Future Tense newsletter: Who controls the internet?

Future Tense Newsletter: Who Controls the Internet?

Future Tense Newsletter: Who Controls the Internet?

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Nov. 2 2016 12:00 PM

Future Tense Newsletter: Who Controls the Internet?

Network cables are plugged in a server room in New York City.

Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images

Greetings, Future Tensers,

It’s November, which means it’s time for a new installment of our Futurography course. Each month, we offer you a 101 guide to a new science or tech topic, and for November, we’re tackling the question, “Who Controls the Internet?” Jacob Brogan started us off with a conversational introduction and a cheat sheet that will guide you through some of the lingo, key players, and major debates surrounding internet governance. There will be more to come all month, including a live event in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 10.


Hang in there, it’ll be over soon.

If you can’t stand the suspense of waiting till Election Day to find out who Americans are voting for, you can check out this new open-source, reproducible poll. If you’re still making up your own mind, you may want to reconsider the influence of Peter Thiel’s endorsement of Donald Trump on your decision (if it had any at all). Once you head to the polls, be wary of taking a ballot selfie. As we learned from Justin Timberlake last week, photographing your vote is unlawful in some states, including Michigan, where the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of a ballot selfie ban.

You may have noticed that climate change has been largely ignored by the two major party candidates this election cycle. Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash argue why that might be a good thing. Most of us would rather (or at least I would rather) watch Leonardo DiCaprio talk about climate change anyways, which you can do now by streaming his climate change documentary for free.

Here are some of the other articles we read while we were checking in at Standing Rock:

  • Ownership: Kirsten Berg recapped the live component of our October Futurography unit. We convened industry leaders, policy experts, and government officials to discuss whether technology will make ownership obsolete. You can watch the full event on New America’s website.
  • Safety on social media: Facebook revamped its safety measures this week, allowing users to flag friends’ concerning posts.
  • CRISPR: Still don’t know what gene editing is? This five-minute animated video primer from the Royal Society is a great start way to get informed.
  • Public Wi-Fi: Don’t connect to the public Wi-Fi anywhere you wouldn’t go barefoot, Jamie Winterton cautions.


  • Join New America President Anne-Marie Slaughter tonight—yes, Wednesday night—for a screening and discussion of the 2010 film Never Let Me Go. The screening will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Washington, D.C.’s Landmark E Street Cinema at 555 11th St. NW. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
  • Will the internet always be American? On Thursday, Nov. 10, Future Tense is hosting a live event in Washington, D.C. as part of our November Futurography unit, to explore the internet’s nationality, and the extent to which it’s an expression of American culture, and how that may be changing. You can RSVP to attend in person or online here.

Putting my shoes on,
Emily Fritcke
for Future Tense

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Emily Fritcke is a research associate for Future Tense.