In 2013, Edward Snowden was an IT systems expert working under contract for the National Security Agency when he traveled to Hong Kong to provide three journalists with thousands of top-secret documents about U.S. intelligence agencies' surveillance of American citizens.
The U.S. needs to start treating the Internet like electricity or railroads, law professor and author Susan Crawford says. "We can't create a level playing field for all Americans or indeed compete on the world stage without having some form of government involvement," she says.
Today's Internet users have become accustomed to stories of hacking, identity theft and cyberattacks, but there was a time when the freedom and anonymity of the Web were new, and no one was sure what rules — if any — applied to its use.
Recent controversies such as Google's business in China and the U.S. government's role in policing eBay transactions have put a spotlight on the intersection between governments and the Internet. Legal scholars Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu address the issue in their new book, Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World.