WIRED UK: Government and the net serve us, not vice versa

The UK print edition of WIRED is running a piece that distills my core argument from the book into “manifesto” form. An excerpt:

We have come to depend on digitally networked platforms, services and devices for almost all aspects of our lives, including our relationship with our physical governments. But these technologies are created, owned and operated mainly by a private sector whose decisions are driven primarily by business considerations, then further shaped by government regulation. It is important for netizens to have access to non-commercial, non-governmental and open-source digital tools, services and spaces that we can build, shape, use and encrypt. But this alone will not solve the problem of government or corporate abuse of power through digital networks.

Despite some activists’ utopian hopes to the contrary, the reality is that governments and companies are going to remain intertwined with our digital lives — for the same reasons that they are part of most people’s physical lives. Citizens continue to demand government help in fighting cybercrime, defending children from stalkers and bullies, and protecting consumers. And it could be argued that the world’s experiments with communism during the last century showed that economies without private enterprise lack innovation.

It is therefore urgent that we — the netizens of the world — do everything in our power to constrain the abuse of power and defend human rights on the corporate- and government-dominated internet, even as we work to build our own independent enclaves and tools when and where we can.

Read the whole thing here.

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