Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Access controlled

The new book Access Controlled from the OpenNet Initiative is now available for free download to read free online. The sequel to the superb Access Denied, it describes a system of state control of the internet which is developing rapidly - from the relatively crude first generation of controls based on filtering and blocking towards a more sophisticated next-generation system which adds features such as built-in surveillance, control of users by contractual terms of use, and authority delegated to private bodies to oversee the net. As the introduction puts it:
States no longer fear pariah status by openly declaring their intent to regulate and control cyberspace. The convenient rubric of terrorism, child pornography, and cyber security has contributed to a growing expectation that states should enforce order in cyberspace, including policing unwanted content... Internet censorship is becoming a global norm.
As with Access Denied, the book is divided into two parts: opening with analytical chapters examining developments from data retention to the Global Network Initiative and followed by individual country and regional profiles. The latter are extremely useful overviews of the state of play worldwide - for me, however, the real strength of the book lies in the first six chapters in which a strong line up of authors consider international developments. Colin Maclay's chapter Protecting Privacy and Expression Online: Can the Global Network Initiative Embrace the Character of the Net? was a particular highlight, shining a light on a promising but as yet immature and relatively unexamined development.

Strongly recommended.


  1. Anonymous14 July, 2010

    My apologies however I can not find the free download link either here or at the access controlled website. I can purchase it in book format but I'm looking for the ebook version.

  2. You're quite right. I've updated the post to make it clear that there doesn't seem to be a single file download. I suppose you could always concatenate the individual PDFs - the entire book is up, albeit chopped into discrete chapters.