Surveillance Valley

The Secret Military History of the Internet

By Yasha Levine


An investigative reporter unearths the true history of the internet: it was built by the government to spy on citizens, at home and abroad.


With each passing year the internet becomes more and more a part of modern life. Despite story after story of hacks, malware, government surveillance, and corporate corruption, we continue to rely on the web for ever more social functions, and we largely think of Silicon Valley as a neutral, even idealistic, business hub. Rarely do we consider the for-profit surveillance business operated within its confines, nor do we think much about the military origins of the platforms and tools we use every day.

In Surveillance Valley, Yasha Levine traces the history of the internet back to its beginnings as a Vietnam-era tool for spying on guerrilla fighters and antiwar protesters–a military computer networking project that ultimately envisioned the creation of a global system of surveillance and prediction. Levine shows how the same military objectives that drove the development of early internet technology are still at the heart of Silicon Valley today. Spies, counterinsurgency campaigns, hippie entrepreneurs, privacy apps funded by the CIA. From the 1960s to the 2010s — this revelatory and sweeping story will make you reconsider what you know about the most powerful, ubiquitous tool ever created.

PublicAffairsRelease planned for February 2018

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