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.
Explaining how invention begets industry and industry begets empire—a progress often blessed by government, typically with stifling consequences for free expression and technical innovation alike—Wu identifies a time-honored pattern in the maneuvers of today’s great information powers: Apple, Google, and an eerily resurgent AT&T. A battle royal looms for the Internet’s future, and with almost every aspect of our lives now dependent on that network, this is one war we dare not tune out.
Part industrial exposé, part meditation on what freedom requires in the information age, The Master Switch is a stirring illumination of a drama that has played out over decades in the shadows of our national life and now culminates with terrifying implications for our future.
All political and military conflicts now have a cyber dimension, the size and impact of which are difficult to predict. Internet-enabled propaganda, espionage and attacks on critical infrastructure can target decision makers, weapons systems and citizens in general, during times of peace or war. Traditional threats to national security now have a digital delivery mechanism which would increase the speed, diffusion and power of an attack. There have been no true cyber wars to date, but cyber battles of great consequence are easy to find. This book is divided into two sections – Strategic Viewpoints and Technical Challenges & Solutions – and highlights the growing connection between computer security and national security.
IOS Press is an international science, technical and medical publisher of high-quality books for academics, scientists, and professionals in all fields.
Some of the areas we publish in:
-Databases and information systems
-All aspects of physics
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-Understanding and responding to terrorism
This book argues that Network Centric Warfare (NCW) influences how developed militaries operate in the same fashion that an operating system influences the development of computer software.
It examines three inter-related issues: the overwhelming military power of the United States; the growing influence of NCW on military thinking; and the centrality of coalition operations in modern military endeavours. Irrespective of terrorist threats and local insurgencies, the present international structure is remarkably stable – none of the major powers seeks to alter the system from its present liberal character, as demonstrated by the lack of a military response to US military primacy. This primacy privileges the American military doctrine and thus the importance of NCW, which promises a future of rapid, precise, and highly efficient operations, but also a future predicated on the ‘digitization’ of the battle space. Participation in future American-led military endeavours will require coalition partners to be networked: ‘interoperability’ will therefore be a key consideration of a partner’s strategic worth.
Network Centric Warfare and Coalition Operations will be of great interest to students of strategic studies, international security, US foreign policy and international relations in general.
With Twitter revolutions, state-sponsored hacking and the Stuxnet virus driving rapid change in the cyber-age battlefield, this World Politics Review special report examines the state of cyber power through articles published in the past year.