Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up

Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up

by Philip N. Howard
Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up

Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up

by Philip N. Howard


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A foremost digital expert looks at the most powerful political tool ever created—the internet of things. Will it be like the internet of surveillance and censorship we have now, or will it be something better?

Should we fear or welcome the internet’s evolution? The “internet of things” is the rapidly growing network of everyday objects—eyeglasses, cars, thermostats—made smart with sensors and internet addresses. Soon we will live in a pervasive yet invisible network of everyday objects that communicate with one another. In this original and provocative book, Philip N. Howard envisions a new world order emerging from this great transformation in the technologies around us.
Howard calls this new era a Pax Technica. He looks to a future of global stability built upon device networks with immense potential for empowering citizens, making government transparent, and broadening information access. Howard cautions, however, that privacy threats are enormous, as is the potential for social control and political manipulation. Drawing on evidence from around the world, he illustrates how the internet of things can be used to repress and control people. Yet he also demonstrates that if we actively engage with the governments and businesses building the internet of things, we have a chance to build a new kind of internet—and a more open society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300199475
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 04/28/2015
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Philip N. Howard is a professor and author of seven books, including Democracy’s Fourth Wave? and The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.  He is a frequent commentator on the impact of technology on political life, contributing to, and other media outlets.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction xix

1 Empire of Connected Things 1

Carna Surveils the Realm 2

What's in a Pax? 4

The Demographics of Diffusion 8

Information Technology and the New World Order 11

Pax Romana, Britannica, Americana 14

The Balaceras of Monterrey 17

The Internet Is Also a Surveillance State 22

The Wars Only Bots Will Fight 27

The Political Empire of Connected Things 33

2 Internet Interregnum 37

Discovering the UglyGorilla 38

Devices of Hope 42

The Demographics of Diffusion 44

The Zapatistas Reboot History 47

From Gold to Bits 53

States Don't Own It, Though They Fight Hard to Control It 56

A New Kind of New Order 59

But It's Not a Westphalian-or Feudal-World 62

3 New Maps for the New World 67

Mapping Hispaniola 68

Dictators and Dirty Networks 71

Mubarak's Choice 73

We Are All Laila 75

Governments, Bad and Fake 79

The Dictator's Digital Dilemma 84

Finding Kibera 88

Dirty Networks, Collapsing 91

The Democracy of Devices 99

4 Five Premises for the Pax Technica 107

Learning from the Internet Interregnum 108

First Premise: The Internet of Things Is Being Weaponized 112

Second Premise: People Use Devices to Govern 119

Third Premise: Digital Networks Weaken Ideologies 123

Fourth Premise: Social Media Solve Collective Action Problems 136

Fifth Premise: Big Data Backs Human Security 139

Defining the Pax Technica 145

5 Five Consequences of the Pax Technica 148

Empire of Bits-A Scenario 149

First Consequence: Networked Devices and the Stability of Cyberdeterrence 153

Second Consequence: Governance Through the Internet of Things 157

Third Consequence: From a Clash of Civilizations to a Competition Between Device Networks 162

Fourth Consequence: Connective Action and Crypto Clans 168

Fifth Consequence: Connective Security and Quality of Life 175

The Downside of Connective Security 179

6 Network Competition and the Challenges Ahead 183

My Girlfriend Went Shopping… in China 184

Authoritarian, but Social 196

Bots and Simulations 202

DRM for the Material World? 211

Other Challenges (That Are Lesser Challenges) 214

The Downside of Up 218

Rival Devices on Competing Networks 220

7 Building a Democracy of Our Own Devices 224

Your Coffee Betrays You 225

Internet Succession: Computers, Mobiles, Things 229

The World Ahead 232

The Hope and Instability of Hackers and Whistle Blowers 235

Firing the Social Scientists-and Training New Ones 240

Putting the Civic into the Internet of Things, Domestically 242

Device Networks and Foreign Affairs 249

How Can You Thrive in the Pax Technica? 254

The Promise of the Pax 255

Notes 259

Glossary 293

Acknowledgments 299

Index 303

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