Researcher ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/

0000-0002-5835-515X

Graduation Year

2021

Date of Submission

12-2021

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

International Relations

Reader 1

Professor Jennifer Taw

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Rights Information

2021 Skyler H Sallick

Abstract

In an effort to reclaim agency in the global battle between digital democracy and digital authoritarianism, this thesis asks: What, if anything, can be done? Through a review of the current literature, it found that a singular technology can at once be liberatory while simultaneously serving to counter its own liberating potential. As a result, repressive regimes have been able to successfully push back against mass mobilization and quell efforts to bring greater transparency and accountability to systems of governance. The case of Egypt is used to explore mass mobilization and the right to freedom of expression before, during, and after the Egyptian Revolution through the lens of often flawed digital technology. Subsequently, the case of Tanzania is used to examine the potential for digital crowdsourcing platforms to provide accountability and transparency during elections in the face of increasing legal and technological limitations. These case studies enable the identification of a series of limiting factors contributing to the narrowing potential for digital technologies in democratic advocacy. Importantly, these case studies also allow for the identification of strategic opportunities for action. By using the limiting factors and opportunities identified in this thesis, it is found that deliberate action can be taken to promote a right-respecting digital framework that utilizes multi-lateral, cross-sectoral approaches to global governance and digital rights– even under the current limiting conditions.

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