No one will soon forget the Arab Spring, in which social media played a major role in the fall of governments in Egypt and Libya, with others still on the precipice. Those with even better memories will recall Twitter’s importance in the suppressed uprising in Iran in 2009. And this past summer, David Cameron, the U.K.’s prime minister, accused social media of being a contributing factor in the London riots. Without question, in the past five years social media have become critical to communicating and uniting a populace, whether it is engaged in championing freedom or perpetrating crimes. In response, some governments deny access and effectively turn off social media when times get tough.
The problem is that when they shut down Facebook and its brethren, they also shut down e-commerce. It’s a Hobson’s choice. It also seems clear that governments that censor the Internet during domestic uprisings have seen mixed results. It remains unclear if such actions are effective or if they simply incite citizens to fight harder.
Read the full article "On the Internet, Can Freedom Go Too Far?" at law.com.