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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Today's Big Idea: Internet Privacy

The Big Idea for Thursday, April 05, 2012

By bringing people closer together than ever before, the internet magnifies the age-old questions about power and trust. Rebecca MacKinnon refers to citizens of the global digital web as "the networked," and argues that our information is being given up with no consent. The wars over privacy and personal data are about more than just money -- they're about who is in control of the next frontier. The clash of governments, businesses, and individuals has lead Jonathan Zittrain, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, to ask, "can the internet regulate itself?" As Zittrain points out, the question is really a new way of asking "can we govern ourselves?" He throws out the conventional wisdom that the internet is anti-hierarchical, arguing that the internet is in fact the opposite, but that it's a bottom-up kind of power, for now. This could change at any time, though, which is why we need government to regulate the internet sometimes. Dominic Basulto explores whether the freedom to connect is an inalienable human right in the 21st century.

Perspectives

  1. 1 Censorship is Not a Solution: Know Your Digital Rights
    Megan Erickson Think Tank
  2. 2 Can we trust the Internet to regulate itself?
    Jonathan Zittrain
  3. 3 Is the Internet an Inalienable Right?
    Dominic Basulto Endless Innovation
  4. 4 Is Wikileaks Like the Pentagon Papers?
    Floyd Abrams
 

Today's Big Idea: Internet ...

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