Consent of the Networked

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Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom
Consent of the Networked book cover.jpg
Author Rebecca MacKinnon
Country United States
Subject Internet censorship
Publisher Basic Books
Publication date
Pages 294
ISBN 978-0-465-02442-1

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom is a book written by Rebecca MacKinnon and released in 2012. It discusses internet censorship and the ways in which companies which manage internet communication are assuming responsibilities formerly held by governments.


The following is a list of the book's chapters and a summary of the topics covered in each.

  1. Disruptions
    1. Consent and Sovereignty- This section describes Riadh Guerfali's activism against Internet censorship in Tunisia and the role of such protests in the Tunisian Revolution. It references Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four to begin a discussion of the relationship between Internet media and governments.
      1. Corporate Superpowers - This section discusses the practice of both Facebook and Google of sending ambassadors to political figures in various countries to promote legislation favorable to the companies, gives a description of the conflict between the government of China and Google China over Internet censorship in China, and discusses Eli Pariser's filter bubble, Siva Vaidhyanathan's concept of googlization, and Joseph Nye's observations on large corporations which derive most of their income outside their home countries.
      2. Legitimacy - This section gives a history of legal statehood by describing the Magna Carta and Treaty of Westphalia then discusses Manuel Castells' theory that the historical abuse practiced by states whose citizens do not check the government's power will also appear in any communication network whose users are not empowered to check the network managers
    2. Rise of the Digital Commons - This section describes the 2007 meeting of Chinese citizen journalist and blogger Zhou Shuguang and WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg at a Beijing Wordpress conference, and Shuguang's troubles being censored. It introduces the concept of the digital commons by describing Alexis de Tocqueville's "civil society" in Democracy in America and Yochai Benkler's concept of information production in his book The Wealth of Networks.
      1. The Technical Commons - This section describes the World Wide Web technical standards and organizations and people who have influenced these standards, such as Tim Berners-Lee, Internet Engineering Task Force, World Wide Web Consortium, Richard Stallman, and Linus Torvalds. It also describes the GNU General Public License and open-source software.
      2. Activism Slim Amamou
      3. Balance of Power
  2. Control 2.0
    1. Networked Authoritarianism
      1. How China's Censorship Works
      2. Authoritarian Deliberation
      3. Western Fantasies Versus Reality
    2. Variants and Permutations
      1. "Constitutional" Technology
      2. Corporate Collaboration
      3. Divide and Conquer
      4. Digital Bonapartism
  3. Democracy's Challenges
    1. Eroding Accountability
      1. Surveillance
      2. WikiLeaks and the Fate of Controversial Speech
    2. Democratic Censorship
      1. Intentions Versus Consequences
      2. Saving the Children
    3. Copywars
      1. Shunning Due Process
      2. Aiding Authoritarianism
      3. Lobbynomics
  4. Sovereigns of Cyberspace
    1. Corporate Censorship
      1. Net Neutrality
      2. Mobile Complications
      3. Big Brother Apple
    2. Do no Evil
      1. Chinese Lessons
      2. Flickr Fail
      3. Buzz Bust
      4. Privacy and Facebook
    3. Facebookistan and Googledom
      1. Double Edge
      2. Inside the Leviathan
      3. Google Governance
      4. Implications
  5. What is to be Done?
    1. Trust, but Verify
      1. The Regulation Problem
      2. Shared Value
      3. The Global Network Initiative
      4. Lessons from Other Industries
    2. In Search of "Internet Freedom" Policy
      1. Washington Squabbles
      2. Goals and Methods
      3. Democratic Discord
      4. Civil Society Pushes Back
    3. Global Internet Governance
      1. The United Nations Problem
      2. ICANN - Can You?
    4. Building a Netizen-Centric Internet
      1. Strengthening the Netizen Commons
      2. Expanding the Technical Commons
      3. Utopianism Versus Reality
      4. Getting Political
      5. Corporate Transparency and Netizen Engagement
      6. Personal Responsibility


The review published in The Wall Street Journal described Consent of the Networked as "an excellent survey of the Internet's major fault lines".[1] John Naughton's review in The Guardian said that the book will "find its way on to reading lists in political science" for those interested in the relationship between Internet and the government.[2] Rachel Bridgewater's review in the Library Journal states, "She uses many real-life examples and anecdotes to illustrate the complex web of policy and technical infrastructure that allows governments and corporate interests to censor, surveil, and otherwise impede free expression and individual liberty."[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allnutt, Luke (15 February 2012). "Book Review: Consent of the Networked -". The Wall Street Journal. New York. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  2. ^ John Naughton (25 February 2012). "Tech giants have power to be political masters as well as our web ones". The Guardian. London. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Bridgewater, Rachel (2012). "Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom". Library Journal. 

External links[edit]