Former CNN journalist Rebecca MacKinnon said during a TED Talk that new political innovations are needed to create a “consent of the networked” to protect the Internet from censorship and surveillance.

“In a pre-Internet world, sovereignty over our physical freedoms, or lack thereof, was controlled almost entirely by nation states,” she said. “But now we have this new layer of private sovereignty in cyberspace. And their decisions about software coding, engineering, design, terms of service all act as a kind of law that shapes what we can and cannot do with our digital lives.”

“So the question is, we know how to hold government accountable. We don’t necessarily always do it very well, but we have a sense of what the models are, politically and institutionally, to do that. How do you hold the sovereigns of cyberspace accountable to the public interest when most CEO’s argue that their main obligation is to maximize shareholder profit?”

MacKinnon is on the Board of Directors of the Global Network Initiative and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Watch video, courtesy of TED, below: