Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It, The

Networks, the Internet, and Cloud Computing, Internet, Networks and Infrastructure and Net Neutrality

Article Snapshot


Jonathan Zittrain


Yale University Press & Penguin UK, 2008


This book surveys trends in computer and Internet products and services.

Policy Relevance

The trend towards tighter security and products that are closed to tinkering is a threat to innovation and freedom.

Main Points

  • The personal computer and the early Internet were based on general purpose technology that allowed users a great deal of freedom and flexibility. This open environment presents a fundamental problem—it is not secure.


  • The most recent successful technologies such as the iPhone and Facebook give the producer of the technology much more control over what the end user does with it.


  • “Tethered” applications help solve security problems, but threaten openness and creativity. Innovation often occurs when users tinker with products in unexpected ways.


  • Information technology can enable state control and “perfect”  law enforcement, although underlying laws, such as copyright, might be flawed.


  • Young users around the world should be encouraged to participate in Internet-related democratic forums and processes, to help counteract trends towards state control, on the one hand, and to mediate security issues from the bottom up, on the other hand.

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