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Firewalls to Freedom

NEW YORK – Even the most cold-hearted realists would agree that the failure of Communist censorship played a role in the collapse of the Iron Curtain: Voice of America, the fax machine, rock ‘n’ roll, and the lure of Western capitalism helped to win over the people of the Soviet Bloc.

Today, similar hopes are often vested in the Internet, with high expectations that the wealth of online information might trigger the same kind of censorship failure in contemporary authoritarian states that we saw in Eastern Europe – and with the same results.