Network Notebook #09: Digital Tailspin: Ten Rules for the Internet After Snowden, Michael Seemann


About the publication: Privacy, copyright, classified documents and state secrets, but also spontaneous network phenomena like flash mobs and hashtag revolutions, reveal one thing – we lost control over the digital world. We experience a digital tailspin, or as Michael Seemann calls it in this essay: a loss of control or Kontrollverlust. Data we never knew existed is finding paths that were not intended and reveals information that we would never have thought of on our own.  Traditional institutions and concepts of freedom are threatened by this digital tailspin. But that doesn’t mean we are lost. A new game emerges, where a different set of rules applies. To take part, we need to embrace a new way of thinking and a radical new ethics – we need to search for freedom in completely different places. While the Old Game depended upon top-down hierarchies and a trust in the protective power of state justice systems, the New Game asks you to let go of all these certainties. Strategies to play the game of digital tailspin rely on flexibility, openness, transparency and what is dubbed ‘antifragility’. In Digital Tailspin: Ten Rules for the Internet After Snowden Michael Seemann examines which strategies are most appropriate in the New Game and why.

About the author: Michael Seemann studied Applied Cultural Studies in Lüneburg. Since 2005 he is active on the internet with various projects. He founded and (‘reading Twitter’), organized various events and runs the popular podcast In 2010 he began the blog CTRL-verlust, about the loss of control over data on the internet. In 2014 he published Das neue Spiel after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Now he blogs at and writes for various media like Rolling Stone, TIME online, SPEX, Spiegel Online, c’t and the DU magazine. He gives lectures on whistleblowing, privacy, copyright, internet culture and the crisis of institutions in times of Kontrollverlust.

Colophon: Network Notebooks editors: Geert Lovink and Miriam Rasch. Design: Medamo, Rotterdam EPUB developer: André Castro. Publisher: Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam. Supported by: Amsterdam Creative Industries Publishing, University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool van Amsterdam), and Stichting Democratie en Media. Digital Tailspin: Ten Rules for the Internet After Snowden, by Michael Seemann, Network Notebooks 09, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2015. ISBN 978-90-822345-8-9.