The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation (Hardcover)
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When the tech platforms promised a future of "connection," they were lying. They said their "walled gardens" would keep us safe, but those were prison walls.
The platforms locked us into their systems and made us easy pickings, ripe for extraction. Twitter, Facebook and other Big Tech platforms hard to leave by design. They hold hostage the people we love, the communities that matter to us, the audiences and customers we rely on. The impossibility of staying connected to these people after you delete your account has nothing to do with technological limitations: it's a business strategy in service to commodifying your personal life and relationships.
We can - we must - dismantle the tech platforms. In The Internet Con, Cory Doctorow explains how to seize the means of computation, by forcing Silicon Valley to do the thing it fears most: interoperate. Interoperability will tear down the walls between technologies, allowing users leave platforms, remix their media, and reconfigure their devices without corporate permission.
Interoperability is the only route to the rapid and enduring annihilation of the platforms. The Internet Con is the disassembly manual we need to take back our internet.
About the Author
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist and journalist. He is the author of many books, most recently RADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults; HOW TODESTROY SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM, nonfiction about monopoly and conspiracy; INREAL LIFE, a graphic novel; and the picture book POESY THE MONSTER SLAYER. His latest book is ATTACK SURFACE, a stand alone adult sequel to LITTLE BROTHER. In 2020, he was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate, is a Visiting Professorof Computer Science at Open University, a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of North Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group.
"This book fills me with hope that a radical yet plausible alternative to computational tyranny can be developed and deployed. Indeed, demanding interoperability from today's tech monopolitists-or imposing it by force when they refuse-is the most actionable strategy I've yet encountered for turning our devices from tools of repression to ones of emancipation"
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Survival of the Fittest
"Thoughtfully written and patiently presented, The Internet Con explains how the promise of a free and open internet was lost to predatory business practices and the rush to commodify every aspect of our lives. An essential read for anyone that wants to understand how we lost control of our digital spaces and infrastructure to Silicon Valley’s tech giants, and how we can start fighting to get it back."
—Tim Maughan, author of INFINITE DETAIL
"Nobody gets the internet-both the nuts and bolts that make it hum and the laws that shaped it into the mess it is-quite like Cory, and no one's better qualified to deliver us a user manual for fixing it. That's The Internet Con: a rousing, imaginative, and accessible treatise for correcting our curdled online world. If you care about the internet, get ready to dedicate yourself to making interoperability a reality.'"
—Brian Merchant, author of Blood in the Machine
"This book is the instruction manual Big Tech doesn't want you to read. It deconstructs their crummy products, undemocratic business models, rigged legal regimes, and lies. Crack this book and help build something better."
—Astra Taylor, author of Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When Its Gone
"A brilliant barn burner of a book. Cory is one of the sharpest tech critics, and he shows with fierce clarity how our computational future could be otherwise"
—Kate Crawford, author of The Atlas of AI
"One of the Internet's most interesting writers"
"One of our most important science fiction writers"
—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future
"Doctorow has been thinking longer and smarter than anyone else I know about how we create and exchange value in a digital age."
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock
"Journalist and novelist Doctorow (Red Team Blues) details a plan for how to break up Big Tech in this impassioned and perceptive manifesto….Doctorow's sense of urgency is contagious."
"A meaty manifesto."