The idea: the Internet has become a “highly contested political space.” And one of the strongest contenders in this space is the American technology business community.

[The book] Consent [of the networked] showcases [Rebecca] MacKinnon’s ability to bring together the many elements creating speech limitations online. Her notion of “networked authoritarianism” is as exciting as it is dispiriting. The Internet is not a series of tubes with a shutoff valve; at least not usually. Instead, it is an ecosystem. To control it, you need technology—filters and control over where and how your country’s Internet connects to the world. You also must have legal tools, social hacks, and the connivance of the businesses that produce the materials making the Internet possible in the first place.

That is where one of the key problems lies, according to MacKinnon. Although functioning democracies have maintained the “consent of the governed,” that consent has not survived the advent of sophisticated Internet tech.