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Last updated: 1 march, 2010 - 15:43 GMT

Communications

The Virtual Revolution: Enemy of the state

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Dr Aleks Krotoski continues her investigation into how the world wide web is transforming our lives.

Campaigners for Neda, Iranian woman whose death was captured on YouTube

The death of Neda, an Iranian woman, was posted on YouTube and became iconic

In this second programme in the series, she charts how, for better and for worse, the web is reshaping our relationship to authority and forging a new brand of politics.

Featuring stories from the digital front line in China, Iran and Eastern Europe and interviews with some of the web's biggest names – including its inventor Tim Berners-Lee, Martha Lane Fox, Al Gore and the founders of Twitter and PayPal – this programme presents the definitive guide to how the web is redrawing the political landscape and unleashing a battle of ideas across the world.

Aleks tells the inside story of the how the web is being used in pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran and direct action environmental campaigning here in the UK.

She examines the effect of unmediated and interactive sites like Twitter and YouTube – how they can generate a flood of news and link protests in moments, prompting instant reaction from across the globe that then feeds back into events unfolding on the ground.

Yet while struggles for freedom capture the headlines, the film reveals how quietly in their wake the web is shifting power, sometimes menacingly, in ways we never imagined.

In China, the authorities have proved extremely skilled in censoring and spying on the quarter of a billion Chinese who use the web, employing an estimated 300,000 pro-government bloggers to bolster support for the regime.

The film gives the low down on how the web has given new voice to extremist factions like Al Qaeda and is even generating new forms of warfare.

Aleks tells the incredible story of how Estonia was brought to its knees by a string of cyber attacks launched by a handful of teenage Russian hackers.

First broadcast 1 March 2010

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