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Consent of the Networked

Book Description

The Internet was going to liberate us, but in truth it has not. For every story about the web’s empowering role in events such as the Arab Spring, there are many more about the quiet corrosion of civil liberties by companies and governments using the same digital technologies we have come to depend upon. Sudden changes in Facebook’s features and privacy settings have exposed identities of protestors to police in Egypt and Iran. Apple removes politically controversial apps at the behest of governments as well as for its own commercial reasons. Dozens of Western companies sell surveillance technology to dictatorships around the world. Google struggles with censorship demands from governments in a range of countries—many of them democracies—as well as mounting public concern over the vast quantities of information it collects about its users. In Consent of the Networked, journalist and Internet policy specialist Rebecca MacKinnon argues that it is time to fight for our rights before they are sold, legislated, programmed, and engineered away. Every day, the corporate sovereigns of cyberspace make decisions that affect our physical freedom—but without our consent. Yet the traditional solution to unaccountable corporate behavior—government regulation—cannot stop the abuse of digital power on its own, and sometimes even contributes to it. A clarion call to action, Consent of the Networked shows that it is time to stop arguing over whether the Internet empowers people, and address the urgent question of how technology should be governed to support the rights and liberties of users around the world.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. Introduction: After the Revolution
    1. 1. Consent and Sovereignty
      1. Corporate Superpowers
      2. Legitimacy
    2. 2. Rise of the Digital Commons
      1. The Technical Commons
      2. Activism
      3. Balance of Power
    1. 3. Networked Authoritarianism
      1. How China’s Censorship Works
      2. Authoritarian Deliberation
      3. Western Fantasies Versus Reality
    2. 4. Variants and Permutations
      1. “Constitutional” Technology
      2. Corporate Collaboration
      3. Divide and Conquer
      4. Digital Bonapartism
    1. 5. Eroding Accountability
      1. Surveillance
      2. WikiLeaks and the Fate of Controversial Speech
    2. 6. Democratic Censorship
      1. Intentions Versus Consequences
      2. Saving the Children
    3. 7. Copywars
      1. Shunning Due Process
      2. Aiding Authoritarianism
      3. Lobbynomics
    1. 8. Corporate Censorship
      1. Net Neutrality
      2. Mobile Complications
      3. Big Brother Apple
    2. 9. Do No Evil
      1. Chinese Lessons
      2. Flickr Fail
      3. Buzz Bust
      4. Privacy and Facebook
    3. 10. Facebookistan and Googledom
      1. Double Edge
      2. Inside the Leviathan
      3. Google Governance
      4. Implications
    1. 11. Trust, but Verify
      1. The Regulation Problem
      2. Shared Value
      3. The Global Network Initiative
      4. Lessons from Other Industries
    2. 12. In Search of “Internet Freedom” Policy
      1. Washington Squabbles
      2. Goals and Methods
      3. Democratic Discord
      4. Civil Society Pushes Back
    3. 13. Global Internet Governance
      1. The United Nations Problem
      2. ICANN—Can You?
    4. 14. Building a Netizen-Centric Internet
      1. Strengthening the Netizen Commons
      2. Expanding the Technical Commons
      3. Utopianism Versus Reality
      4. Getting Political
      5. Corporate Transparency and Netizen Engagement
      6. Personal Responsibility
  13. Notes
  14. Index