Cartographies of digital dissidence: Networked movements, Internet laws, and Internet Ungovernance Forums in Turkey and Brazil
Networked movements play a critical role in resisting political intimidation. Two such mobilizations that coincided in June 2013, Turkey’s Gezi Resistance and Brazil’s Vinegar Uprising, illustrate the tactical and strategic utilization of the Internet. Tellingly, Internet laws were amended in the aftermath of both events. While Turkey’s law took the direction toward an authoritarian digital geography for its user-citizens, Brazil’s Marco Civil da Internet, first seen as an ideal legal text, did not circumvent commercialization of the local network. While Internet laws were amended in the light of digital capacities revealed by networked movements, Internet Governance Forums — held in Turkey in 2014 and Brazil in 2015 — similarly aimed to dispose of digital dissidence, staging an uncanny alliance between transnational digital platforms and local central authorities. In response, counter-events occurred in Turkey and Brazil, entitled ‘Ungovernance Forums’. Though the Internet has been celebrated as a democratic architecture of information governed by universal protocols, this paper sheds light on how digital dissidents have been trapped in a tension between governance of the Internet and jurisdictional claims of nation states over their digital geographies. Lost in the popular discourse of the Internet providing a self-governing platform for social communication, have we missed the opportunity to imagine a future? Are we faced with the prospect of a hyper-securitized Internet that instead produces cartographies of authoritarian control that promise not a distributed and generative milieu but the very opposite?
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