Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig argues that cyberspace is not inherently a libertarian's dream come true. The architecture underlying cyberspace determines its character. If and when that architecture is changed, cyberspace can become highly regulated. Already issues of privacy and tracking are of major concern. Lessig explains how cyberspace is evolving. A must-read for those interested in the laws surrounding cyberspace, as well as concerned private citizens.
Code and Other Laws of CyberspaceLawrence Lessig makes the case that important gains in liberty promoted by the Internet, such as freedom of speech, are now at risk. Code is both mind expanding and entertaining.
Harvard Business Review
[T]his brilliant, scholarly but eminently readable
examination of the laws, rules and customs that govern the Internet
should be required reading for anyone who spends more than a few
minutes a week online.
Code, Lessig's seminal examination of the interrelationships among the Internet, privacy, and intellectual property, was published in 2000. It invigorated scholars of constitutional law with a fresh perspective on the nature, level, and extent of technology's reach into the realm of jurisprudence. Now this work has been collaboratively revised: Lessig (founder, Ctr. for the Internet & Society, Stanford Univ. Law Sch.; The Future of Ideas) and his readers call the shots alongside one another, with readers editing the original text via the author's wiki. The thesis of 2.0remains essentially the same: the Internet's infrastructure will become increasingly controlled and regulable through digital identity technologies, enabling a partnership between government and commerce that will shape the characteristics and determine the boundaries of cyberspace in a manner favorable to these two powerful forces of social order. Drawing upon and expanding the works of first-generation cyberspace theorists, Lessig foresees an extension of control and regulation that cybernauts of the 1990s would have found Orwellian. He also delineates the legal and ethical values inherent within three major categories increasingly under assault by the nontraditional vagaries of cyberspace: privacy protection, free speech, and intellectual property rights. His solution here is the creation of a creative or intellectual Commons, a resource that anyone within a relevant community can use without seeking the permission of anyone else. Highly recommended for academic libraries and legal collections.
Philip Y. Blue
"Lessig's exposition reads like a Stanley Kubrick film, with the menace made palpable by new technologies…It is a troubling book, and one that needs to be taken seriously."
-- Daniel Bell, author of The Coming of Post-Industrial Society
"This may be the most important book ever published about the Internet, as well as one of the most readable. Lessig's ideas are deep and insightful, and they will shape the way the future develops. He is a master at seeing the important ideas lurking behind things we all take for granted."
--Mark A. Lemley, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkley
"Lessig's book is an astonishing achievement. The nation's leading scholar of cyberspace has produced a paradigm-shifting work that will transform the debate about the architecture of cyberspace. Lessig challenges us to make choices about freedom, privacy, intellectual property, and technology that most of us didn't recognize as choices in the first place."
--Jeffrey Rosen, Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic
In Code, the Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, freshly
famous from his role as friend of the court in the Microsoft antitrust suit,
makes an alarming and impassioned claim: that the Internet will indeed
soon be regulated. ''Left to itself,'' he says, ''cyberspace will become a
perfect tool of control'' -- not by the government, which he characterizes
as clueless and inadequate, but by software programmers. In a book
that's sometimes as brilliant as the best teacher you ever had, sometimes
as pretentious as a deconstructionists' conference, Lessig plays digital
Cassandra: he predicts that the Internet will become a monster that
tracks our every move, but that nobody will heed his warning.
The New York Times Book Review