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The abstract of the thesis follows below.


Initially, the internet was an open medium with certain characteristics that made it hard to control. According to Western journalists and politicians, the efforts of the Chinese government to control the internet are doomed to fail. This study attempts to counter this view and discusses to what degree the Chinese government can control the internet in China and, more than that, to what degree the internet can be used as a means for control.

Methodologically, the four modalities of control (the law, architecture, social norms and the market), set forth by Lessig will be used. As a result, this study will offer a legal, technical, social and economical perspective in discussing the degree of internet control in China. Lessig further argues that the architecture of the internet is undergoing changes that continue to enable control.

A prime example of using architecture as a means of control is the concept of the Panopticon prison, invented by Bentham and mediated by Foucault. The concept of the Panopticon will be used to show how the internet can be used as a means for control.

The conclusions are that the Chinese government are quite capable of controlling the internet in China and that China has the perfect ingredients for deploying a digital Panopticon. This digital Panopticon will continue to improve and develop, driven by the market. These conclusions show that the internet, to contrary belief, can be controlled and even be used as a means for control.


internet regulation, internet control, social control, political control, censorship, privacy, surveillance, panopticon, Lessig, internet in China, Chinese Internet, media. --
Last updated by Lokman Tsui at July 21, 2001 Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.