The security-political implications of emergent digital technologies in the Gulf states

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This article is featured in Orient II/2024.

In recent years the Gulf states have witnessed accelerating Internet access and social media penetration rates. In the context of their generally authoritarian environments (including a lack of freedom of expression), the co-option and control of such emergent digital technologies has unsurprisingly been taken very seriously by their ruling regimes, with evidence that all have gone to considerable lengths to try to keep at least one step ahead of any organised cyber dissent.

Christopher M. Davidson is the author, most recently, of From Sheikhs to Sultanism: Statecraft and Authority in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Democracy, Foreign Affairs and The New York Times. He is presently an associate fellow of the European Centre for International Affairs, edits the book series Power and Politics in the Gulf (co-published by Hurst & Co. and Oxford University Press USA), and is an editorial board member for the Journal of Labor and Society. He previously taught for twelve years at Durham University (as a lecturer, senior lecturer, then reader) and, prior to that, for three years at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates (as an assistant professor, on both the Abu Dhabi and Dubai campuses). He has held visiting positions at Leiden University College in the Hague (as a fellow) and Kyoto University in Japan (as an associate professor); and in 2017 he was the Daoud Family Lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at Albion College, Michigan.

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