Blown to Bits Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-08-24
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

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Blown to Bits, Second Edition is the brilliant, plain-English guide to digital technology, how it’s changing the world, and what you need to know to survive in tomorrow’s digital world. A best-seller when it was first published in 2010, the issues it addresses are more crucial than ever. Now, its expert authors have thoroughly updated Blown to Bits to demystify the social, political, and personal issues everyone is talking about: from social media and big data to fake news, cyberattacks, and privacy. Both authoritative and accessible, this guide doesn’t just reveal the workings of the technologies that are central to your life: it also illuminates the policy decisions citizens need to make about these technologies… because you can try to ignore them, but they won’t ignore you!


Blown to Bits, Second Edition answers questions like:

  • Who owns all that data about you? What (if anything) do they owe you?
  • How private is your medical information?
  • Is it possible to send a truly secure message? How close can you come?
  • How do you figure out who to trust for accurate news these days?
  • What should you know about free speech on the Internet?
  • Who’s watching you, what do they know about you, and what can they do with that knowledge?
  • Do you have to say goodbye forever to privacy -- and even to your personal identity?
  • How can you protect yourself against out-of-control technologies -- and the powerful organizations that wield them?

Author Biography

Hal Abelson is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, and an IEEE Fellow. He has helped drive innovative educational technology initiatives such MIT OpenCourseWare, cofounded Creative Commons and Public Knowledge, and was founding director of the Free Software Foundation.

Ken Ledeen, Chairman/CEO of Nevo Technologies, has served on the boards of many technology companies.

Harry Lewis, former Dean of Harvard College, is Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard. He is author of Excellence Without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future?

Together, Abelson, Ledeen, and Lewis have taught Quantitative Reasoning 48, an innovative Harvard course on information for non-technical, non-mathematically oriented students. 

Wendy Seltzer, is Strategy Lead and Counsel to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). She has served as a Fellow with Yale Law School's Information Society Project, Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy; the University of Colorado's Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship; and Harvard Law School's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Table of Contents

1. Digital Explosion: Why Is It Happening, and What Is at Stake?
2. Naked in the Sunlight: Privacy Lost, Privacy Abandoned
3. Needles in the Haystack: Google and Other Brokers in the Bits Bazaar
4. Secret Bits: How Codes Became Unbreakable
5. Balance Toppled: Who Owns the Bits?
6. You Can’t Say That on the Internet: Guarding the Frontiers of Digital Expression
7. Bits in the Air: Old Metaphors, New Technologies, and Free Speech
8. AI and Algorithmic Decisions
9. Bits Become Physical
Conclusion. After the Explosion Appendix: The Internet as System and Spirit

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