MacKinnon's Consent of the Networked: A call for political innovation by Milton Mueller
Posted in: Governance at 29/04/2012 19:09
The best summary of Rebecca MacKinnon's book Consent of the Networked is its subtitle: "The worldwide struggle for Internet freedom." This is a comprehensive, spirited, and rich journalistic account of the way the use of the Internet and its supply industries intersect with classic civil and political rights.
Importantly, it is informed by a realization that this encounter is generating a transnational movement for human rights in the new spaces forged by the Internet protocols. MacKinnon says that we need to figure out how to make the Lockean, proto-democratic idea of "the consent of the governed" apply to cyberspace. In a stirring sentence near the end of the book, she claims that "Netizens, companies and governments all face an urgent moral imperative to innovate politically - in the broadest sense of the word - on a scale that matches the dramatic technical innovations of the past several decades." But it is a plea, not a recipe.