I've just finished Rebecca MacKinnon's Consent of the Networked, and now I'm kicking myself for letting it languish in my review pile for as long as I did. It is an absolutely indispensable account of the way that technology both serves freedom and removes it. MacKinnon is co-founder of the Global Voices project, and a director of the Global Network Initiative, and is one of the best-informed, clearest commentators on issues of networks and freedom from a truly global perspective.
MacKinnon does a fantastic job of tying her theory and analysis to real-world stories. She illustrates how governments are figuring out how to use networks to take freedom away, to control debate, to find and crush dissent. She shows how Internet corporations -- even the ones with a good track-record on protecting their users -- are prone to cooperating with the worst, most repressive instincts of governments (including supposedly liberal western governments).
But she also describes how technology contributes to freedom, and how savvy use of technology, combined with activism in the realm of Internet governance, lawmaking, and corporate affairs can turn technology into a force for liberation, accountability and freedom. She teases out the good and the bad of technology, working from recent examples like the Arab Spring uprisings, and names names and cites facts and figures when it comes to companies and governments who worked to undo the liberating power of technology.
Most of all, MacKinnon lays out a roadmap for tipping the technological balance towards freedom. She describes how diverse groups, including ones she works with, provide opportunities for all of us to work for positive change, in our capacity as citizens, employees of corporations, members of government, and as clued-in techies.
MacKinnon is a realist, but never a cynic, and provides a much-needed straight-shooting, levelheaded account of how the Internet changes power-relationships. This book should be read by anyone who cares about freedom today and in the decades to come.
Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom
Official book site
Phil Foglio (previously) writes, “Studio Foglio is kickstarting a new Girl Genius Collection! The Incorruptible Library covers the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne and her friends as they journey beneath the streets of Paris. There they encounter hidden subterranean civilizations, forgotten labyrinths filled with secrets, and a healthy dollop of Adventure, Romance, and Mad Science!”
Douglas Adams and John Lloyd’s 1983 The Meaning of Liff (expanded in 1993 as The Deeper Meaning of Liff) is one of my favorite books and a seminal part of my education. So I was delighted and surprised to see I’d completely missed the 2013 publication of Afterliff, a sequel by Lloyd and Jon Canter.
The following are pioneering animator and Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki’s (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, etc.) top ten favorite books for young people: 1. The Borrowers — Mary Norton 2. The Little Prince — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 3. Children of Noisy Village — Astrid Lindgren 4. When Marnie Was There — Joan G. Robinson […]
Despite the upfront cost, electric toothbrushes are much better at removing plaque than those freebies from the dentist’s office. For those who struggle to fill the American Dental Association’s recommended two minutes of brushing time, or anyone with limited dexterity, a sonic toothbrush can give your oral care routine a boost.To keep your chops healthy […]
Learning a new language will give your resume an upgrade, sure, but it will also provide a huge cognitive boost for mental tasks outside of translation and conversation. Bilingual brains have been shown to be better at handling multiple concurrent tasks, and gaining fluency in a new tongue is an amazing way to improve memory, […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]