The Internet Con

How to Seize the Means of Computation

5.28 X 7.95 X 1.18 inches | 0.74 pounds, 192 pages

English language

Published Sept. 4, 2023 by Verso.

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4 stars (4 reviews)

When the tech platforms promised a future of "connection," they were lying. They said their "walled gardens" would keep us safe, but those were prison walls.

The platforms locked us into their systems and made us easy pickings, ripe for extraction. Twitter, Facebook and other Big Tech platforms hard to leave by design. They hold hostage the people we love, the communities that matter to us, the audiences and customers we rely on. The impossibility of staying connected to these people after you delete your account has nothing to do with technological limitations: it's a business strategy in service to commodifying your personal life and relationships.

We can - we must - dismantle the tech platforms. In The Internet Con , Cory Doctorow explains how to seize the means of computation, by forcing Silicon Valley to do the thing it fears most: interoperate. Interoperability will tear down the walls between …

1 edition

Misleading title

3 stars

While being a very concise walk though of the systemic nature of the problems of big tech, I found the title: "How to seize the means of computation" and the blurb: "A Shovel-Ready Plan to Fight Enshittification" to lead me to expect some activist-first analysis. Instead it's "solutions" are very much recommendation to congress or government level policy-types. There is nothing in it that tells me what to do. I have nothing against this - the title and the blurb is just misleading. The analysis is very good though. So if you don't already know Doctorows analysis, it's great. Just don't expect any shovels to grab.

Doctorow's Best Explanation of Enshittification

4 stars

The Internet Con is the clearest expression of Doctorow's ongoing discussions around the ways monopolies have created significant harm to the Internet and how to fix it. The explanations of both the problems and solutions are accessible, and the book was a breeze to read.

Anhang zu "Chokepoint Capitalism"

4 stars

Cory Doctorows Buch über die zerstörerischen Monopole in der Technologie ist fundamental wichtig, um den aktuellen Zustand des Internets zu verstehen. Auch seine Forderung nach Interoperabilität und der Legalisierung "konpetitiver" Interoperabilität ist richtig und wichtig. Das Buch wirkt aber teilweise lediglich wir ein Anhang zu seinem letzten Buch "Chokepoint Capitalism" und wiederholt dessen Argumente im Kern "nur". Auch finden sich leider - entgegen den Versprechungen - keine wirklich praktischen Tipps, wie Einzelne zumindest etwas dazu beitragen können, das Problem zu lösen. (Ich war da vorab aber ohnehin schon skeptisch bzgl. dieser Versprechungen, weil das Problem eben nicht individuell zu lösen ist.)


  • internet
  • antitrust
  • social media
  • World Wide Web
  • Technology Studies
  • Public Policy - Science & Technology Policy
  • Privacy & Surveillance
  • Political Science - Privacy & Surveillance