ISBN is

978-0-8147-3103-1 / 0814731031

net.wars

by Grossman, Wendy

Publisher:NYU Press

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

In net.wars, Wendy Grossman accomplishes two things: She dissects and explains today's most controversial Internet issues and she thankfully explodes the myth that there were ever "good old days," when the Net was just one big happy virtual family. Grossman turns a well-tuned reporter's eye to the areas that generate the greatest amount of heat. She doesn't pretend to be a dispassionate observer, making neither bones nor apologies about being an enthusiastic netizen herself. She does, however, carefully examine all sides of each issue and she presents issues clearly before expressing her own opinion.

Grossman presents many of the issues you would expect, such as sex on the Net, the proper limitations of information security, hackers as heroes and villains, online sexism, and the dispute on the right to privacy versus the need for law enforcement. However, she also addresses less dramatic but equally fascinating issues, such as the debate between those who view the Net as an all-inclusive level society and those who are intolerant of newcomers and their mistakes. And then there's the world's newest form of bigotry--siteism--in which practitioners discriminate against a poster because they dislike the access provider the poster uses.

Rather than simply looking at the philosophical and ethical issues involved, Grossman presents the history of the various controversies, explaining landmark developments and detailing how each issue evolved into the "Net war" we see today. One example is the issue of "copyright terrorists," those who have applied old-technology definitions of intellectual rights in ways that others perceive as inhibiting free speech or as halting the fair use of knowledge. Here, the defining development in the controversy was a battle between the Church of Scientology and its opponents, where the worst casualties were, as in many real-life wars, those caught in between. Grossman traces the evolution of the battle step by step, presenting the views of key players on all sides and showing how laws intended for traditional media can have unexpected consequences when applied to the Internet. Entire volumes have been written about many of the issues discussed here, but this short book is enough to give readers an excellent grounding in all of them.

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