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ISBN: 9781487008055-04

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Burning Data

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Chapter 4 turns to the often overlooked and largely obscured physical and material infrastructure of social media and the communications ecosystem. Although we tend to think of social media and our digital experiences as clean, weightless, and ethereal (an image promoted by the platforms themselves), they are in fact far from it. Every component of our communications ecosystem is implicated in a vast, planet-wide physical and material infrastructure, the raw material for which can be traced back billions of years.

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Ronald J. Deibert

Ronald J. Deibert is professor of Political Science and director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. The Citizen Lab undertakes interdisciplinary research at the intersection of global security, information and communications technologies, and human rights. The research outputs of the Citizen Lab are routinely covered in global media, including more than two dozen reports that received exclusive front-page coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other global media over the past decade. Deibert is the author of Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet, as well as numerous books, chapters, articles, and reports on internet censorship, surveillance, and cybersecurity. In 2013, he was appointed to the Order of Ontario and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, for being “among the first to recognize and take measures to mitigate growing threats to communications rights, openness, and security worldwide."