The Internet has leapt 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 a loss of communication but also potentially a 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 this 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.
Dr. Laura DeNardis is globally recognized as one of the most influential scholars in Internet governance. Slate Magazine named her—along with Mark Zuckerberg and Chinese President Xi Jinping—as one of the seven most influential people in controlling or influencing the Internet. She is a Professor and Interim Dean in the School of Communication at American University and a Faculty Director of the Internet Governance Lab. In 2018, she received American University’s highest faculty award, Scholar-Teacher of the Year. Among her six books are The Global War for Internet Governance (Yale University Press 2014) and The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World with No Off Switch (Yale University Press 2020). She is an affiliated fellow of the Yale Law School Information Society Project and previously served as its Executive Director. She holds an Engineering Science degree from Dartmouth College, an MEng from Cornell, a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from Yale Law School.
John Battelle is co-founder and CEO of Recount Media Inc., a NY-based media platform. He also serves as chairman of the board at sovrn Holdings, LLC and a Director at LiveRamp, an NYSE listed company. In addition, he is Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Scholar at the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He previously was founder and CEO of six media and technology companies, including Federated Media, the Industry Standard, and Wired. In 2005, Mr. Battelle wrote “The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture” (Penguin/Portfolio). Mr. Battelle holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.