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What does a Texas school district have in common with Macy's new shoe department? Both use Radio Frequency Identification, aptly nicknamed "spychips." Texas embeds them in students' ID cards; Macy's inserts them in thousands of shoes. Whether pinpointing grade-schoolers' whereabouts or shoppers' spending habits, each chip has a unique ID number, giving corporations and government agencies new ways to monitor individuals' behavior.
In Spying on Democracy, Heidi Boghosian documents the disturbing increase in surveillance of ordinary citizens. Many Americans might not realize the extent to which our government actively acquires personal information from telecommunications companies and other corporations about individuals who engage in lawful and constitutionally protected activities. Spying reveals how technology is used to categorize and monitor people based on their activities, their associations, their movements, their purchases, and their perceived political beliefs. Corporations and government intelligence agencies mine data from sources as diverse as unmanned drones and video surveillance cameras, iris scans and medical records, all while accessing and combing websites, e-mail lists, phone records, and social media sites to create databases about "persons of interest." If the trend is permitted to continue, we will soon live in a society where nothing is confidential, no information is really secure, and our civil liberties are under constant surveillance and control.
Continue reading “Spying on Democracy: A Short History of Government/Corporate Collusion in the Cyber Age (City Lights Open Media)”
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No Place to Hide is a groundbreaking look at the NSA surveillance scandal, from the reporter who broke the story
Investigative reporter for The Guardian and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald, provides an in-depth look into the NSA scandal that has triggered a national debate over national security and information privacy. With further revelations from documents entrusted to Glenn Greenwald by Edward Snowden himself, this book explores the extraordinary cooperation between private industry and the NSA, and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s surveillance program, both domestically and abroad.
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Most people believe that the right to privacy is inherently at odds with the right to free speech. Courts all over the world have struggled with how to reconcile the problems of media gossip with our commitment to free and open public debate for over a century. The rise of the Internet has made this problem more urgent. We live in an age of corporate and government surveillance of our lives. And our free speech culture has created an anything-goes environment on the web, where offensive and hurtful speech about others is rife. How should we think about the problems of privacy and free speech? In Intellectual Privacy, Neil Richards offers a different solution, one that ensures that our ideas and values keep pace with our technologies. Because of the importance of free speech to free and open societies, he argues that when privacy and free speech truly conflict, free speech should almost always win. Only when disclosures of truly horrible information are made (such as sex tapes) should privacy be able to trump our commitment to free expression. But in sharp contrast to conventional wisdom, Richards argues that speech and privacy are only rarely in conflict. Americas obsession with celebrity culture has blinded us to more important aspects of how privacy and speech fit together. Celebrity gossip might be a price we pay for a free press, but the privacy of ordinary people need not be. True invasions of privacy like peeping toms or electronic surveillance will rarely merit protection as free speech. And critically, Richards shows how most of the law we enact to protect online privacy pose no serious burden to public debate, and how protecting the privacy of our data is not censorship. More fundamentally, Richards shows how privacy and free speech are often essential to each other. He explains the importance of intellectual privacy, protection from surveillance or interference when we are engaged in the processes of generating ideas – thinking, reading, and speaking with confidantes before our ideas are ready for public consumption. In our digital age, in which we increasingly communicate, read, and think with the help of technologies that track us, increased protection for intellectual privacy has become an imperative. What we must do, then, is to worry less about barring tabloid gossip, and worry much more about corporate and government surveillance into the minds, conversations, reading habits, and political beliefs of ordinary people. A timely and provocative book on a subject that affects us all, Intellectual Privacy will radically reshape the debate about privacy and free speech in our digital age.
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Fifty years ago, in 1984, George Orwell imagined a future in which privacy was demolished by a totalitarian state that used spies, video surveillance, historical revisionism, and control over the media to maintain its power. Those who worry about personal privacy and identity–especially in this day of technologies that encroach upon these rights–still use Orwell's "Big Brother" language to discuss privacy issues. But the reality is that the age of a monolithic Big Brother is over. And yet the threats are perhaps even more likely to destroy the rights we've assumed were ours.Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century shows how, in these early years of the 21st century, advances in technology endanger our privacy in ways never before imagined. Direct marketers and retailers track our every purchase; surveillance cameras observe our movements; mobile phones will soon report our location to those who want to track us; government eavesdroppers listen in on private communications; misused medical records turn our bodies and our histories against us; and linked databases assemble detailed consumer profiles used to predict and influence our behavior. Privacy–the most basic of our civil rights–is in grave peril.Simson Garfinkel–journalist, entrepreneur, and international authority on computer security–has devoted his career to testing new technologies and warning about their implications. This newly revised update of the popular hardcover edition of Database Nation is his compelling account of how invasive technologies will affect our lives in the coming years. It's a timely, far-reaching, entertaining, and thought-provoking look at the serious threats to privacy facing us today. The book poses a disturbing question: how can we protect our basic rights to privacy, identity, and autonomy when technology is making invasion and control easier than ever before?Garfinkel's captivating blend of journalism, storytelling, and futurism is a call to arms. It will frighten, entertain, and ultimately convince us that we must take action now to protect our privacy and identity before it's too late.
Terrorists fight their wars in cyberspace as well as on the ground. However, while politicians and the media have hotly debated the dangers of terrorists sabotaging the Internet, surprisingly little is known about terrorists’ actual use of the Internet.
In this timely and eye-opening volume, Gabriel Weimann reveals that terrorist organizations and their supporters maintain hundreds of websites, taking advantage of the unregulated, anonymous, and accessible nature of the Internet to target an array of messages to diverse audiences. Drawing on a seven-year study of the World Wide Web, the author examines how modern terrorist organizations exploit the Internet to raise funds, recruit members, plan and launch attacks, and publicize their chilling results. Weimann also investigates the effectiveness of counterterrorism measures and warns that this cyberwar may cost us dearly in terms of civil rights.
Illustrated with numerous examples taken from terrorist websites, Terror on the Internetoffers the definitive introduction to this emerging and dynamic arena. Weimann lays bare the challenges we collectively face in confronting the growing and increasingly sophisticated terrorist presence on the Net. A publication of the United States Institute of Peace, distributed by Potomac Books, Inc.
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