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An Independent and New Statesman Book of the Year
Beyond the familiar online world that most of us inhabit—a world of Google, Facebook, and Twitter—lies a vast and often hidden network of sites, communities, and cultures where freedom is pushed to its limits, and where people can be anyone, or do anything, they want. This is the world of Bitcoin and Silk Road, of radicalism and pornography. This is the Dark Net.
Continue reading “The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld”
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2015 FINANCIAL TIMES AND MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR
A New York Times technology and business reporter charts the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and the fascinating personalities who are striving to create a new global money for the Internet age.
Continue reading “Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money”
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In Ruling the Root, Milton Mueller uses the theoretical framework of institutional
economics to analyze the global policy and governance problems created by the assignment of Internet
domain names and addresses. "The root" is the top of the domain name hierarchy and the Internet
address space. It is the only point of centralized control in what is otherwise a distributed and
voluntaristic network of networks. Both domain names and IP numbers are valuable resources, and
their assignment on a coordinated basis is essential to the technical operation of the Internet.
Mueller explains how control of the root is being leveraged to control the Internet itself in such
key areas as trademark and copyright protection, surveillance of users, content regulation, and
regulation of the domain name supply industry.Control of the root originally resided in an
informally organized technical elite comprised mostly of American computer scientists. As the
Internet became commercialized and domain name registration became a profitable business, a six-year
struggle over property rights and the control of the root broke out among Internet technologists,
business and intellectual property interests, international organizations, national governments, and
advocates of individual rights. By the late 1990s, it was apparent that only a new international
institution could resolve conflicts among the factions in the domain name wars. Mueller recounts the
fascinating process that led to the formation of a new international regime around ICANN, the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. In the process, he shows how the vaunted
freedom and openness of the Internet is being diminished by the institutionalization of the
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Internet influye en nuestras vidas y en nuestras costumbres, en la forma de buscar información, de entretenernos, de comunicarnos y por supuesto ha hecho que aparezcan nuevas formas de comprar y vender bienes y servicios de todo tipo. Estos cambios comportan grandes beneficios, no sólo para los usuarios sino también para las empresas que han encontrado grandes oportunidades en los desarrollos de las comunicaciones. Estas tecnologías están al alcance tanto de las grandes empresas como de las pequeñas. Cualquiera de estos adelantos puede estar al alcance de otras empresas o clientes potenciales dispersos alrededor del mundo. De este modo, se han desarrollado un gran número de operaciones comerciales. Pero así como crecen los beneficios, esta nueva realidad presenta un desafío para las autoridades fiscales, puesto que es difícil crear un sistema legal-impositivo adecuado a los nuevos tipo de comercio. El comercio electrónico va creciendo cada día, puesto que es una forma cómoda y rápida de adquirir lo que necesitamos sin movernos de casa, aunque crece poco a poco debido a la inseguridad social en este método.
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Celebrants and skeptics alike have produced valuable analyses of the Internet’s effect on us and our world, oscillating between utopian bliss and dystopian hell. But according to Robert W. McChesney, arguments on both sides fail to address the relationship between economic power and the digital world.
McChesney’s award-winning Rich Media, Poor Democracy skewered the assumption that a society drenched in commercial information is a democratic one. In Digital Disconnect McChesney returns to this provocative thesis in light of the advances of the digital age, incorporating capitalism into the heart of his analysis. He argues that the sharp decline in the enforcement of antitrust violations, the increase in patents on digital technology and proprietary systems, and other policies and massive indirect subsidies have made the Internet a place of numbing commercialism. A small handful of monopolies now dominate the political economy, from Google, which garners an astonishing 97 percent share of the mobile search market, to Microsoft, whose operating system is used by over 90 percent of the world’s computers. This capitalistic colonization of the Internet has spurred the collapse of credible journalism, and made the Internet an unparalleled apparatus for government and corporate surveillance, and a disturbingly anti-democratic force.
Continue reading “Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy”