How to Ignite, or Quash, a Revolution in 140 Characters or Less

The Promise and Limitations of New Technologies in Spreading Democracy

FutureTense with ASU/New America/Slate

FutureTense with ASU/New America/Slate

Do the Internet and social media empower Big Brother or individuals in autocratic regimes, or do they offer a rare level playing field? This year’s Arab Spring resurrected exuberant claims for the role of new technologies in spreading democracy. At the same time self-proclaimed “cyber-realists” were quick to point out that President Mubarak’s problems seemed to grow after he unplugged the Internet. Now, summer’s deadly stalemate in Syria has given pause to anyone peddling absolute theories about the interplay between new information technologies and revolution.   If not a panacea, how can social media and the Internet be deployed to maximize civic engagement in autocratic societies? Does the U.S. policy of supporting Internet freedom amount to a policy of regime change in some countries? When Big Brother does unplug the Internet, what can, or should, the rest of us do about it?

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2:00 pm – Reflecting on the Tunisian Hair Trigger

Sami Ben Gharbia (from Tunisia) Co-founder, nawaat.org Advocacy Director, Global Voices Steve Coll President New America Foundation

2:20 pm – Internet Freedom and Human Rights: The Obama Administration’s Perspective

Michael H. Posner Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor U.S. Department of State Moderator Jacob Weisberg Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Slate Group

2:50 pm – Friending Revolutions: Social Media and Political Change in Egypt and Beyond

Merlyna Lim Professor, Consortium of Science, Policy and Outcomes and the School of Social Transformation – Justice and Social Inquiry Program Arizona State University

3:10 pm – How the Arab Spring Begat a Deadly Summer

Oula Alrifai Syrian Youth Activist Ahmed Al Omran Blogger, Saudijeans.org Andrew J. Tabler Next Generation Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy Author, In the Lion’s Den: An Eyewitness Account of  Washington’s Battle Moderator Katherine Zoepf Schwartz Fellow, New America Foundation Contributor, New York Times

4:00 pm - Myths, Realities, and Inconvenient Truths of the Internet

Rebecca MacKinnon Senior Schwartz Fellow, New America Foundation Co-founder, Global Voices Online

4:30 pm – The View from Havana

Yoani Sanchez (via video) Blogger, desdecuba.com Human Rights Activist

4:45 pm – Internet Freedom’s Next Frontiers?

Omid Memarian Journalist Recipient, 2005 Human Rights Defender Award, Human Rights Watch Mary Jo Porter English Translator for Yoani Sanchez and other Cuban bloggers Co-founder, hemosoido.com and translatingcuba.com Marcus Noland Deputy Director, Peterson Institute for International Economics Author, Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea Moderator Andrés Martinez Co-Director, Future Tense Initiative Director, Bernard L. Schwartz Fellows Program, New America Foundation

5:20 pm – Bypassing the Master Switch

Sascha Meinrath Director, Open Technology Initiative New America Foundation Ian Schuler Senior Program Manager, Internet Freedoms Program U.S. Department of State Moderator Robert Wright Future Tense Fellow, New America Foundation Author, Nonzero, The Moral Animal, and The Evolution of God

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