An accessible, comic book-like, illustrated introduction to how the internet works under the hood, designed to give people a basic understanding of the technical aspects of the Internet that they need in order to advocate for digital rights. The internet has profoundly changed interpersonal communication, but most of us don't really understand how it works. What enables information to travel across the internet? Can we really be anonymous and private online? Who controls the internet, and why is that important? And... what's with all the cats?
How the Internet Really Works answers these questions and more. Using clear language and whimsical illustrations, the authors translate highly technical topics into accessible, engaging prose that demystifies the world's most intricately linked computer network. Alongside a feline guide named Catnip, you'll learn about: • The "How-What-Why" of nodes, packets, and internet protocols • Cryptographic techniques to ensure the secrecy and integrity of your data • Censorship, ways to monitor it, and means for circumventing it • Cybernetics, algorithms, and how computers make decisions • Centralization of internet power, its impact on democracy, and how it hurts human rights • Internet governance, and ways to get involved This book is also a call to action, laying out a roadmap for using your newfound knowledge to influence the evolution of digitally inclusive, rights-respecting internet laws and policies. Whether you're a citizen concerned about staying safe online, a civil servant seeking to address censorship, an advocate addressing worldwide freedom of expression issues, or simply someone with a cat-like curiosity about network infrastructure, you will be delighted — and enlightened — by Catnip's felicitously fun guide to understanding how the internet really works!