Skip to the main content
Internet and Democracy
Past Project

Internet and Democracy

The Internet and Democracy Project is an initiative that will examine how the Internet influences democratic norms and modes, including its impact on civil society, citizen media, government transparency, and the rule of law, with a focus on the Middle East. Through a grant of $1.5 million from the US Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, the Berkman Center will undertake the study over the next two years in collaboration with its extended community and institutional partners.  As with all its projects, the Berkman Center retains complete independence in its research and other efforts under this grant. 

The goal of this work is to support the rights of citizens to access, develop and share independent sources of information, to advocate responsibly, to strengthen online networks, and to debate ideas freely with both civil society and government. These subjects will be examined through a series of case studies in which new technologies and online resources have influenced democracy and civic engagement.  The project will include original research and the identification and development of innovative web-based tools that support the goals of the project.  The team, led by Project Director Bruce Etling, will draw on communities from around the world, with a focus on the Middle East.

Follow the research or join in the conversation through a number of different project tools, including our blog, and RSS feed.

OPML Library Resources

The Internet & Democracy Project maintains an ongoing database of notable tools that we encounter in our research.

Internet & Democracy Tools Database

A collection of cutting edge tech tools that support activists and community organizing. These tools were identified at the Tech Tools External Research Meeting for the Internet and Democracy Project.

Internet & Democracy H2O Playlist (Tech Tools External Research Meeting)

A collection of resources to aid in promoting dialogue around issues in democracy. This includes theoretical texts as well as media and internet and democracy readings.

Internet & Democracy H20 Playlist (Theoretical Democracy Sources)

A collection of resources that consider the Internet and democracy, including case studies.

Internet & Democracy H20 Playlist (Internet and Democracy Sources)

This project is sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of State. 


Publications 09

Dec 9, 2010

Political Change in the Digital Age: The Fragility and Promise of Online Organizing

In this paper, we discuss the possible impact of digital technologies in authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes. More

Jun 16, 2009

Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture and Dissent

This case study is part of a series produced by the Internet and Democracy project. It analyzes the composition of the Arabic blogosphere and its possible impact on political and… More

Mar 30, 2009

Three Case Studies from Switzerland: Smartvote, Electronic Voting, and Political Communication

With the globalization of Internet use, the deployment of technology to improve democracy has rapidly gained worldwide attention. These case studies are organized around three… More

Mar 5, 2009

2007 Circumvention Landscape Report: Methods, Uses, and Tools

A large variety of different projects have developed tools that can be used to circumvent Internet filtering, allowing people in filtered countries access to otherwise filtered… More

Sep 29, 2008

Digitally Networked Technology in Kenya's 2007-2008 Post-Election Crisis

Using the lens of the 2007-2008 Kenyan Presidential Election Crisis, this case study illustrates how digitally networked technologies, specifically mobile phones and the Internet,… More

Sep 28, 2008

The Role of the Internet in Burma’s Saffron Revolution

This case study is part of a series produced by the Internet and Democracy project. It analyzes the role of the Internet and technology in the 2007 civic crises of Burma’s Saffron… More

Apr 5, 2008

Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere

(English and Persian translation)

This case study is part of a series produced by the Internet and Democracy project. It analyzes the composition of the Iranian blogosphere and its possible impact on political and… More

Dec 1, 2007

The Citizen Journalism Web Site 'OhmyNews' and the 2002 South Korean Presidential Election

This paper is one of the first in a series of case studies that examines the impact of the Internet and technology on democracy. This specific case investigates the influence of… More

Dec 1, 2007

The Role of Digital Networked Technologies in the Ukrainian Orange Revolution

This working paper is part of a series examining how the Internet influences democracy. This report is a narrative case study that examines the role of the Internet and mobile… More


News 36

Apr 28, 2010

A Tale of Two Blogospheres

Discursive Practices on the Left and the Right

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce the release of a new paper exploring U.S. political blogs. This paper compares the practices of discursive production and participation… More

Oct 1, 2009

The OpenNet Initiative reports on Internet filtering in Sub-Saharan Africa

ONI has released new research on Sub-Saharan Africa, including reports on Uganda and Nigeria, where ONI tested for the first time in 2008 and 2009... More

Aug 12, 2009

OpenNet Initiative releases 2009 Middle East & North Africa research

The Berkman Center is pleased to share an announcement from the ONI: the partnership has released new studies of Internet filtering in the Middle East and North Africa. Government… More

Jun 16, 2009

Keeping an Eye on Iran's Post-Election Protests

Berkman Center people and projects have been paying close attention to the role of the Internet and cell phones in the post-election protests in Iran. More

Jun 16, 2009

Internet & Democracy project releases study of the Arabic blogosphere

It is with great pleasure that the Berkman Center announces a major research release from the Internet & Democracy project: “Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture and… More

Jun 16, 2009

Berkman Center Internet & Democracy Project Releases Study Mapping the Arabic Language Blogosphere

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Internet & Democracy project has released a major study on “Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture and Dissent.” Utilizing a… More

Jun 5, 2009

Mapping the Persian and Arabic blogospheres

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce updated and forthcoming, new research from the Internet & Democracy project on blogging in Iran and on Arabic language blogs,… More

Jun 2, 2009

Herdict Chinese is live

(updated June 2)

Herdict Web -- Berkman's tool for tracking global web (in)accessibility -- is now available in Mandarin! And, as of June 2, Herdict is seeing a surge in reporting from China... More

May 27, 2009

The Chinese Internet and Civil Society

Civic Engagement, Deliberation and Culture

The 7th Chinese Internet Research Conference starts today, at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania, and a raft of Berkman researchers and… More

Apr 8, 2009

Herdict Web gets bigger and smarter...

Herdict Web -- Berkman's tool for tracking global web (in)accessibility -- has now been in the wild for six weeks! and what wild and woolly weeks they have been (YouTube blocked… More

Mar 31, 2009

Conjuring Conficker and GhostNet

malware in the news

Stories about the Conficker worm have been spreading, worm-like, through both online and offline media, while the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto has documented an… More

Mar 31, 2009

New case studies from the Internet & Democracy project

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce that the Internet & Democracy project, in association with the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in… More

Mar 5, 2009

Report release: 2007 Circumvention Landscape Report: Methods, Uses, and Tools

The Berkman Center is pleased to make available its report on techniques and tools for circumventing Internet filtering... More

Feb 25, 2009

Herdict Web

the verdict of the herd

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce the official launch of Herdict Web -- a tool that employs the distributed power of the Internet community to provide insight into what… More

Feb 12, 2009

Mapping Change in the Iranian Blogosphere

The Internet & Democracy project has begun analyzing developments over the last year in the Iranian blogosphere and has a pair of intriguing hypotheses to explain changes to its… More

Nov 3, 2008

US presidential campaign & election '08

We've assembled a sampling of recent Internet and politics-related activities and writings from the Berkman community... More

Oct 29, 2008

Global Network Initiative launches

Berkman is pleased to announce the launch of the Global Network Initiative, a dynamic effort developed in partnership with leading human rights groups, academics, socially… More

Oct 27, 2008

Political videos online, the spread

From the Internet & Democracy project blog... John Kelly and...Morningside Analytics have created a great new political video barometer at Shifting the Debate. Using link and… More

Oct 23, 2008

Voter deception 2.0

With less than two weeks remaining before the US presidential election, the Publius project has released a timely essay on the danger of vote suppression tactics potentially… More

Oct 15, 2008

Video your vote

November 4 at ground level

YouTube and PBS have teamed up to ask US voters to document their voting experiences. You're invited to upload your election day video to the Video Your Vote channel. The Citizen… More

Sep 30, 2008

Internet & Democracy project releases case study on Kenya's post-election crisis

From the Internet & Democracy blog... We’re following up yesterday’s release of our Burma case study with a look at Africa and the role of technology in Kenya’s post-election… More

Sep 29, 2008

Harvard Graduate Student Awards - Applications Now Available

We're pleased to announce the BCIS Harvard Graduate Student Awards, intended to help Harvard University graduate students take interdisciplinary approaches to exploring Internet… More

Sep 29, 2008

Internet & Democracy project releases case study on the "Saffron Revolution"

From the Internet & Democracy blog... Over the past few months, the Internet and Democracy team has been hard at work producing a new set of case studies that take a closer look… More

Sep 12, 2008

New: Persian translation of Iran blog study

From the Internet & Democracy blog... We are pleased to release the full Persian translation of our case study: Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian… More

Jul 31, 2008

China, Internet filtering, and the Olympics

The 2008 Olympics open in Beijing in about a week, and Internet filtering practices in China have again made international headlines as journalists and others experience the so… More

Jul 18, 2008

Thinking through section 201 of the Global Online Freedom Act

Over on the Future of the Internet blog, Berkman summer intern Brendan Ballou takes a look at the Global Online Freedom Act being considered by Congress... More

Jun 26, 2008

Internet & Democracy in Budapest: Building the Framework

Via the Internet & Democracy blog, Patrick Philippe Meier - I&D conference participant and panel moderator - liveblogged his way through the conference over the past two days at… More

Jun 13, 2008

2008 Presidential E-lection

This week, the Digital Natives and Internet and Democracy projects both dove into the 2008 campaign, offering their thoughts on the role of the Internet in the current U.S… More

Apr 7, 2008

Berkman Center Internet & Democracy Project Releases Study Mapping Iran’s Blogosphere

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Internet & Democracy project has released a major study on “Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian… More

Apr 6, 2008

Internet & Democracy project releases study of "Iran's online public"

We are pleased to announce a major research release from the Internet & Democracy project: "Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere." More

Mar 31, 2008

Q+ A with Tomorrow's Luncheon Guest, Allison Fine

Allison Fine will join us tomorrow as part of our Tuesday Luncheon Series, and as a primer to her talk, Berkman intern Yvette Wohn sat down with Allison for a Q+ A, where they… More

Mar 25, 2008

On Tibet

Protests in Tibet - and the Chinese crackdown and troop build-up in Lhasa and elsewhere - have dominated headlines this week. China's blocking of YouTube and other measures… More

Mar 13, 2008

Is the Internet an Effective Tool for Political Engagement During Elections?

From the Internet & Democracy Project... One major challenge of mature democracies such as the US is political engagement of its citizens. America has one of the lowest voter… More

Mar 8, 2008

Berkman Buzz: Week of March 3, 2008

A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations. More

Feb 13, 2008

Berkman in Turkey: Internet & Democracy Digital Activism Event

From the Internet & Democracy Project...On February 7th and 8th, the Berkman Center hosted a three day conference entitled “Digitally-Empowered Activists: Getting the Tools to the… More

Sep 13, 2007

Berkman Center Investigates Internet & Democracy

Project to Focus on Middle East and Other Global Communities

Berkman announces the Internet and Democracy Project, an initiative that will examine how the Internet influences democratic norms and modes, including its impact on civil society… More


Events 07

Jun 17, 2009 @ 10:00 AM

Online Discourse in the Arab World: Dispelling the Myths

at the United States Institute of Peace

The Internet & Democracy presents the Berkman Center's new research on the Arabic blogosphere, which analyzes over 10,000 blogs from 18 countries and which follows last year's … More

Mar 5, 2009 @ 9:00 AM

The Internet and Democracy: Lessons Learnt and Future Directions

This event, organized in collaboration with the OII and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism brought together leading researchers to assess the current state of… More

Mar 4, 2009 @ 5:00 PM

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Online Audiences and the Paradox of Web Traffic

Dr. Matthew Hindman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Arizona State University

Many areas of Internet scholarship make strong--and often erroneous--assumptions about patterns of Web traffic. Still, there has been little comprehensive research on how online… More

Nov 25, 2008 @ 12:30 PM

The Blogging Revolution: Going online in repressive regimes

Antony Loewenstein

In 2007, Australian journalist, author and blogger Antony Loewenstein traveled to Egypt, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China to investigate how the net was challenging… More

Oct 17, 2008 @ 8:30 AM

Russia Online: the Russian-Language Blogosphere and Participatory Internet

An all-day conference in New York City made possible by the collaboration of the Harriman Institute and the School of Journalism at Columbia University, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Conference Wiki: http://cyber.harvard.edu/russiaonline/Main_Page User: russiaonline PW: columbia This conference is open to the public. Seating may be… More

Feb 7, 2008 @ 10:05 PM

Digitally-Empowered Activists: Getting the Tools to the People Who Need Them

Hosted by the Internet & Democracy Project

The Berkman Center's Internet & Democracy Projected hosted an event on "Digitally-Empowered Activists: Getting the Tools to the People Who Need Them," in Istanbul, Turkey. More

Dec 18, 2007 @ 12:30 PM

Internet & Democracy

Victoria Stodden, Harvard Law School

Victoria Stodden By discussing the potentials and pitfalls of the internet in a democratic society, Victoria Stodden examined "Internet & Democracy." More


People 09

Team

Jason Callina

Alumni

John Palfrey

Director

Mary Joyce

None

Anita Patel

Alumni