Internet Freedom, Human Rights and Power

Madeline Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Internet Freedom is rapidly becoming understood as a normative framework for how the Internet should function and be used globally. Recently declared a human right by the United Nations, it also forms a central pillar of the US 21st Century Statecraft foreign policy doctrine. This article argues that although there is a clear human rights agenda present in this policy, there is also a power element which is much less discussed or acknowledged in the vast literature on Internet Freedom. Through an exploration of both a short history and some important lessons learned about Internet Freedom, this article demonstrates how the US Department of State has adapted to the information age in such a way as to harness individual agency (reconceptualised in policy terms as ‘civilian power’) for the promotion of state power. Although this is by no means as stable or reliable as some more conventional mechanisms, it is an expression of power that meets with few challenges to its legitimacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-637
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
Issue number5
Early online date19 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2013


  • 21st century statecraft
  • civilian power
  • internet censorship
  • internet freedom
  • miliblogs
  • social construction of technology
  • US power


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