Silicon Values: The Future of Free Speech Under Surveillance Capitalism

Verso. Mar. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781788738804. $26.95. POL SCI
With this book, York (international activism director, Electronic Frontier Foundation) has produced a worthy work on privacy and surveillance capitalism. She begins by detailing a history of political happenings globally, the growing usage of social media technologies such as Twitter or Facebook along with large web companies such as Google, and those companies’ responses to issues of free-speech vs. censorship and takedown requests from nation-states and individuals. York’s topics include, but are not limited to, origins for postings in 4chan, sexual imagery on the internet, terrorist recruitment online, and mob usage of social media to take actions for or against groups or persons. One essential concept that so clearly undergirds the whole book is York’s simple yet powerful point that these companies become de facto gatekeepers over much use of the internet and its technologies. York reveals this undergirding through every major point covered, which is one of the book’s great strengths.
VERDICT This practical work casts a wide-enough net over relevant topics and examples to be richly informative, while still managing to be straightforward in its style. York offers a solid entry point for those who have been following ongoing issues relating to the intersection of politics and technology.
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