• $19.99

Publisher Description

The ability to inflict pain and suffering on large groups of people is no longer limited to the nation-state. New technologies are putting enormous power into the hands of individuals across the world—a shift that, for all its sunny possibilities, entails enormous risk for all of us, and may even challenge the principles on which the modern nation state is founded. In short, if our national governments can no longer protect us from harm, they will lose their legitimacy. Detailing the challenges that states face in this new world, legal scholars Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum controversially argue in [Title TK] that national governments must expand their security efforts to protect the lives and liberty of their citizens.

Wittes and Blum show how advances in cybertechnology, biotechnology, and robotics mean that more people than ever before have access to technologies—from drones to computer networks and biological data—that could possibly be used to extort or attack states and private citizens. Security, too, is no longer only under governmental purview, as private companies or organizations control many of these technologies: internet service providers in the case of cyber terrorism and digital crime, or academic institutions and individual researchers and publishers in the case of potentially harmful biotechnologies. As Wittes and Blum show, these changes could undermine the social contract that binds citizens to their governments.

In this brave new world of dispersed threats, Wittes and Blum persuasively argue that the best means for safeguarding our liberty and privacy are strong governmental surveillance and security networks. Indeed, they show—through engaging looks at political thinkers from Thomas Hobbes to the Founders and beyond—that security and liberty are mutually supportive, rather than existing in a precarious balance in which the increase in one leads to a proportional decrease in the other. And not only must we bolster our domestic security efforts, but we must think internationally. Our best defense is increasingly a transnational one: more multinational forces and greater action to protect (and protect against) the territory of weaker states who do not yet have the capability to police themselves.

[Title TK] is at once an exposé of our emerging world—one in which students can print guns with 3-D printers and scientists' manipulations of viruses can be recreated and unleashed by ordinary people—and an authoritative blueprint for how government and individuals must adapt to it.

Politics & Current Events
March 10
Basic Books
Hachette Digital, Inc.

More Books by Benjamin Wittes & Gabriella Blum