Is ACTA the new SOPA?

Yesterday I appeared on Al Jazeera’s “The Stream” to discuss that question.  Internet users and companies recently rallied to kill the Stop Online Piracy Act (see an excellent analysis of what happened by Ed Black here). Now the United States and several dozen key trading partners are signing a trade agreement, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which advances many of the same goals as SOPA. (It is important to note, however that not all of the information swirling around the Internet about ACTA is accurate – read here and here for help separating  fact from fiction).

I also had a chance to talk a little bit about the book at the beginning of the show. Here’s the whole thing:

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NPR’s Morning Edition interview and excerpts galore!

NPR’s Morning Edition ran an interview with me about the book this morning. Click here to listen to the whole 5-minute segment, read a summary, and an excerpt of the book’s introduction.

But wait, that’s not all!

Slate has published the first of two adaptations from the book:
Consent of the Networked: How can digital technology be structured and governed to maximize the good and minimize the evil?

Over the weekend Canada’s National Post published two excerpts from the China chapter:

Inside China’s Censorship Machine

and

China’s “Networked Authoritarianism”

Enjoy!

The 2012 Elections and the Surveillance State

This week CNN.com ran an opinion piece to which they assigned the headline, We’re losing control of our digital privacy. The essay actually focuses on a very specific invasion of privacy: government surveillance of American citizens through privately-run digital platforms and services. This is a problem I discuss at length in Chapter 5, “Eroding Accountability.”

In the article I point out:

Under two successive administrations, new laws, policies and corporate practices have made it much easier for government agencies to track and access citizens’ private digital communications from their storage “in the cloud” than it is for agents to search or monitor our physical homes, offices, vehicles, and mail.

After citing a number of concrete examples I then raise a question:

In the Internet age, it is inevitable that corporations and government agencies will have access to detailed information about people’s lives. We willingly share personal information with companies for the convenience of using their products. We accept that a certain amount of surveillance is necessary in order to protect innocent people from crime and terror. But as a nation we have failed to address the resulting dilemma: How do we prevent the abuse of the power we have willingly delegated to government and companies?

The essay concludes:

In 2012, the American people rightly expect presidential and congressional candidates to explain how they plan to protect us from crime and terror. In the Internet age, that inevitably requires some degree of surveillance. Yet it is equally vital we demand a clear vision of how they will protect us from abuses of government surveillance power through the corporate-run digital platforms upon which we are increasingly dependent.

Click here to read the whole thing

The Internet is Not a Force of Nature: a Q&A with Rebecca MacKinnon

Publisher’s Weekly has a short interview in their “Tip Sheet” section. An excerpt:

Q: What do you hope the average Facebooker/Twitterer/Googler/Amazonian/Blackberrian takes away from your book? What can a regular yahoo do in face of Yahoo?

A: We are not helpless. The way these companies evolve—and the way the Internet evolves more generally—is not predetermined. It is not a force of nature. All of the networked technologies we depend on today are the result of specific choices by human beings. Everybody who uses the Internet has the power and ability to influence these choices to some extent. Seemingly small choices and small actions add up over time. You don’t have to be a nerd, or a programmer, or a network engineer to make a difference.

Read the whole thing here..

Democracy Now with Amy Goodman

On Tuesday, the eve of the massive Internet protest against the anti-piracy bills in Congress which many believe are over-broad and will stifle free speech, I appeared on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now. Here is the video: