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”Discussions about the contemporary online world are often in a one-dimensional manner shaped by moral panics about online trolling, cyberbullying, cybercrime, terrorists online, etc. The associated right-wing extremist agenda for Internet politics is about control, surveillance and censorship. Vince Miller’s book questions this agenda and is an excellent work for understanding how to use philosophical thought for the analysis of ethics, privacy and disclosure in this turbulent world of the Internet in the information society. It shows how to come to grips with the contested relationship between online freedom and control.“ - Christian Fuchs, University of Westminster, Author of Social Media: A Critical Introduction By investigating three issues which have captured the public imagination as ‘problems’ emerging directly from the contemporary use of communications technology (anti-social behaviour, privacy and free speech online), Vincent Miller explores how the digital revolution is challenging our notion of ‘self’ and ‘presence’. Through a critical and philosophical examination of each of these cases, he argues that they have at their root the same phenomena: ‘a crisis of presence’. Focussing on the concept of presence, and the challenges that our changing presence poses to our ethics, privacy and public discourse, Miller illustrates how ubiquitous communication technologies have created a disjuncture between how we think we exist in the world and how we actually do exist through our use of such devices. The solution, he claims, is not to focus exclusively on ‘content’ and its regulation as much as it is to examine, understand and resist the alienating aspects of the media itself, such as the technological ordering, metaphysical abstraction and mediation which increasingly define our social encounters and presences. He suggests that such resistance involves several ambitious revisions in our ethical, legal and technological regimes.

METAPHYSICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL PRESENCE
METAPHYSICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL PRESENCE

Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extension of man – the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society, much as we have already extended our senses and nerves by the various media. Whether the extension of consciousness, so long sought by advertisers for specific products, will be ‘a good thing’ is a question that admits of a wide solution. (McLuhan 1994: 4)

Much of the debate in the social sciences and the humanities around the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s was framed around the question of whether the ‘disembodiment’ achieved by interactions online would have a positive or negative impact ...

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