On Friday, March 29 2019, IGL Faculty Director, Dr. Laura DeNardis delivered a talk at Michigan State University’s Quello Center on “The Internet in Everything, Emerging Frontiers of Cyber Policy.” In her talk, based on her upcoming book, The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World With No Off Switch, she described the transformation of the Internet from a communication system to a control network “in which more things than people are connected.”
In her evocative opening statement, she asked the audience to imagine a world where humans suddenly ceased to exist. She explains that even in such a world, because of the pervasiveness of the Internet of Things, the cyber-world will continue to function as long as electricity is generated. In this context, conversations about cyber-policy cannot remain restricted to content. In line with the overarching thesis of her work, that conflicts over infrastructure are proxies for conflicts over political power, she urges us to consider the significance of the diffusion of the Internet into the material world for governance, freedom, and security.
As the digital economy, critical infrastructure, and industries become increasingly intimately tied to the Internet, she urged the audience to consider how high the stakes have become. Internet outages are no longer just about the loss of communications, they now also concern human safety, the economy, and national security among other things. She concluded by calling for increased participation in these important conversations. “It’s precisely because the Internet of Things is so exciting and promising, with possibilities for human flourishing and improvements to health and economy, that we as a society have to decide how to shape its future and what our rights are,” she said.
A video of her talk is available here.