Understanding Privacy

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Book: Understanding Privacy. Daniel J. Solove.


"It can often seem that we have no secrets--students trumpet their relationship status and crushes on Facebook, data brokers sell our Social Security numbers for a small fee, grocery stores know our eating habits and can guess to the dime what we will appear in our carts at check out every Sunday. So why bother caring about privacy if we really do not have any and cannot control it anyway?

In a beautifully rendered and important book, Professor Solove helps answer that question (and many others) and, in the process, deepens our appreciation of how much privacy is really at stake and why it matters.

Understanding Privacy carefully lays out the different ways our privacy is compromised and the harm that can result. The book brings alive the fact that when our privacy is threatened, individuals are not alone in suffering harm. To be sure, a person whose privacy is compromised experiences problems, from identity theft when a Social Security number is released to a thief to lost job opportunities when drug testing results taken for sports programs make their way to future employers. But, as this book so ably demonstrates, society as a whole suffers as well.

Understanding Privacy illuminates the kaleidoscopic interests at stake and offers a principled way for us to face them. As technology marches on, our privacy is increasingly compromised. Telephone companies store our incoming and outgoing calls, search engines know what we are interested in, and the government mines our information. But, as this book makes clear, businesses, government, and people are in charge of those technologies and have important decisions to make about the information that they amass, use, and disclose, and the activities that they watch. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to appreciate the philosophical and practical questions at issue in our information age." (http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail3805.html)