This semester I am teaching a graduate class on Social Media and Politics. In this class we have learned about the power of individuals and/or small groups to deploy influence through their control over the Internet using persuasive memes and through active hacks.
Mainstream political authorities would be well advised to keep this influence in mind as they go after Julian Assange:
AP Internet attackers now have secret weapon in household devices. Japan Times, October 23, 2016, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/23/business/tech/internet-attackers-now-secret-weapon-household-devices/#.WAzrEMmYLHoMainstream political authorities' control in the age of connectivity is diminishing.
NEW YORK – Could millions of connected cameras, thermostats and kids’ toys bring the internet to its knees? It’s beginning to look that way. On Friday, epic cyberattacks crippled a major internet firm, repeatedly disrupting the availability of popular websites across the United States. The hacker group claiming responsibility says that the day’s antics were just a dry run and that it has its sights set on a much bigger target. And the attackers now have a secret weapon in the increasing array of internet-enabled household devices they can subvert and use to wreak havoc...
I can only hope that a more democratic balance of power births a more rational democracy as opposed to either anarchy or totalitarianism.