Business book recommendation: Pax Technica, by Philip Howard
Should we fear or welcome the internet’s evolution? The question for which the author provides us with more insights: http://paxtechnica.org/
Within a few years, a “world of connected devices” will surround us. The Internet of Things (IoT) will go beyond computers and phones, to include household and other goods, such as clothing and appliances, all working in a connected network that is invisible to the individual user. Objects will communicate and operate without humans knowing it. Information technology is now central to all aspects of life. People must work with it to create the future they want.
As people gain web access, they seek more data, especially during crises. By 2020, essentially everyone in the world will be online. A growing percentage of those online are digital natives. As of 2010, more than half the people online were born after the emergence of the Internet. Many new users are young and live in Asia or Africa, often in “failed, fragile states.” Western nations and corporations control most of the global information infrastructure. Groups with the largest networks of devices gather the most data on people and control how people and devices relate.
Networked devices let people record instances of abuse, so digital free speech fosters social freedom. Though whistle-blowers can generate social instability, they’ve become essential for exposing abuses and, therefore, they deserve protection. Citizens of democratic countries should hold their governments responsible for managing the information infrastructure to serve their interests. Nations must build open networks of devices.
People should have more control over what corporations and governments can do with their personal information. They should know what data exist about them, who uses them and who benefits from them.
Governments should promote open systems and practice transparent information policies. Society should extend network access to people who lack it. Open societies should limit how much technology they export to authoritarian regimes and shouldn’t sell high tech equipment that enables the actions of criminals and dictators.