The Internet in Everything

Freedom and Security in a World with No Off Switch

A compelling argument that the Internet of things threatens human rights and security

The Internet has leaped from human-facing display screens into the material objects all around us. In this so-called Internet of things—connecting everything from cars to cardiac monitors to home appliances—there is no longer a meaningful distinction between physical and virtual worlds. Everything is connected. The social and economic benefits are tremendous, but there is a downside: an outage in cyberspace can result not only in loss of communication but also potentially in loss of life.

Control of this infrastructure has become a proxy for political power since countries can easily reach across borders to disrupt real-world systems. Laura DeNardis argues that the diffusion of the Internet into the physical world radically escalates governance concerns around privacy, discrimination, human safety, democracy, and national security, and she offers new cyber-policy solutions. In her discussion, she makes visible the sinews of power already embedded in our technology and explores how hidden technical governance arrangements will become the constitution of our future.

Praises for the book

“This brilliant and essential book does nothing less than alter our paradigm for thinking about the internet—from communications and indirect control to communications and direct control. The internet is even more powerful—or more dangerous—than we think.”

—Anupam Chander, author of The Electronic Silk Road: How the Web Binds the World Together in Commerce

“This is a must-read. If you have limited time, read Chapters 1 and 8 at least. ‘All of the policy issues in two-dimensional digital space have leaped into three-dimensional real-world space and have added new concerns around physical safety and everyday human activity.’”

—Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer

“The Internet isn’t just about communication anymore, Laura DeNardis explains in this important new book. Digital networks can now directly affect and manipulate our physical world–even our own bodies. And when the Internet is embedded in everything, everything becomes a potential object of surveillance and control. DeNardis shows us why we need a new politics of privacy and security as the Internet gets physical.”

—Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School

“A crucial read for understanding the unseen but powerful mechanisms and standards which shape security and policy issues impacting everyone.”

—Marietje Schaake, Member of European Parliament 2009-2019

“With more things than people connected to the Internet, we enter a cyber-physical world of opportunities and threats.  Laura DeNardis is the perfect guide to this strange new world.”

—Joseph S. Nye, Jr.,  Harvard University and author of The Future of Power

“Laura DeNardis is a wonderful guide through the most important issues involving cyber-connected devices in the home, on the road, in the factory, car, hospital, and beyond. The ways our institutions address these developments will affect not just the future of a transformed internet but also the very contours of privacy and security in a democratic society.”

—Joseph Turow, University of Pennsylvania

“Comprehensive and richly exemplified. An essential reading to bridge cybersecurity and Internet governance concerns in the era of connected things.”

—Carolina Aguerre, CETyS Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires.

“The Internet in Everything demonstrates that cybersecurity is among the most important human rights issues. DeNardis finds that the unresolved tensions in cybersecurity have immense implications for our private and public lives.”

—Phil Howard, author of Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up


About the Author

Laura E. DeNardis is Professor and Interim Dean of the School of Communication at American University in Washington, DC. where she also serves as Faculty Director of the Internet Governance Lab. With a background in information engineering and a doctorate in Science and Technology Studies, she has published six books and numerous articles on the political implications of Internet technical architecture and governance. Dr. DeNardis is currently an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and an affiliated fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.
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