How to control the Internet: Comparative political implications of the Internet's engineering

Steven Lloyd Wilson


The spread of the Internet has had a profound impact on the social sciences, but understanding of how the engineering realities of the Internet’s construction shape its political effects still lags. This article presents a framework and rich examples from multiple countries in order to describe how national differences in the implementation of the Internet cause different strategic calculations by political actors. This paper’s goal is to provide a starting point for social scientists to treat the Internet as a strategic construction of regime and people, rather than a technical black box.


Internet; Cross-Country; Democratization; Authoritarian

Full Text:



A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2020. ISSN 1396-0466.