The internet has the potential to help society build the greatest global democracy with lofty ideals of freedom, and the capacity to facilitate the most authoritarian of surveillance states. One of the defining philosophical clashes of our age will be whether the original open model of the web prevails against a whole stack of challenges lining up against it. The technology and legal frameworks in place to track paedophiles and terrorists can be used to track dissidents and protesters. Apple and Facebook are building walled gardens of apps and information that they act as gatekeepers for, and which Google cannot index to make searchable. The debate over the value and protection of intellectual property is not just about the business model of the US film industry, but can be about the very software and systems that underpin the network.
This ebook gathers together a series of articles and essays published by the Guardian in April 2012 looking at the battle for the internet. You'll find comment from lauded digital thinkers like Cory Doctorow, Aleks Krotosky and Clay Shirky, and passionate advocates for software and computer freedom like Richard Stallmann and Jonathan Zittrain. There are pieces exploring the perspective in Tallinn, Moscow and Beijing, and Guardian journalists Charles Arthur and James Ball unravelling the complex arguments around software patents and the storage of personal data by web giants like Google and Facebook. And no book on the topic of the internet would be complete without the thoughts of Sir Tim Berners-Lee.