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In this age of an open Internet, it is easy to forget that every American information industry, beginning with the telephone, has eventually been taken captive by some ruthless monopoly or cartel. With all our media now traveling a single network, an unprecedented potential is building for centralized control over what Americans see and hear. Could history repeat itself with the next industrial consolidation? Could the Internet—the entire flow of American information—come to be ruled by one corporate leviathan in possession of “the master switch”? That is the big question of Tim Wu’s pathbreaking book.
As Wu’s sweeping history shows, each of the new media of the twentieth century—radio, telephone, television, and film—was born free and open. Each invited unrestricted use and enterprising experiment until some would-be mogul battled his way to total domination. Here are stories of an uncommon will to power, the power over information: Adolph Zukor, who took a technology once used as commonly as YouTube is today and made it the exclusive prerogative of a kingdom called Hollywood . . . NBC’s founder, David Sarnoff, who, to save his broadcast empire from disruptive visionaries, bullied one inventor (of electronic television) into alcoholic despair and another (this one of FM radio, and his boyhood friend) into suicide . . . And foremost, Theodore Vail, founder of the Bell System, the greatest information empire of all time, and a capitalist whose faith in Soviet-style central planning set the course of every information industry thereafter.
Continue reading “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires”
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Step-by-step guidance on building a six-legged insect-like walking robot
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An inside look at who’s watching you, what they know and why it matters. We are being watched.
We see online ads from websites we’ve visited, long after we’ve moved on to other interests. Our smartphones and cars transmit our location, enabling us to know what’s in the neighborhood but also enabling others to track us. And the federal government, we recently learned, has been conducting a massive data-gathering surveillance operation across the Internet and on our phone lines.
Continue reading “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance”
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Carl Von Clausewitz described the purpose of war as "the compulsory submission of the enemy to our will." Unlike conventional military conflicts of the past, war in the information age is more a battle of wills than artillery, and doesn't necessarily end with decisive conclusions or clear winners. Cyber warfare between nations is conducted not only without the consent or participation of citizens but often without their knowledge, with little to see in the way of airstrikes and troop movements.
The weapons are information systems, intelligence, propaganda and the media. The combatants are governments, multinational corporations, hackers and whistleblowers. The battlefields are economies, command and control networks, election outcomes and the hearts and minds of populations. As with Russia's bloodless 2014 annexation of the Crimea, the cyberwar is fought before the infantry arrives. Written by a United States intelligence community insider, this book describes the covert aspects of modern wars and the agencies who fund and fight them.
Chapters: Non-Disclosure Agreement, Research and Analysis Wing, Biometric Passport, Wikileaks, Classified Information, Passenger Name Record, Classified Information in the United Kingdom, Cyber Spying, Aviation Research Centre, Security Breach Notification Laws, Director of the National Clandestine Service, Titan Rain, Traffic Light Protocol, Extended Access Control, Z-Division, Operation Leech, Faa 1600.2, Rcis. Source: Wikipedia. Pages: 119. Not illustrated. Free updates online. Purchase includes a free trial membership in the publisher’s book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Excerpt: The Radio Research Center Electronics
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