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The Internet of Elsewhere

The Internet of Elsewhere: The Emergent Effects of a Wired World

Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    The Internet of Elsewhere
    Book Description:

    Through the lens of culture,The Internet of Elsewherelooks at the role of the Internet as a catalyst in transforming communications, politics, and economics. Cyrus Farivar explores the Internet's history and effects in four distinct and, to some, surprising societies-Iran, Estonia, South Korea, and Senegal. He profiles Web pioneers in these countries and, at the same time, surveys the environments in which they each work. After all, contends Farivar, despite California's great success in creating the Internet and spawning companies like Apple and Google, in some areas the United States is still years behind other nations.

    Surprised?You won't be for long as Farivar proves there are reasons that:

    Skype was invented in Estonia-the same country that developed a digital ID system and e-voting;Iran was the first country in the world to arrest a blogger, in 2003;South Korea is the most wired country on the planet, with faster and less expensive broadband than anywhere in the United States;Senegal may be one of sub-Saharan Africa's best chances for greater Internet access.The Internet of Elsewherebrings forth a new complex and modern understanding of how the Internet spreads globally, with both good and bad effects.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5078-7
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)

    I have just finished reading this book. It is an amazing amalgam of history, despair, triumph of the human spirit, and close-up glimpses of the complex fabric of social, political, and technological revolution. Written through a framework of countries where change has come despite all odds, it takes the reader into cultures that have absorbed, adapted, and altered the Internet fabric to fit their unique contexts.

    I had the pleasure of meeting the author of this book, Cyrus Farivar, at a conference called LIFT, in 2009. I enjoyed our give and take in an interview, but until I read this...

    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)

    One week after the Iranian presidential election I found myself sitting alone at my friend Veljo Haamer’s desk. I scoured the Internet for information about Iran. The country had been essentially at a standstill and the foreign media expelled as the government clamped down on what little free speech remained. Occasionally, I sipped from my Estonian lager and stared out his second-story window. I watched the hours-long summer twilight burning through Haamer’s curtainless east-facing windows. On that night, I was alone, as Haamer had gone to visit his father in the eastern countryside, near the Russian border.

    Veljo Haamer is...

  6. 1 South Korea
    (pp. 16-70)

    The Yongsan district is a nexus of modern Seoul. It has a high-speed rail stop, a major subway station, the older Yongsan Electronics Market across the tracks, and its newer cousin inside the station’s shopping mall. Here, one can buy anything that plugs in. However, the most unique feature of Yongsan is perched on the seventh floor of the expansive I’Park Mall, adjacent to the electronics market. There, all by itself, sits the eSports Stadium. The rooftop patio between the elevator and the entrance to the stadium is cold, plain, and quiet. There are none of the trappings normally associated...

  7. 2 Senegal
    (pp. 71-108)

    At certain places in Dakar, paved roads disappear into the natural sand like a foot being buried into a slipper. One such street in Yoff—a traditional fishing village that is transforming itself into a middle-class neighborhood—is such a place. Here, upscale gated buildings and fancy clothiers mingle with a small roadside barber’s hut. The “salon” is separated from the street by a thin curtain sliding on a simple string.

    As is the case in nearly every neighborhood of this incomprehensible city, the gritty but well-stocked “boutiques” flank the street as dependable commercial bulwarks. Coming from the main road,...

  8. 3 Estonia
    (pp. 109-149)

    It’s impossible to walk through Tallinn, the medieval-era capital of Estonia, without noticing centuries-old dark gray stone walls and protective arches surrounding the old city. Cobblestone streets line the interior city roads and connect the ancient fortresses, twelfth-century church, and converted eighteenth-century palaces along the hilltop anchoring the city center. However, in the city parks, just as in many other parts of the country, it’s equally impossible not to notice the large orange and black signs. These industrial-grade metal road signs proclaim: “ / Tradiitaa Interneti leviala / Area of Wireless Internet.” The signs are perched at every gas station,...

  9. 4 Iran
    (pp. 150-201)

    Omid Memarian finished a quick chat with a coworker and turned around to walk the few steps back toward his desk in the office of the Iranian nongovernmental organization Volunteer Actors. Looking up, about to enter his own office, he saw two men waiting for him. They had close-cropped beards and wore suits, Iranian-style, without ties. They spoke sharply and directly, without so much as asalaam.

    “Please come with us downstairs to respond to some questions,” said the leader in a flat, stern voice.

    “Why should I come with you?” Memarian responded indignantly.

    “You know about all the shit...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 202-208)

    On a wintery Thursday morning in the nation’s capital, I found myself in the same room with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I had been invited to attend the secretary’s speech on “Internet Freedom” in a four hundred-person lecture hall inside the Newseum, just blocks from the U.S. Capitol building. Gathered around me were half a dozen senators, dozens of journalists, government employees, and many other Internet activists from Vietnam, Egypt, and Iran. The address was billed as a “major policy address” on the intersection of the Internet and freedom around the world. The address came just one week after...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 209-234)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 235-239)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 240-240)