‘This book could not have come at a better moment... The People Vs Tech makes clear that there is still time – just – for us to take back control.’ - Camilla Cavendish, Sunday Times
The internet was meant to set us free.
Tech has radically changed the way we live our lives. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists? And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information and artificial intelligence? In this urgent polemic, Jamie Bartlett argues that through our unquestioning embrace of big tech, the building blocks of democracy are slowly being removed. The middle class is being eroded, sovereign authority and civil society is weakened, and we citizens are losing our critical faculties, maybe even our free will.
The People Vs Tech is an enthralling account of how our fragile political system is being threatened by the digital revolution. Bartlett explains that by upholding six key pillars of democracy, we can save it before it is too late. We need to become active citizens; uphold a shared democratic culture; protect free elections; promote equality; safeguard competitive and civic freedoms; and trust in a sovereign authority. This essential book shows that the stakes couldn’t be higher and that, unless we radically alter our course, democracy will join feudalism, supreme monarchies and communism as just another political experiment that quietly disappeared.
'Thoughtful and intelligent' Observer
'Inside the anti-political revolt that gave us Brexit and Trump' Evening Standard
'Fascinating... Excellent' Literary Review
'Must read … A radical odyssey' Daily Mail
In the last few years the world has changed in unexpected ways. The power of radical ideas and groups is growing. What was once considered extreme is now the mainstream. But what is life like on the political fringes? What is the real power of radicals?
Radicals is an exploration of the individuals, groups and movements who are rejecting the way we live now, and attempting to find alternatives. In it, Jamie Bartlett, one of the world’s leading thinkers on radical politics and technology, takes us inside the strange and exciting worlds of the innovators, disruptors, idealists and extremists who think society is broken, and believe they know how to fix it. From dawn raids into open mines to the darkest recesses of the internet, Radicals introduces us to some of the most secretive and influential movements today: techno-futurists questing for immortality, far-right groups seeking to close borders, militant environmentalists striving to save the planet's natural reserves by any means possible, libertarian movements founding new countries, autonomous cooperatives in self-sustaining micro-societies, and psychedelic pioneers attempting to heal society with the help of powerful hallucinogens.
As well as providing a fascinating glimpse at the people and ideas driving these groups, Radicals also presents a startling argument: radicals are not only the symptoms of a deep unrest within the world today, but might also offer the most plausible models for our future.
Beyond the familiar online world that most of us inhabit lies a vast network of sites, communities and cultures where freedom is pushed to its limits. A world that is as creative and complex as it is dangerous and disturbing. A world that is much closer than you think.
The Dark Net is a revelatory examination of the internet today, and of its most innovative and dangerous subcultures, stretching from secret Facebook groups to the encrypted and hidden Tor network. In it, Bartlett goes in search of the people behind the screen, meeting trolls and pornographers, drug dealers and hackers, political extremists and computer scientists, Bitcoin programmers and self-harmers, libertarians and vigilantes.
Based on extensive first-hand experience, exclusive interviews and shocking documentary evidence, The Dark Net offers a startling glimpse of human nature under the conditions of freedom and anonymity, and shines a light on an enigmatic and ever-changing world.
On 5 June 2013, the Guardian began publishing a series of documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, revealing the extent of internet surveillance undertaken by government and intelligence agencies. It provoked an immediate outcry. ‘I didn’t want to change society,’ Snowden would later say, in exile. ‘I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.’ And to some extent, he has.
Snowden’s leaks have provoked important debates about the precarious balance between individual privacy and national security on the internet. As a result of his revelations, the internet – and the way many of us use it – is changing dramatically. A new ‘crypto-war’ over the right to online privacy is being waged, with the net becoming increasingly difficult to monitor, and censorship more difficult to enforce. New opportunities are opening up for human rights activists and journalists, but also for criminals and terrorists.
Orwell versus the Terrorists is an insightful and revelatory examination of the history of the battle over privacy online, and a shocking glimpse of the frontline tactics of both sides. In a world in which the rules governing online activity are hazy, nebulous and often contradictory, it also presents a powerful and convincing model for the future of net-surveillance post-Snowden.
Jamie Bartlett is the bestselling author of The Dark Net, an examination of the hidden corners of the internet, and Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World. He is the Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos. He also writes on technology for the Spectator, the Telegraph and for several other publications on how the internet is changing politics and society. In 2017 Jamie presented the two-part BBC TWO documentary series The Secrets of Silicon Valley. He lives in London.