Laura DeNardis

Laura DeNardis is a Professor in the School of Communication at American University, Washington, D.C., and the coauthor of Information Technology in Theory.

  • Opening Standards

    Opening Standards

    The Global Politics of Interoperability

    Laura DeNardis

    The economic and political stakes in the current heated debates over “openness” and open standards in the Internet's architecture.

    Openness is not a given on the Internet. Technical standards—the underlying architecture that enables interoperability among hardware and software from different manufacturers—increasingly control individual freedom and the pace of innovation in technology markets. Heated battles rage over the very definition of “openness” and what constitutes an open standard in information and communication technologies. In Opening Standards, experts from industry, academia, and public policy explore just what is at stake in these controversies, considering both economic and political implications of open standards. The book examines the effect of open standards on innovation, on the relationship between interoperability and public policy (and if government has a responsibility to promote open standards), and on intellectual property rights in standardization—an issue at the heart of current global controversies. Finally, Opening Standards recommends a framework for defining openness in twenty-first-century information infrastructures.

    Contributors discuss such topics as how to reflect the public interest in the private standards-setting process; why open standards have a beneficial effect on competition and Internet freedom; the effects of intellectual property rights on standards openness; and how to define standard, open standard, and software interoperability.

    • Hardcover $7.75 £5.99
  • Protocol Politics

    Protocol Politics

    The Globalization of Internet Governance

    Laura DeNardis

    What are the global implications of the looming shortage of Internet addresses and the slow deployment of the new IPv6 protocol designed to solve this problem?

    The Internet has reached a critical point. The world is running out of Internet addresses. There is a finite supply of approximately 4.3 billion Internet Protocol (IP) addresses—the unique binary numbers required for every exchange of information over the Internet—within the Internet's prevailing technical architecture (IPv4). In the 1990s the Internet standards community selected a new protocol (IPv6) that would expand the number of Internet addresses exponentially—to 340 undecillion addresses. Despite a decade of predictions about imminent global conversion, IPv6 adoption has barely begun.

    Protocol Politics examines what's at stake politically, economically, and technically in the selection and adoption of a new Internet protocol. Laura DeNardis's key insight is that protocols are political. IPv6 intersects with provocative topics including Internet civil liberties, US military objectives, globalization, institutional power struggles, and the promise of global democratic freedoms. DeNardis offers recommendations for Internet standards governance, based not only on technical concerns but on principles of openness and transparency, and examines the global implications of looming Internet address scarcity versus the slow deployment of the new protocol designed to solve this problem.

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Contributor

  • Hacker States

    Luca Follis and Adam Fish

    How hackers and hacking moved from being a target of the state to a key resource for the expression and deployment of state power.

    In this book, Luca Follis and Adam Fish examine the entanglements between hackers and the state, showing how hackers and hacking moved from being a target of state law enforcement to a key resource for the expression and deployment of state power. Follis and Fish trace government efforts to control the power of the internet; the prosecution of hackers and leakers (including such well-known cases as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Anonymous); and the eventual rehabilitation of hackers who undertake “ethical hacking” for the state. Analyzing the evolution of the state's relationship to hacking, they argue that state-sponsored hacking ultimately corrodes the rule of law and offers unchecked advantage to those in power, clearing the way for more authoritarian rule.

    Follis and Fish draw on a range of methodologies and disciplines, including ethnographic and digital archive methods from fields as diverse as anthropology, STS, and criminology. They propose a novel “boundary work” theoretical framework to articulate the relational approach to understanding state and hacker interactions advanced by the book. In the context of Russian bot armies, the rise of fake news and algorithmic opacity, they describe the political impact of leaks and hacks, partnerships with journalists in pursuit of transparency and accountability, the increasingly prominent use of extradition in hacking-related cases, and the privatization of hackers for hire.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £32.00
  • Weaving the Dark Web

    Weaving the Dark Web

    Legitimacy on Freenet, Tor, and I2P

    Robert W. Gehl

    An exploration of the Dark Web—websites accessible only with special routing software—that examines the history of three anonymizing networks, Freenet, Tor, and I2P.

    The term “Dark Web” conjures up drug markets, unregulated gun sales, stolen credit cards. But, as Robert Gehl points out in Weaving the Dark Web, for each of these illegitimate uses, there are other, legitimate ones: the New York Times's anonymous whistleblowing system, for example, and the use of encryption by political dissidents. Defining the Dark Web straightforwardly as websites that can be accessed only with special routing software, and noting the frequent use of “legitimate” and its variations by users, journalists, and law enforcement to describe Dark Web practices (judging them “legit” or “sh!t”), Gehl uses the concept of legitimacy as a window into the Dark Web. He does so by examining the history of three Dark Web systems: Freenet, Tor, and I2P. Gehl presents three distinct meanings of legitimate: legitimate force, or the state's claim to a monopoly on violence; organizational propriety; and authenticity. He explores how Freenet, Tor, and I2P grappled with these different meanings, and then discusses each form of legitimacy in detail by examining Dark Web markets, search engines, and social networking sites. Finally, taking a broader view of the Dark Web, Gehl argues for the value of anonymous political speech in a time of ubiquitous surveillance. If we shut down the Dark Web, he argues, we lose a valuable channel for dissent.

    • Hardcover $30.00 £25.00
  • Authors, Users, and Pirates

    Authors, Users, and Pirates

    Copyright Law and Subjectivity

    James Meese

    An examination of subjectivity in copyright law, analyzing authors, users, and pirates through a relational framework.

    In current debates over copyright law, the author, the user, and the pirate are almost always invoked. Some in the creative industries call for more legal protection for authors; activists and academics promote user rights and user-generated content; and online pirates openly challenge the strict enforcement of copyright law. In this book, James Meese offers a new way to think about these three central subjects of copyright law, proposing a relational framework that encompasses all three. Meese views authors, users, and pirates as interconnected subjects, analyzing them as a relational triad. He argues that addressing the relationships among the three subjects will shed light on how the key conceptual underpinnings of copyright law are justified in practice.

    Meese presents a series of historical and contemporary examples, from nineteenth-century cases of book abridgement to recent controversies over the reuse of Instagram photos. He not only considers the author, user, and pirate in terms of copyright law, but also explores the experiential element of subjectivity—how people understand and construct their own subjectivity in relation to these three subject positions. Meese maps the emergence of the author, user, and pirate over the first two centuries of copyright's existence; describes how regulation and technological limitations turned people from creators to consumers; considers relational authorship; explores practices in sampling, music licensing, and contemporary art; examines provisions in copyright law for user-generated content; and reimagines the pirate as an innovator.

    • Hardcover $35.00 £28.00
  • Protecting Children Online?

    Protecting Children Online?

    Cyberbullying Policies of Social Media Companies

    Tijana Milosevic

    A critical examination of efforts by social media companies—including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram—to rein in cyberbullying by young users.

    High-profile cyberbullying cases often trigger exaggerated public concern about children's use of social media. Large companies like Facebook respond by pointing to their existing anti-bullying mechanisms or coordinate with nongovernmental organizations to organize anti-cyberbullying efforts. Do these attempts at self-regulation work? In this book, Tijana Milosevic examines the effectiveness of efforts by social media companies—including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram—to rein in cyberbullying by young users. Milosevic analyzes the anti-bullying policies of fourteen major social media companies, as recorded in companies' corporate documents, draws on interviews with company representatives and e-safety experts, and details the roles of nongovernmental organizations examining their ability to provide critical independent advice. She draws attention to lack of transparency in how companies handle bullying cases, emphasizing the need for a continuous independent evaluation of effectiveness of companies' mechanisms, especially from children's perspective. Milosevic argues that cyberbullying should be viewed in the context of children's rights and as part of the larger social problem of the culture of humiliation.

    Milosevic looks into five digital bullying cases related to suicides, examining the pressures on the social media companies involved, the nature of the public discussion, and subsequent government regulation that did not necessarily address the problem in a way that benefits children. She emphasizes the need not only for protection but also for participation and empowerment—for finding a way to protect the vulnerable while ensuring the child's right to participate in digital spaces.

    • Hardcover $35.00 £28.00
  • Digital Countercultures and the Struggle for Community

    Digital Countercultures and the Struggle for Community

    Jessa Lingel

    How countercultural communities have made the Internet meet their needs, subverting established norms of digital technology use.

    Whether by accidental keystroke or deliberate tinkering, technology is often used in ways that are unintended and unimagined by its designers and inventors. In this book, Jessa Lingel offers an account of digital technology use that looks beyond Silicon Valley and college dropouts-turned-entrepreneurs. Instead, Lingel tells stories from the margins of countercultural communities that have made the Internet meet their needs, subverting established norms of how digital technologies should be used. Lingel presents three case studies that contrast the imagined uses of the web to its lived and often messy practicalities. She examines a social media platform (developed long before Facebook) for body modification enthusiasts, with early web experiments in blogging, community, wikis, online dating, and podcasts; a network of communication technologies (both analog and digital) developed by a local community of punk rockers to manage information about underground shows; and the use of Facebook and Instagram for both promotional and community purposes by Brooklyn drag queens. Drawing on years of fieldwork, Lingel explores issues of alterity and community, inclusivity and exclusivity, secrecy and surveillance, and anonymity and self-promotion.

    By examining online life in terms of countercultural communities, Lingel argues that looking at outsider experiences helps us to imagine new uses and possibilities for the tools and platforms we use in everyday life.

    • Hardcover $30.00 £25.00
  • The End of Ownership

    The End of Ownership

    Personal Property in the Digital Economy

    Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz

    An argument for retaining the notion of personal property in the products we “buy” in the digital marketplace.

    If you buy a book at the bookstore, you own it. You can take it home, scribble in the margins, put in on the shelf, lend it to a friend, sell it at a garage sale. But is the same thing true for the ebooks or other digital goods you buy? Retailers and copyright holders argue that you don't own those purchases, you merely license them. That means your ebook vendor can delete the book from your device without warning or explanation—as Amazon deleted Orwell's 1984 from the Kindles of surprised readers several years ago. These readers thought they owned their copies of 1984. Until, it turned out, they didn't. In The End of Ownership, Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz explore how notions of ownership have shifted in the digital marketplace, and make an argument for the benefits of personal property.

    Of course, ebooks, cloud storage, streaming, and other digital goods offer users convenience and flexibility. But, Perzanowski and Schultz warn, consumers should be aware of the tradeoffs involving user constraints, permanence, and privacy. The rights of private property are clear, but few people manage to read their end user agreements. Perzanowski and Schultz argue that introducing aspects of private property and ownership into the digital marketplace would offer both legal and economic benefits. But, most important, it would affirm our sense of self-direction and autonomy. If we own our purchases, we are free to make whatever lawful use of them we please. Technology need not constrain our freedom; it can also empower us.

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  • The World Made Meme

    The World Made Meme

    Public Conversations and Participatory Media

    Ryan M. Milner

    How memetic media—aggregate texts that are collectively created, circulated, and transformed—become a part of public conversations that shape broader cultural debates.

    Internet memes—digital snippets that can make a joke, make a point, or make a connection—are now a lingua franca of online life. They are collectively created, circulated, and transformed by countless users across vast networks. Most of us have seen the cat playing the piano, Kanye interrupting, Kanye interrupting the cat playing the piano. In The World Made Meme, Ryan Milner argues that memes, and the memetic process, are shaping public conversation. It's hard to imagine a major pop cultural or political moment that doesn't generate a constellation of memetic texts. Memetic media, Milner writes, offer participation by reappropriation, balancing the familiar and the foreign as new iterations intertwine with established ideas. New commentary is crafted by the mediated circulation and transformation of old ideas. Through memetic media, small strands weave together big conversations.

    Milner considers the formal and social dimensions of memetic media, and outlines five basic logics that structure them: multimodality, reappropriation, resonance, collectivism, and spread. He examines how memetic media both empower and exclude during public conversations, exploring the potential for public voice despite everyday antagonisms. Milner argues that memetic media enable the participation of many voices even in the midst of persistent inequality. This new kind of participatory conversation, he contends, complicates the traditional culture industries. When age-old gatekeepers intertwine with new ways of sharing information, the relationship between collective participation and individual expression becomes ambivalent.

    For better or worse—and Milner offers examples of both—memetic media have changed the nature of public conversations.

    • Hardcover $25.00 £20.00
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  • After Access

    After Access

    Inclusion, Development, and a More Mobile Internet

    Jonathan Donner

    An expert considers the effects of a more mobile Internet on socioeconomic development and digital inclusion, examining both potentialities and constraints.

    Almost anyone with a $40 mobile phone and a nearby cell tower can get online with an ease unimaginable just twenty years ago. An optimistic narrative has proclaimed the mobile phone as the device that will finally close the digital divide. Yet access and effective use are not the same thing, and the digital world does not run on mobile handsets alone. In After Access, Jonathan Donner examines the implications of the shift to a more mobile, more available Internet for the global South, particularly as it relates to efforts to promote socioeconomic development and broad-based inclusion in the global information society.

    Drawing on his own research in South Africa and India, as well as the burgeoning literature from the ICT4D (Internet and Communication Technologies for Development) and mobile communication communities, Donner introduces the “After Access Lens,” a conceptual framework for understanding effective use of the Internet by those whose “digital repertoires” contain exclusively mobile devices. Donner argues that both the potentialities and constraints of the shift to a more mobile Internet are important considerations for scholars and practitioners interested in Internet use in the global South.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £32.00
  • Pirate Politics

    Pirate Politics

    The New Information Policy Contests

    Patrick Burkart

    An examination of the Pirate political movement in Europe analyzes its advocacy for free expression and the preservation of the Internet as a commons.

    The Swedish Pirate Party emerged as a political force in 2006 when a group of software programmers and file-sharing geeks protested the police takedown of The Pirate Bay, a Swedish file-sharing search engine. The Swedish Pirate Party, and later the German Pirate Party, came to be identified with a “free culture” message that came into conflict with the European Union's legal system. In this book, Patrick Burkart examines the emergence of Pirate politics as an umbrella cyberlibertarian movement that views file sharing as a form of free expression and advocates for the preservation of the Internet as a commons. He links the Pirate movement to the Green movement, arguing that they share a moral consciousness and an explicit ecological agenda based on the notion of a commons, or public domain. The Pirate parties, like the Green Party, must weigh ideological purity against pragmatism as they move into practical national and regional politics.

    Burkart uses second-generation critical theory and new social movement theory as theoretical perspectives for his analysis of the democratic potential of Pirate politics. After setting the Pirate parties in conceptual and political contexts, Burkart examines European antipiracy initiatives, the influence of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the pressure exerted on European governance by American software and digital exporters. He argues that pirate politics can be seen as “cultural environmentalism,” a defense of Internet culture against both corporate and state colonization.

    • Hardcover $6.75 £5.99
  • Technologies of Choice?

    Technologies of Choice?

    ICTs, Development, and the Capabilities Approach

    Dorothea Kleine

    A new framework for assessing the role of information and communication technologies in development that draws on Amartya Sen's capabilities approach.

    Information and communication technologies (ICTs)—especially the Internet and the mobile phone—have changed the lives of people all over the world. These changes affect not just the affluent populations of income-rich countries but also disadvantaged people in both global North and South, who may use free Internet access in telecenters and public libraries, chat in cybercafes with distant family members, and receive information by text message or email on their mobile phones. Drawing on Amartya Sen's capabilities approach to development—which shifts the focus from economic growth to a more holistic, freedom-based idea of human development—Dorothea Kleine in Technologies of Choice? examines the relationship between ICTs, choice, and development.

    Kleine proposes a conceptual framework, the Choice Framework, that can be used to analyze the role of technologies in development processes. She applies the Choice Framework to a case study of microentrepreneurs in a rural community in Chile. Kleine combines ethnographic research at the local level with interviews with national policy makers, to contrast the high ambitions of Chile's pioneering ICT policies with the country's complex social and economic realities. She examines three key policies of Chile's groundbreaking Agenda Digital: public access, digital literacy, and an online procurement system. The policy lesson we can learn from Chile's experience, Kleine concludes, is the necessity of measuring ICT policies against a people-centered understanding of development that has individual and collective choice at its heart.

    • Hardcover $19.75 £15.99
  • The Digital Rights Movement

    The Digital Rights Movement

    The Role of Technology in Subverting Digital Copyright

    Hector Postigo

    The evolution of activism against the expansion of copyright in the digital domain, with case studies of resistance including eBook and iTunes hacks.

    The movement against restrictive digital copyright protection arose largely in response to the excesses of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998. In The Digital Rights Movement, Hector Postigo shows that what began as an assertion of consumer rights to digital content has become something broader: a movement concerned not just with consumers and gadgets but with cultural ownership. Increasingly stringent laws and technological measures are more than incoveniences; they lock up access to our “cultural commons.”

    Postigo describes the legislative history of the DMCA and how policy “blind spots” produced a law at odds with existing and emerging consumer practices. Yet the DMCA established a political and legal rationale brought to bear on digital media, the Internet, and other new technologies. Drawing on social movement theory and science and technology studies, Postigo presents case studies of resistance to increased control over digital media, describing a host of tactics that range from hacking to lobbying.

    Postigo discusses the movement's new, user-centered conception of “fair use” that seeks to legitimize noncommercial personal and creative uses such as copying legitimately purchased content and remixing music and video tracks. He introduces the concept of technological resistance—when hackers and users design and deploy technologies that allows access to digital content despite technological protection mechanisms—as the flip side to the technological enforcement represented by digital copy protection and a crucial tactic for the movement.

    • Hardcover $19.75 £15.99
  • The Reputation Society

    The Reputation Society

    How Online Opinions Are Reshaping the Offline World

    Hassan Masum and Mark Tovey

    Experts discuss the benefits and risks of online reputation systems.

    In making decisions, we often seek advice. Online, we check Amazon recommendations, eBay vendors' histories, TripAdvisor ratings, and even our elected representatives' voting records. These online reputation systems serve as filters for information overload. In this book, experts discuss the benefits and risks of such online tools.

    The contributors offer expert perspectives that range from philanthropy and open access to science and law, addressing reputation systems in theory and practice. Properly designed reputation systems, they argue, have the potential to create a “reputation society,” reshaping society for the better by promoting accountability through the mediated judgments of billions of people. Effective design can also steer systems away from the pitfalls of online opinion sharing by motivating truth-telling, protecting personal privacy, and discouraging digital vigilantism.

    Contributors Madeline Ashby, Jamais Cascio, John Henry Clippinger, Chrysanthos Dellarocas, Cory Doctorow, Randy Farmer, Eric Goldman, Victor Henning, Anthony Hoffmann, Jason Hoyt, Luca Iandoli, Josh Introne, Mark Klein, Mari Kuraishi, Cliff Lampe, Paolo Massa, Hassan Masum, Marc Maxson, Craig Newmark, Michael Nielsen, Lucio Picci, Jan Reichelt, Alex Steffen, Lior Strahilevitz, Mark Tovey, John Whitfield, John Willinsky, Yi-Cheng Zhang, Michael Zimmer

    • Hardcover $4.75 £3.99
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  • Interfaces on Trial 2.0

    Interfaces on Trial 2.0

    Jonathan Band and Masanobu Katoh

    The debate over the use of copyright law to prevent competition and interoperability in the global software industry.

    We live in an interoperable world. Computer hardware and software products from different manufacturers can exchange data within local networks and around the world using the Internet. The competition enabled by this compatibility between devices has led to fast-paced innovation and prices low enough to allow ordinary users to command extraordinary computing capacity.

    In Interfaces on Trial 2.0, Jonathan Band and Masanobu Katoh investigate an often overlooked factor in the development of today's interoperabilty: the evolution of copyright law. Because software is copyrightable, copyright law determines the rules for competition in the information technology industry. This book—a follow-up to Band and Katoh's successful 1995 book Interfaces on Trial—examines the debates surrounding the use of copyright law to prevent competition and interoperability in the global software industry in the last fifteen years.

    Band and Katoh are longtime advocates for interoperable devices but present a reasoned view of contentious issues related to interoperability issues in the United States, the European Union, and the Pacific Rim. They discuss such topics as the protectability of interface specifications, the permissibility of reverse engineering (and legislative and executive endorsement of pro-interoperability case law), the interoperability exception to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the interoperability cases decided under it, the enforceability of contractural restrictions on reverse engineering; and recent legal developments affecting the future of interoperability, including those related to open source-software and software patents.

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  • Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property

    Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property

    Gaëlle Krikorian and Amy Kapczynski

    A movement emerges to challenge the tightening of intellectual property law around the world.

    At the end of the twentieth century, intellectual property rights collided with everyday life. Expansive copyright laws and digital rights management technologies sought to shut down new forms of copying and remixing made possible by the Internet. International laws expanding patent rights threatened the lives of millions of people around the world living with HIV/AIDS by limiting their access to cheap generic medicines. For decades, governments have tightened the grip of intellectual property law at the bidding of information industries; but recently, groups have emerged around the world to challenge this wave of enclosure with a new counter-politics of “access to knowledge” or “A2K.” They include software programmers who took to the streets to defeat software patents in Europe, AIDS activists who forced multinational pharmaceutical companies to permit copies of their medicines to be sold in poor countries, subsistence farmers defending their rights to food security or access to agricultural biotechnology, and college students who created a new “free culture” movement to defend the digital commons.

    Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property maps this emerging field of activism as a series of historical moments, strategies, and concepts. It gathers some of the most important thinkers and advocates in the field to make the stakes and strategies at play in this new domain visible and the terms of intellectual property law intelligible in their political implications around the world.

    A Creative Commons edition of this work will be freely available online.

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