Darrell West gets it right when he argues that despite their promise, digital technologies alone “cannot produce revolutions. To generate fundamental change, it still takes strong leadership, powerful ideas, and people willing to risk detention and imprisonment.” West is writing about Iran—and the critical role that social networking has played in fostering social protest in the wake of a disputed election in that country. He also warns that oppressive regimes may turn the very same tool of protest against those fighting for freedom, by using digital technology to track protesters. Yet West underplays the importance of social networking for cracking the monolith of Iran—and the implications for human rights of the unfolding dialogue in words and images.

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