The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
Free
The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
By Jonathan L. Zittrain
Free
Book Description

This extraordinary book explains the engine that has catapulted the Internet from backwater to ubiquity—and reveals that it is sputtering precisely because of its runaway success. With the unwitting help of its users, the generative Internet is on a path to a lockdown, ending its cycle of innovation—and facilitating unsettling new kinds of control.

IPods, iPhones, Xboxes, and TiVos represent the first wave of Internet-centered products that can’t be easily modified by anyone except their vendors or selected partners. These “tethered appliances” have already been used in remarkable but little-known ways: car GPS systems have been reconfigured at the demand of law enforcement to eavesdrop on the occupants at all times, and digital video recorders have been ordered to self-destruct thanks to a lawsuit against the manufacturer thousands of miles away. New Web 2.0 platforms like Google mash-ups and Facebook are rightly touted—but their applications can be similarly monitored and eliminated from a central source. As tethered appliances and applications eclipse the PC, the very nature of the Internet—its “generativity,” or innovative character—is at risk.

The Internet’s current trajectory is one of lost opportunity. Its salvation, Zittrain argues, lies in the hands of its millions of users. Drawing on generative technologies like Wikipedia that have so far survived their own successes, this book shows how to develop new technologies and social structures that allow users to work creatively and collaboratively, participate in solutions, and become true “netizens.”

Table of Contents
  • Part I The Rise and Stall of the Generative Net
  • 1 Battle of the Boxes
  • 2 Battle of the Networks
  • 3 Cybersecurity and the Generative Dilemma
  • Part II After the Stall
  • 4 The Generative Pattern
  • 5 Tethered Appliances, Software as Service, and Perfect Enforcement
  • 6 The Lessons of Wikipedia
  • 7 Stopping the Future of the Internet: Stability on a Generative Net
  • Part III Solutions
  • 8 Strategies for a Generative Future
  • 9 Meeting the Risks of Generativity: Privacy 2.0
  • Acknowledgments
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Index
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