The information trade How big tech conquers countries, challenges our rights, and transforms our world

Alexis Wichowski

Book - 2020

"In this eye-opening, must-read book, a political insider and tech expert explains what's at stake for our tech-enabled lives-and what we can do about it. Neither an industry apologist nor irrational fearmonger, Alexis Wichowski considers the unchecked rise of tech giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla-what she calls "net states"-and their growing and unavoidable influence in our lives. Combining original reporting, extensive research, and intervie...ws with technology and government insiders, including Microsoft president Brad Smith, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and the world's first ambassador to Silicon Valley, Alexis Wichowski explores what happens when we cede our power to tech giants, willingly trading our personal freedom and individual autonomy for an easy, plugged-in existence. Written for the tech-savvy and tech-phobic alike, The Information Trade lays out how net states are conquering countries, challenging our rights, and transforming our future. Most importantly, it shows what we can do to control our relationship with net states before they irreversibly alter how we are governed, how we think, how we act, and how we live"--

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCOllinsPublishers [2020]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 294 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9780062888983
0062888986
9780062888990
0062888994
Main Author
Alexis Wichowski (author)
  • Introduction
  • Rise of the citizen-user
  • Net states IRL
  • Privacy allies and adversaries
  • Information-age warfighters
  • A great wall of watchers
  • The all-knowing Internet of things
  • The mind, immersed
  • A declaration of citizen-user rights
  • The net state pattern.
Review by PW Annex Reviews

Wichowski, an adjunct professor of technology at Columbia University, reveals how "net states" ("tech entities that act like countries") are changing "defense, diplomacy, public infrastructure, and citizen services," in this eye-opening debut. Examining recent acquisitions made by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Tesla, Wichowski explores the roles that major tech companies now play in space travel, health monitoring, biotech, and manufacturing. She describes how the original "tech ethos" of "creat some good in the world" now drives net states to take on huge projects, such as providing new energy infrastructure in Puerto Rico and investing in asteroid mining companies, where they act like sovereign states but lack the permanence and accountability of governments. Wichowski warns that the status quo, in which "citizen-users" of tech platforms must "relinquish their right to privacy" is unsustainable, and proposes a Declaration of Citizen-User Rights for reclaiming personal power that's been given away in exchange for convenience. Wichowski's detailed reporting and careful attention to the big picture make for a quick and thought-provoking reading experience. This erudite analysis should be required reading for tech CEOs, policy makers, and everyone concerned about the ubiquity of a handful of companies in their daily lives. (Feb.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A government and tech expert explains how the major tech companies are disrupting reality and endangering our future and offers advice based on over 100 interviews with insiders on how to best regulate and reform the industry. 20,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"In this eye-opening, must-read book, a political insider and tech expert explains what's at stake for our tech-enabled lives-and what we can do about it. Neither an industry apologist nor irrational fearmonger, Alexis Wichowski considers the unchecked rise of tech giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla-what she calls "net states"-and their growing and unavoidable influence in our lives. Combining original reporting, extensive research, and interviews with technology and government insiders, including Microsoft president Brad Smith, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and the world's first ambassador to Silicon Valley, Alexis Wichowski explores what happens when we cede our power to tech giants, willingly trading our personal freedom and individual autonomy for an easy, plugged-in existence. Written for the tech-savvy and tech-phobic alike, The Information Trade lays out how net states are conquering countries, challenging our rights, and transforming our future. Most importantly, it shows what we can do to control our relationship with net states before they irreversibly alter how we are governed, how we think, how we act, and how we live"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"A timely, compelling, and expertly researched passport to the tech companies that rule today's digital landscape."'Blake Harris, bestselling author of Console Wars and The History of the Future.In this provocative book about our new tech-based reality, political insider and tech expert Alexis Wichowski considers the unchecked rise of tech giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla'what she calls 'net states'' and their unavoidable influence in our lives. Rivaling nation states in power and capital, today's net states are reaching into our physical world, inserting digital services into our lived environments in ways both unseen and, at times, unknown to us. They are transforming the way the world works, putting our rights up for grabs, from personal privacy to national security.   Combining original reporting and insights drawn from more than 100 interviews with technology and government insiders, including Microsoft president Brad Smith, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the former Federal Trade Commission chair under President Obama, and the managing director of Jigsaw'Google's Department of Counter-terrorism against extremism and cyber-attacks'The Information Trade explores what happens we give up our personal freedom and individual autonomy in exchange for an easy, plugged-in existence, and shows what we can do to control our relationship with net states before they irreversibly change our future.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

"A timely, compelling, and expertly researched passport to the tech companies that rule today's digital landscape."—Blake Harris, bestselling author of Console Wars and The History of the Future.In this provocative book about our new tech-based reality, political insider and tech expert Alexis Wichowski considers the unchecked rise of tech giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla—what she calls “net states”— and their unavoidable influence in our lives. Rivaling nation states in power and capital, today’s net states are reaching into our physical world, inserting digital services into our lived environments in ways both unseen and, at times, unknown to us. They are transforming the way the world works, putting our rights up for grabs, from personal privacy to national security.   Combining original reporting and insights drawn from more than 100 interviews with technology and government insiders, including Microsoft president Brad Smith, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the former Federal Trade Commission chair under President Obama, and the managing director of Jigsaw—Google’s Department of Counter-terrorism against extremism and cyber-attacks—The Information Trade explores what happens we give up our personal freedom and individual autonomy in exchange for an easy, plugged-in existence, and shows what we can do to control our relationship with net states before they irreversibly change our future.