Internet for the People

Paperback, 192 pages

English language

Published Aug. 18, 2021 by Verso Books.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

In Internet for the People, leading tech writer Ben Tarnoff offers an answer. The internet is broken, he argues, because it is owned by private firms and run for profit. Google annihilates your privacy and Facebook amplifies right-wing propaganda because it is profitable to do so. But the internet wasn't always like this—it had to be remade for the purposes of profit maximization, through a years-long process of privatization that turned a small research network into a powerhouse of global capitalism. Tarnoff tells the story of the privatization that made the modern internet, and which set in motion the crises that consume it today.

The solution to those crises is straightforward: deprivatize the internet. Deprivatization aims at creating an internet where people, and not profit, rule. It calls for shrinking the space of the market and diminishing the power of the profit motive. It calls for abolishing the walled gardens …

1 edition

A clarifying and inspiring unified history and path towards a better Internet

4 stars

A concise, worthwhile read. The first two thirds summarize the history of the internet from the lens of increased privatization and an intensification of the profit motive, aided by public policy and political climate. The last portion offers some alternative paths towards a more democratic, truly inclusive internet.

I appreciated that Tarnoff emphasizes the need for political and social change, and steers away from mere techno-solutioning. I didn't find anything particularly novel ideas, but the unifying theory of it was clarifying and inspiring.

Taking a star off my rating because I always yearn for a more concrete "go here, plug in this way" call to action in such books. I know it's probably very hard for such a book to have such practical pointers that would work for every reader, but still I hope.

guess not what i was expecting

1 star

not saying the book is bad, more like pointless. despite the title, it just tells you about how the internet is NOT for the people (anymore?) has it ever been?). there's mentione on some good alternatives on different levels, but noting more. the seems vaguely radical, but the total lack of any mention of praxis or discussion around praxis make him sound just like any other reformist at the end of the day. so, yeah, disappointed.

Review of 'Internet for the People' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

One of the best books on the history of the internet written in this century. It begins with the important histories of the '90's, and then moves onto the latter eras that have so far shaped our poor excuse for an information highway. But it offers hope, all at the same time.

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4 stars
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rated it

4 stars