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Author Biography

Ms. Bryant is currently affiliated with The Chertoff Group, a strategic security consulting firm based in Washington, DC. She began her career working in the personal office of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, and furthered her congressional experience with the Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). At CFR, she assisted in strategic outreach to connect CFR resources with members of Congress and their staffs. Ms. Bryant received a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Iowa. She received her Master of Arts in Security Studies from Georgetown University in December 2011. The views in this article are the author’s own, and are not reflective of The Chertoff Group.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1944-0472.5.2.1

Subject Area Keywords

Democracy and democatization, Middle East, Science and technology & security, Social media, Social movements

Abstract

This article focuses on how information and communication technology (ICT) influences the behavior of authoritarian regimes. Modern information and communication tools can challenge authoritarian rule, but the same technology can be used by savvy regimes to buttress their own interests. The relationship of technology and political power is more accurately conceived of as a contested space in which competitors vie for dominance and as a neutral tool that is blind to value judgments of good versus evil. A realist understanding of the nature and limits of technology is vital in order to truly evaluate how ICT impacts the relative strength of intransigent regimes fighting to stay in power and those on the disadvantaged side of power agitating for change. This is particularly relevant when examining both regimes that have survived and those that have fallen in the wake of the Arab Spring. The cases of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran are used to demonstrate why some regimes fail in this pursuit, while others thrive.

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