Information technology is everywhere in contemporary politics, but less prominent in political science theory. To understand how technology affects politics we must first understand the political nature of technology. Politics is usually missing from engineering accounts of technology, which focus on optimizing designs rather than on the distributional consequences of an optimization. Likewise, technology is often missing from analyses of political discourse, which focus on the power and interests of actors rather than on how they shape technology to advance those interests. Yet engineering success depends on agreement about design protocols and purposes that will benefit some actor, and political power usually depends on some material means for coercion or persuasion. The function of any technology is ultimately to improve control, and the improvement of control is inevitably political, since it creates winners and losers.