Book Review: “Pax Technica” by Phillip N. Howard

Robert McGrath's Blog

Pax Technicaby Phillip N. Howard

 The subtitle gives you the thesis of the book, “How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up”.

Howard is particularly concerned with the political dimensions of digital networks, in a very broad sense of the word ‘politics’. As he argues, there are a range of “governance goods”, which can be provided in different ways by governments or others. Digital networks can be used to provide governance, especially if other institutions fail to do so.

The Internet of Things is rapidly developing, as more and more devices have sensors, radios, and connect to the network. These devices will communicate with other devices, and will track many kinds of behavior. Overall, it will be millions of times more devices, and data than the human Internet (take that, puny humans!) and millions of times more intrusive.

If current device networks…

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