, and civil society actors. This dissertation also describes the rise and failed attempt of civil society stakeholders to infuse democratically-oriented frames for approaching digital infrastructure management with the primary interests of protecting citizen rights and political activists in autocratic states. The political economy of global digital infrastructure regulation is also examined, and the positions of state-based and private sector influences within it are articulated. In doing so, this study identifies a key tech-savvy community of practice that has delineated the most comprehensive opportunities and pitfalls of using digital media tools for democracy promotion, and is struggling to consolidate and enact these practices and norms into policy frameworks. However, these efforts are cast against the competing interests of the technology providers in colluding with repressive and democratic state powers to provide functionally equivalent anti-democratic technocratic capabilities. Thus, this story is parts network analysis, part policy analysis, and part event analysis. Throughout, the proto-regime formation approach to technology policy is emphasized in contrast to existing state-sponsored telecommunications regulatory bodies.
- Communications 
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