Consent of the Networked

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-01-31
  • Publisher: Basic Books
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Google has a history of censoring at the behest of Communist China. Research in Motion happily opens up the BlackBerry to such stalwarts of liberty as Saudi Arabia. Yahoo has betrayed the email accounts of dissidents to the PRC. Facebook's obsession with personal transparency has revealed the identities of protestors to governments. For all the overheated rhetoric of liberty and cyber-utopia, it is clear that the corporations that rule cyberspace are making decisions that show little or no concern for their impact on political freedom. In Consent of the Networked, internet policy specialist Rebecca MacKinnon argues that it's time for us to demand that our rights and freedoms are respected and protected before they're sold, legislated, programmed, and engineered away. The challenge is that building accountability into the fabric of cyberspace demands radical thinking in a completely new dimension. The corporations that build and operate the technologies that create and shape our digital world are fundamentally different from the Chevrons, Nikes, and Nabiscos whose behavior and standards can be regulated quite effectively by laws, courts, and bureaucracies answerable to voters. The public revolt against the sovereigns of cyberspace will be useless if it focuses downstream at the point of law and regulation, long after the software code has already been written, shipped, and embedded itself into the lives of millions of people. The revolution must be focused upstream at the source of the problem. Political innovation--the negotiated relationship between people with power and people whose interests and rights are affected by that power--needs to center around the point of technological conception, experimentation, and early implementation. The purpose of technology--and of the corporations that make it--is to serve humanity, not the other way around. It's time to wake up and act before the reversal becomes permanent.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Introduction: After the Revolutionp. xix
Consent and Sovereigntyp. 3
Corporate Superpowersp. 6
Legitimacyp. 12
Rise of the Digital Commonsp. 15
The Technical Commonsp. 17
Activismp. 21
Balance of Powerp. 25
Control 2.0
Networked Authoritarianismp. 31
How China's Censorship Worksp. 34
Authoritarian Deliberationp. 40
Western Fantasies Versus Realityp. 47
Variants and Permutationsp. 51
"Constitutional" Technologyp. 53
Corporate Collaborationp. 56
Divide and Conquerp. 62
Digital Bonapartismp. 66
Democracy's Challenges
Eroding Accountabilityp. 75
Surveillancep. 76
WikiLeaks and the Fate of Controversial Speechp. 82
Democratic Censorshipp. 87
Intentions Versus Consequencesp. 88
Saving the Childrenp. 94
Copywarsp. 99
Shunning Due Processp. 101
Aiding Authoritarianismp. 104
Lobbynomicsp. 108
Sovereigns of Cyberspace
Corporate Censorshipp. 115
Net Neutralityp. 116
Mobile Complicationsp. 122
Big Brother Applep. 126
Do No Evilp. 131
Chinese Lessonsp. 133
Flickr Failp. 139
Buzz Bustp. 141
Privacy and Facebookp. 144
Facebookistan and Googledomp. 149
Double Edgep. 151
Inside the Leviathanp. 153
Google Governancep. 159
Implicationsp. 164
What is to Be Done?
Trust, but Verifyp. 169
The Regulation Problemp. 173
Shared Valuep. 175
The Global Network Initiativep. 179
Lessons from Other Industriesp. 182
In Search of "Internet Freedom" Policyp. 187
Washington Squabblesp. 188
Goals and Methodsp. 191
Democratic Discordp. 196
Civil Society Pushes Backp. 200
Global Internet Governancep. 203
The United Nations Problemp. 204
ICANN-Can You?p. 209
Building a Netizen-Centric Internetp. 221
Strengthening the Netizen Commonsp. 223
Expanding the Technical Commonsp. 227
Utopianism Versus Realityp. 232
Getting Politicalp. 237
Corporate Transparency and Netizen Engagementp. 243
Personal Responsibilityp. 248
Notesp. 251
Indexp. 283
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