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Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion

Book Description

Every day, billions of photographs, news stories, songs, X-rays, TV shows, phone calls, and emails are being scattered around the world as sequences of zeroes and ones: bits. We can’t escape this explosion of digital information and few of us want to–the benefits are too seductive. The technology has enabled unprecedented innovation, collaboration, entertainment, and democratic participation.

But the same engineering marvels are shattering centuries-old assumptions about privacy, identity, free expression, and personal control as more and more details of our lives are captured as digital data.

Can you control who sees all that personal information about you? Can email be truly confidential, when nothing seems to be private? Shouldn’t the Internet be censored the way radio and TV are? Is it really a federal crime to download music? When you use Google or Yahoo! to search for something, how do they decide which sites to show you? Do you still have free speech in the digital world? Do you have a voice in shaping government or corporate policies about any of this?

Blown to Bits offers provocative answers to these questions and tells intriguing real-life stories. This book is a wake-up call to the human consequences of the digital explosion.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. More Advance Praise for Blown to Bits
  3. Preface
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. About the Authors
  6. 1. Digital Explosion: Why Is It Happening, and What Is at Stake?
    1. The Explosion of Bits, and Everything Else
    2. The Koans of Bits
      1. Koan 1: It’s All Just Bits
      2. Koan 2: Perfection Is Normal
      3. Koan 3: There Is Want in the Midst of Plenty
      4. Koan 4: Processing Is Power
      5. Koan 5: More of the Same Can Be a Whole New Thing
      6. Koan 6: Nothing Goes Away
      7. Koan 7: Bits Move Faster Than Thought
    3. Good and Ill, Promise and Peril
      1. Technology Is Neither Good nor Bad
      2. New Technologies Bring Both Risks and Opportunities
  7. 2. Naked in the Sunlight: Privacy Lost, Privacy Abandoned
    1. 1984 Is Here, and We Like It
    2. Footprints and Fingerprints
      1. Smile While We Snap!
      2. Knowing Where You Are
      3. Knowing Even Where Your Shoes Are
      4. Black Boxes Are Not Just for Airplanes Anymore
      5. Tracing Paper
      6. The Parking Garage Knows More Than You Think
      7. All in Your Pocket
      8. Connecting the Dots
    3. Why We Lost Our Privacy, or Gave It Away
      1. Saving Time
      2. Saving Money
      3. Convenience of the Customer
      4. It’s Just Fun to Be Exposed
      5. Because You Can’t Live Any Other Way
    4. Little Brother Is Watching
      1. Public Documents Become VERY Public
      2. Idle Curiosity
    5. Big Brother, Abroad and in the U.S.
      1. You Pay for the Mike, We’ll Just Listen In
      2. Identifying Citizens—Without ID Cards
      3. Friendly Cooperation Between Big Siblings
    6. Technology Change and Lifestyle Change
      1. Credit Card Culture
      2. Email Culture
      3. Web Culture
    7. Beyond Privacy
      1. Leave Me Alone
      2. Privacy and Freedom
      3. Fair Information Practice Principles
      4. Privacy as a Right to Control Information
      5. Always On
  8. 3. Ghosts in the Machine: Secrets and Surprises of Electronic Documents
    1. What You See Is Not What the Computer Knows
      1. Tracking Changes—and Forgetting That They Are Remembered
      2. Saved Information About a Document
      3. Can the Leaks Be Stopped?
    2. Representation, Reality, and Illusion
      1. What Is the Right Representation?
      2. Reducing Data, Sometimes Without Losing Information
      3. Technological Birth and Death
      4. Data Formats as Public Property
    3. Hiding Information in Images
      1. The Spam Wars
      2. Hiding Information in Plain Sight
    4. The Scary Secrets of Old Disks
      1. What Happens to the Data in Deleted Files?
      2. Can Data Be Deleted Permanently?
      3. How Long Will Data Really Last?
  9. 4. Needles in the Haystack: Google and Other Brokers in the Bits Bazaar
    1. Found After Seventy Years
    2. The Library and the Bazaar
      1. Forbidden Knowledge Is Only a Click Away
    3. The Fall of Hierarchy
    4. It Matters How It Works
      1. Step 1: Gather Information
      2. Step 2: Keep Copies
      3. Step 3: Build an Index
      4. Step 4: Understand the Query
      5. Step 5: Determine Relevance
      6. Step 6: Determine Ranking
      7. Step 7: Presenting Results
    5. Who Pays, and for What?
      1. Commercial-Free Search
      2. Placements, Clicks, and Auctions
      3. Uncle Sam Takes Note
      4. Google Finds Balance Without Compromise
      5. Banned Ads
    6. Search Is Power
      1. Algorithmic Does Not Mean Unbiased
      2. Not All Search Engines Are Equal
      3. Search Results Can Be Manipulated
      4. Search Engines Don’t See Everything
      5. Search Control and Mind Control
    7. You Searched for WHAT? Tracking Searches
    8. Regulating or Replacing the Brokers
  10. 5. Secret Bits: How Codes Became Unbreakable
    1. Encryption in the Hands of Terrorists, and Everyone Else
      1. Why Not Regulate Encryption?
    2. Historical Cryptography
      1. Breaking Substitution Ciphers
      2. Secret Keys and One-Time Pads
    3. Lessons for the Internet Age
      1. Breakthroughs Happen, but News Travels Slowly
      2. Confidence Is Good, but Certainty Would Be Better
      3. Having a Good System Doesn’t Mean People Will Use It
      4. The Enemy Knows Your System
    4. Secrecy Changes Forever
      1. The Key Agreement Protocol
      2. Public Keys for Private Messages
      3. Digital Signatures
      4. RSA
      5. Certificates and Certification Authorities
    5. Cryptography for Everyone
    6. Cryptography Unsettled
  11. 6. Balance Toppled: Who Owns the Bits?
    1. Automated Crimes—Automated Justice
      1. 26,000 Lawsuits in Five Years
      2. The High Stakes for Infringement
    2. NET Act Makes Sharing a Crime
    3. The Peer-to-Peer Upheaval
      1. The Specter of Secondary Liability
    4. Sharing Goes Decentralized
      1. No Safe Harbors
      2. A Question of Intent
    5. Authorized Use Only
      1. Digital Rights and Trusted Systems
      2. Asserting Control Beyond the Bounds of Copyright
    6. Forbidden Technology
      1. Copyright Protection or Competition Avoidance?
      2. The Face of Technology Lock-in
    7. Copyright Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance
      1. Late to the Table
      2. Toward De-Escalation
    8. The Limits of Property
      1. Learning To Fly Through the Digital Clouds
  12. 7. You Can’t Say That on the Internet: Guarding the Frontiers of Digital Expression
    1. Do You Know Where Your Child Is on the Web Tonight?
    2. Metaphors for Something Unlike Anything Else
    3. Publisher or Distributor?
    4. Neither Liberty nor Security
    5. The Nastiest Place on Earth
    6. The Most Participatory Form of Mass Speech
    7. Protecting Good Samaritans—and a Few Bad Ones
    8. Laws of Unintended Consequences
    9. Can the Internet Be Like a Magazine Store?
    10. Let Your Fingers Do the Stalking
    11. Like an Annoying Telephone Call?
    12. Digital Protection, Digital Censorship—and Self-Censorship
  13. 8. Bits in the Air: Old Metaphors, New Technologies, and Free Speech
    1. Censoring the President
    2. How Broadcasting Became Regulated
      1. From Wireless Telegraph to Wireless Chaos
      2. Radio Waves in Their Channels
      3. The Spectrum Nationalized
      4. Goat Glands and the First Amendment
    3. The Path to Spectrum Deregulation
      1. From a Few Bullhorns to Millions of Whispers
      2. Can We Just Divide the Property Differently?
      3. Sharing the Spectrum
      4. The Most Beautiful Inventor in the World
      5. Channel Capacity
      6. Power, Signal, Noise, and Bandwidth
      7. One Man’s Signal Is Another Man’s Noise
      8. Spectrum Deregulated
    4. What Does the Future Hold for Radio?
      1. What If Radios Were Smart?
      2. But Do We Want the Digital Explosion?
      3. How Much Government Regulation Is Needed?
  14. Conclusion: After the Explosion
    1. Bits Lighting Up the World
      1. Privacy and Personhood
      2. What Can We Say, and Who Will Be Listening?
      3. A Creative Explosion, or a Legal Explosion?
    2. A Few Bits in Conclusion
  15. The Internet as System and Spirit
    1. The Internet as a Communication System
      1. Packet Switching
      2. Core and Edge
      3. IP Addresses
      4. The Key to It All: Passing Packets
      5. Protocols
      6. The Reliability of the Internet
    2. The Internet Spirit
      1. The Hourglass
      2. Layers, Not Silos
      3. End to End
      4. Separate Content and Carrier
      5. Clean Interfaces
  16. Endnotes