And in the past decade, it was the province of free political expression, used to push progress, liberty, and rights.
But as malignant, authoritarian strains incubate and fester across the planet, governments are attempting to wrest control of it back.
In India, that movement is not just well underway, it’s almost entirely implemented.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, every facet of the internet has come under their control, every public space dominated by high-tech surveillance, every message potentially read by its prying eyes.
The party seized control of YouTube, pushing messages of party support while blocking criticism. It’s clamped down on viral videos on X that document a violent, anti-Muslim fervor sweeping the nation. It’s opened encrypted WhatsApp for inspection. Facial recognition litters temples and entire cities. And they can control it all with the flip of a switch.
India is the future of the internet under authoritarianism and the Modi government’s playbook is one that repressive regimes, hoping to curb the rights of individuals who oppose them, will all soon adopt.
Unless people fight back.
Muslims are being harassed, assaulted, and slaughtered by Hindu nationalists—and Indians can’t see it