Das falsche Versprechen der digitalen Demokratie

MÜNCHEN – Die meisten Menschen sahen das Internet als Kraft für etwas Positives an. Es sollte uns nicht nur ermöglichen, einzukaufen, mit alten Schulfreunden in Kontakt zu bleiben und ein neues Sushi-Restaurant zu finden; es sollte uns auch politisch mehr Macht verleihen, indem es Menschen, die keine vollen Bürgerrechte genießen, Gehör verschaffte, Aktivisten half, Unterstützer zu mobilisieren, und es einfachen Bürgern ermöglichte, Beweismaterial für die Korruption offizieller Stellen oder für Polizeigewalt öffentlich zu machen.

Doch haben sich Zweifel eingeschlichen – und zwar nicht erst seit den Enthüllungen darüber, wie Regierungsstellen das Internet einsetzten, um uns, unsere Politiker und einander auszuspionieren. Die Auswirkungen des Internets auf die Politik sind höchst ungewiss. Und das wird sich, wenn überhaupt, wahrscheinlich erst ändern, wenn das Netz zu einem Raum wird, in dem Regeln und Rechte gelten wie in der realen Welt.

Die frühen Enthusiasten träumten davon, dass der bloße Zugang zum Internet helfen würde, die Demokratie zu verbreiten. Das ist nicht geschehen. Ende der 1990er Jahre benutzten 4 % der Weltbevölkerung das Internet; heute sind es fast 40 %. Aber der Anteil der Länder, die von Freedom House, einer Organisation, welche die demokratische Entwicklung beobachtet, als „unfrei“ oder „teilweise frei“ eingestuft werden, hat sich in dieser Zeit kaum verändert. Im Kampf zwischen Netzwerken und Hierarchien scheinen die Hierarchien häufiger zu gewinnen, als zu verlieren.

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