A compelling argument that the Internet of things threatens human rights and security
"Sobering and important."—Financial Times, "Best Books of 2020: Technology"
The Internet has leapt from human-facing display screens into the material objects all around us. In this so-called Internet of things—connecting everything from cars to cardiac monitors to home appliances—there is no longer a meaningful distinction between physical and virtual worlds. Everything is connected. The social and economic benefits are tremendous, but there is a downside: an outage in cyberspace can result not only in loss of communication but also potentially in loss of life.
Control of this infrastructure has become a proxy for political power, since countries can easily reach across borders to disrupt real-world systems. Laura DeNardis argues that the diffusion of the Internet into the physical world radically escalates governance concerns around privacy, discrimination, human safety, democracy, and national security, and she offers new cyber-policy solutions. In her discussion, she makes visible the sinews of power already embedded in our technology and explores how hidden technical governance arrangements will become the constitution of our future.
About the Author
Laura DeNardis is one of the world’s foremost Internet governance scholars and a professor in the School of Communication at American University. She lives in Washington, DC.
"Sobering and important"—John Thornhill, Financial Times Best Technology Books of 2020
“Essential reading for policymakers and ordinary citizens alike.” —Publishers Weekly
"This brilliant and essential book does nothing less than alter our paradigm for thinking about the internet—from communications and indirect control to communications and direct control. The internet is even more powerful—or more dangerous—than we think."—Anupam Chander, author of The Electronic Silk Road: How the Web Binds the World Together in Commerce
“This is a must-read. If you have limited time, read Chapters 1 and 8 at least. ‘All of the policy issues in two-dimensional digital space have leapt into three-dimensional real-world space and have added new concerns around physical safety and everyday human activity.’”—Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer
"The Internet isn't just about communication anymore, Laura DeNardis explains in this important new book. Digital networks can now directly affect and manipulate our physical world--even our own bodies. And when the Internet is embedded in everything, everything becomes a potential object of surveillance and control. DeNardis shows us why we need a new politics of privacy and security as the Internet gets physical."—Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School
“A crucial read for understanding the unseen but powerful mechanisms and standards which shape security and policy issues impacting everyone.”—Marietje Schaake, Member of European Parliament 2009-2019
“With more things than people connected to the Internet, we enter a cyber-physical world of opportunities and threats. Laura DeNardis is the perfect guide to this strange new world.”—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard University and author of The Future of Power