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Privacy is Power: Reclaiming Democracy in the Digital Age

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The moment you check your phone in the morning you are giving away data. Before you’ve even switched off your alarm, a whole host of organisations have been alerted to when you woke up, where you slept, and with whom. As you check the weather, scroll through your ‘suggested friends’ on Facebook, you continually compromise your privacy. Without your permission, or even your The moment you check your phone in the morning you are giving away data. Before you’ve even switched off your alarm, a whole host of organisations have been alerted to when you woke up, where you slept, and with whom. As you check the weather, scroll through your ‘suggested friends’ on Facebook, you continually compromise your privacy. Without your permission, or even your awareness, tech companies are harvesting your information, your location, your likes, your habits, and sharing it amongst themselves. They're not just selling your data. They’re selling the power to influence you. Even when you’ve explicitly asked them not to. And it's not just you. It's all your contacts too. Digital technology is stealing our personal data and with it our power to make free choices. To reclaim that power and democracy, we must protect our privacy. What can we do? So much is at stake. Our phones, our TVs, even our washing machines are spies in our own homes. We need new regulation. We need to pressure policy-makers for red lines on the data economy. And we need to stop sharing and to adopt privacy-friendly alternatives to Google, WhatsApp and other online platforms. Short, terrifying, practical: Privacy is Power highlights the implications of our laid-back attitudes to data, and sets out how we can reclaim control.


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The moment you check your phone in the morning you are giving away data. Before you’ve even switched off your alarm, a whole host of organisations have been alerted to when you woke up, where you slept, and with whom. As you check the weather, scroll through your ‘suggested friends’ on Facebook, you continually compromise your privacy. Without your permission, or even your The moment you check your phone in the morning you are giving away data. Before you’ve even switched off your alarm, a whole host of organisations have been alerted to when you woke up, where you slept, and with whom. As you check the weather, scroll through your ‘suggested friends’ on Facebook, you continually compromise your privacy. Without your permission, or even your awareness, tech companies are harvesting your information, your location, your likes, your habits, and sharing it amongst themselves. They're not just selling your data. They’re selling the power to influence you. Even when you’ve explicitly asked them not to. And it's not just you. It's all your contacts too. Digital technology is stealing our personal data and with it our power to make free choices. To reclaim that power and democracy, we must protect our privacy. What can we do? So much is at stake. Our phones, our TVs, even our washing machines are spies in our own homes. We need new regulation. We need to pressure policy-makers for red lines on the data economy. And we need to stop sharing and to adopt privacy-friendly alternatives to Google, WhatsApp and other online platforms. Short, terrifying, practical: Privacy is Power highlights the implications of our laid-back attitudes to data, and sets out how we can reclaim control.

30 review for Privacy is Power: Reclaiming Democracy in the Digital Age

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Privacy is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data is an urgent and timely book about the issue of privacy since the inception of the internet, how your data is being used by companies and how you can make all of your information safer and more secure online. Of course, collection and storage of our data have always been a problem, even before the internet age, it's only recently in, say, the past decade that we have become increasingly aware of this because of the simply as Privacy is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data is an urgent and timely book about the issue of privacy since the inception of the internet, how your data is being used by companies and how you can make all of your information safer and more secure online. Of course, collection and storage of our data have always been a problem, even before the internet age, it's only recently in, say, the past decade that we have become increasingly aware of this because of the simply astonishing amount of information being collected through a plethora of different means online. And whereas ”online” used to be limited to a computer dial-up connection only, thanks to modernity all of the devices we now have throughout our homes which can connect to the internet means we have a home full of big brother-style products keeping tabs on us at all times. It's certainly disquieting to read and comprehend but this book provides actionable tips to restore and regain your privacy online and in the technological world. A particularly apt quote states: 'if you're not paying for the product, you are the product' or in put another way: the product or service is free to you because they are gaining something much more valuable to them than money: data. This data will tell them everything they need to know in order to understand you as a consumer and will help them target you with advertisements you may appreciate in the future. This is exactly how surveillance capitalism works - Surveillance capitalism refers to an economic system centred around the commodification of personal data with the core purpose of profit-making. Since personal data can be commodified it has become one of the most valuable resources on earth. At under 300 pages, this is a powerful punch to the gut and will give you food for thought, terrify you and open your eyes to the data exploitation going on around you. It's informative, interesting and eminently readable and I found myself fascinated by the ethics behind data collection techniques and exactly what that information is likely to be used for. Carissa Véliz is particularly interested in digital ethics (with an emphasis on privacy and AI ethics). If privacy is an issue you are interested in learning more about then one of the most eye-opening shows you can watch on it is the recent Netflix show ”The Social Dilemma” and I would also highly recommend the book ”The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” by Shoshana Zuboff. Both are invaluable additions to this topic. An accessible and much-needed rumination on one of the defining issues of our age. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Bantam Press for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    An interesting look at the idea of privacy as it relates to big tech and data, charting the past and present and suggesting ways that individuals might grasp back some of their privacy online. The opening chapter goes through an extreme day, highlighting a range of ways a person's privacy might be impacted by the technology in their life, and then the rest of the book discusses what tech companies have done, citing commonly used and lesser known examples and also touching on the current pandemic An interesting look at the idea of privacy as it relates to big tech and data, charting the past and present and suggesting ways that individuals might grasp back some of their privacy online. The opening chapter goes through an extreme day, highlighting a range of ways a person's privacy might be impacted by the technology in their life, and then the rest of the book discusses what tech companies have done, citing commonly used and lesser known examples and also touching on the current pandemic and the impact it has had on data privacy or lack thereof. I enjoyed the parts focusing on what privacy actually is and why it matters, and on how power is mixed up in privacy, as this felt like interesting ground to consider, and I agree with the message about privacy being collective, but I felt that the closing chapter's focus on individual privacy settings/browser/passwords didn't quite get across the need for much wider change, putting more onus on the individual. It's perhaps aimed more at people who are fairly new to debates around big tech and the importance of loss of privacy in the tech sphere (I read a fair few books on the topic, though I was reading this for teaching an online course, which I think it would be useful to refer to in), and would be a good gift for someone who has some interest in the technology they use, but hasn't necessarily read much about the companies behind the tech or how personal data has been gathered and used.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Boutté

    I've seen this book recommended by many people I respect, but I was hesitant to purchase it. I follow Carisa on Twitter, and I let her know that I'm one of those people who doesn't think this topic is as big of a deal as some people say it is. She replied to me and let me know that she had people like me in mind as she wrote this book. I appreciate when authors interact with their audience and potential audience, so I purchased the book right then and there. And honestly, I read this book straig I've seen this book recommended by many people I respect, but I was hesitant to purchase it. I follow Carisa on Twitter, and I let her know that I'm one of those people who doesn't think this topic is as big of a deal as some people say it is. She replied to me and let me know that she had people like me in mind as she wrote this book. I appreciate when authors interact with their audience and potential audience, so I purchased the book right then and there. And honestly, I read this book straight through within about a day. It's awesome.  What I love about Carisa is that she's a philosopher, so she has a whole new perspective about the case for privacy. As someone who has a social media presence and works in marketing, I'm often surprised that people don't know all of the ways our data is collected, and that's one of the reasons I don't read books like this. But Carisa was able to make a multitude of arguments that I hadn't thought of yet. Personally, I feel the most compelling argument she made that hadn't crossed my mind is that my data isn't just about me; it can affect people I know if it's abused.  While Carisa made excellent arguments about how when we allow people to have our data, we give them power, I'm still a little skeptical. This has nothing to do with her writing, but I'm just a bit of a nihilist when it comes to these tech subjects. The author gives some great ways we can protect our data and regulations that should be put in place. And while I don't believe it's as big of a threat as some feel it is, I would vote for legislation regulating Big Tech's ability to access our data in a heartbeat.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aleksandras

    A critical read for every tech user, it makes you realise how important privacy is in all aspects of your life and how to better protect your data so it stays private.

  5. 5 out of 5

    William Connelly

    Interesting book which revealed the scale and depth of the data economy. Contained lots of information that I didn’t know or hadn’t considered. I consider myself reasonably tech savvy but even I’m wide open, data wise. Book contained ideas on how to proceed from here, privacy settings, ad blockers, restricting the data you give out. Only complaint was a slight over-repetition of certain points.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matt S

    The first chapter of this short book describes a single day in an internet-connected citizens life. As the author sets out a litany of data abuses that can and do occur, a funny thought occurs: this is too much. As you finish the chapter, however, you notice that every single example - and there are 77 in total - is supported by evidence. And next comes the not-so-funny thought: can it really be this bad? The rest of the book is an accessible, and deeply moral setting out of the facts: yes, it c The first chapter of this short book describes a single day in an internet-connected citizens life. As the author sets out a litany of data abuses that can and do occur, a funny thought occurs: this is too much. As you finish the chapter, however, you notice that every single example - and there are 77 in total - is supported by evidence. And next comes the not-so-funny thought: can it really be this bad? The rest of the book is an accessible, and deeply moral setting out of the facts: yes, it can really be this bad. If Veliz had stopped there, this would have been a useful awareness-raising book with a strong moral core. But what makes the book indispensable is that Veliz also sets out what we can do, as individuals and as societies, to take back some of the power that has been stealthily taken from us since the rise of Web 2.0, the interactive web. By analysing where power lies, and arguing that it is in our ambit as citizens to ensure that it does not slip too far from our grasp, this brave and hopeful book becomes a manifesto for reinvigorated democracy. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gilbert Hill

    “Oh, so you’re doing history, not philosophy” “Privacy is dead. Get used to it. Nothing to think about” These are some gut reactions from friends and colleagues to Carissa Veliz’s choice of privacy for academic study as Associate Professor at Oxford University. More sympathetic responses tried to refocus her on a topic of research with brighter prospects. Were these doubters justified? Whether we fell into the rabbit hole of privacy by accident, or by design, soundbites like these are frequently h “Oh, so you’re doing history, not philosophy” “Privacy is dead. Get used to it. Nothing to think about” These are some gut reactions from friends and colleagues to Carissa Veliz’s choice of privacy for academic study as Associate Professor at Oxford University. More sympathetic responses tried to refocus her on a topic of research with brighter prospects. Were these doubters justified? Whether we fell into the rabbit hole of privacy by accident, or by design, soundbites like these are frequently heard, and as a technologist myself, the feeling of swimming against the tide is a familiar one. Based on her book “Privacy is Power”, by putting the ‘death’ of privacy, and rise of the Data Economy in a historical context, Veliz sheds new light on the invasiveness of current power structures, and how vulnerable to regulation, public opinion and collective action they now are. Veliz’s book starts with a day in the life of a tracked individual which sufficiently lurid to remind me of my festive blowout with Stephen King novels, but an effective break from the norm of academic or ‘compliance’ language around privacy. Devices, web cookies and corporations really are capturing, analysing and monetising every moment (and indiscretion) of our lives, from lovers’ heartbeats to the keystrokes of emails and social messages which are never sent. The reduction by tech of people with rights to monetised ‘users’ has been called a fair deal for digital convenience but in reality, from AdTech through to health AI, the value exchange with personal data is unequal, broken or non-existent in the first place. Even those who won big in this now regret the logical conclusion of the Data Trade; after Facebook bought WhatsApp, Brian Acton, one of the co-founders, admitted “I sold my users’ privacy”. Still, there is a wide scale of variance in the amount of profiling data when it comes to messaging services, as new research shows: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffm... Facebook is a familiar target as it enabled bad actors like Cambridge Analytica to harvest and weaponize the data of 200 million users via our contacts and the human need to socialise. Google also comes under attack for its control of web advertising and political dialogue (it is by far the biggest spender in the US on lobbying), even as it starts to behave like a regulator itself. Veliz explodes myths about how much data is needed to keep progress marching along, largely because it’s tempting to think more data = smarter AI, or more personal = better healthcare, so-called ‘magical thinking’. In fact, data overload may impede our thinking and decision-making capabilities, and doesn’t add value in most cases. Human forgetting is partly a value-add process of filtering what’s important, and in any case most of the ‘training’ for AI’s is done by manually by humans jockeying the software or literally listening in to conversations. It’s helpful to hear my own thoughts echoed on how valid concerns and best intentions around security were used to undermine our right to privacy. Seen historically, one of the tragedies of the 9/11 attacks was abandonment of planned regulation for data commerce which has only started to be tackled now with GDPR, CCPA & similar laws. It’s also useful to have analytical, critical light shone onto the efforts of tech and governments to increase surveillance in the fight against COVID, even as this plays out in real time: https://www.zdnet.com/article/singapo... It will always be a struggle to keep personal data safe when interacting with companies that do not have the public good as their main objective, and in some cases have replaced human organisations which regulate and promote healthy behaviour. That’s why solutions to the privacy problem need to focus on the collective, and for Veliz the path is clear: “We need to put our full weight behind privacy agencies to make sure laws are enforced. And then we must regulate the data economy into oblivion”. Where I diverge from the author is her belief, found often in an academic and policy space that there is no role for citizens to monetise their own data, as this will debase our rights and create more ‘collateral damage’. I think there is plenty of space for tech to enable a New Data Economy with tools to provide smaller businesses and existing social groups with new sources of income and agency and, from the “Yang Gang” in the US to data unions and trusts in Europe and the UK, there is all to play for. As the author covers engagingly and accessibly, language is power. If we can socialise some of the new concepts around data citizenship then 2021 is indeed a historical moment to end the Wild West of data commerce and set the privacy landscape for the next few decades. Now that’s an exciting topic!

  8. 5 out of 5

    MFF

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. For our own sake, I wish books like 'Privacy is Power' become widely public! I just finished listening to Privacy is Power, by Carissa Véliz. I’m grateful she chose this topic of research and wrote this book, which shall provide many of us a point of inflection to take action on such a relevant matter. I may not technically qualify as a privacy advocate, but I have always subscribed to the idea of privacy, even before the onset of the data economy. However, in the last few years, as big tech has b For our own sake, I wish books like 'Privacy is Power' become widely public! I just finished listening to Privacy is Power, by Carissa Véliz. I’m grateful she chose this topic of research and wrote this book, which shall provide many of us a point of inflection to take action on such a relevant matter. I may not technically qualify as a privacy advocate, but I have always subscribed to the idea of privacy, even before the onset of the data economy. However, in the last few years, as big tech has become omnipresent, it has become more difficult to preserve many aspects of our privacy. Fighting back is very inconvenient: you can't get this product, or that service, and if the anonymous alternative (the old way) is still available, it will likely cost more. On the social side, not surrendering ‘to share’ can be annoying or misinterpreted as antisocial or antiquated. But I think to myself I have been here before: these little everyday struggles often take me back many years when I was pushing family and friends to wear seatbelts. I strained some relationships to inject common sense, but in the end common sense prevailed. Like Carissa, I'm an optimist. Carissa hit a nerve that resonates with many of us. The book starts by describing a hypothetical day in the life of a modern-day citizen, and their interaction with technology. But she goes behind the scenes to explain how this data could be used today to influence our actions, our decisions. A more daunting thought is: how could it be used in the future, when it is too late to undo our decades-long digital footprint? The parallels of her story to our lives are of course very strong: phone by the bed, big-tech assistant in the kitchen, colleagues on our social media profiles, etc. Reading this section, you wake up to the thought that your digital footprint could be your biggest liability. You feel a bit anxious, and want to get out of this mess. You read on! Privacy is Power also delivers the philosophical and moral perspectives to justify changing the dominant role big tech or big governments play in our lives at the moment. Some of the ideas in the book seemed relatively obvious to me, but others were thought provoking. Of the latter, I capture three here: 1) First, if you find the justification to keep your privacy too abstract to articulate, flip the question and ask yourself why should others (companies or governments) enjoy the benefit of knowing too much about you? Or fast forward in time: do the short-term small conveniences to you outweigh the long-term big risks to you and your loved ones? 2) Second, privacy exists at the level of the individual (you, me), but its protection or destruction has collective consequences. Therefore, it's not enough that you act, but that others around you follow suit. It’s analogous to voting: if you believe your side should win, you’d better rally others to vote for your candidate. 3) Third, how we got here: on one hand, Google playing around with business models and finally landing on targeted advertising, and on the other, governments short-term measures to anticipate terrorist threats becoming sustained abuses on the privacy of individuals. Of course, this was all facilitated by technologies that have become available, but it almost feels we got here by chance and not by design. And this idea sparks a bit of optimism that we should be able to get out of this mess if, by design, we decide to. The last section of the book is dedicated to various actions we can take as individuals to put pressure on big tech and governments to reverse the trend and recoup our privacy. This of course starts by creating awareness and incentivising more individuals to act. In terms of actions one can take immediately to start reversing the trend on our privacy exposure, I found myself wanting more! I realise, however, that the extent and heterogeneity of individuals' digital footprints is so vast that an all-encompassing guideline would land well outside the scope of the book. In terms of getting me to take action though, I'm happy to report that I have already implemented a few the book recommended, and have started researching more. As with the seatbelt campaign back in my hometown, my privacy campaign has started with family and friends. This time, however, the subject is more complex and books like Privacy is Power shall help me open some doors. I'm already recommending it to some of my contacts. For many others, I'll eagerly await the Spanish version.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    A very toxic book from a person with high stakes in the show. The problem with the lack of privacy are the dozens of spy agencies empowered by secret laws and secret tribunals to keep the people in power there. The problem is compound with the hundreds of other agencies that have power over the lives of people for anything imaginable and than some more. Care to have a certain plant in your garden? Masked thugs will break your home and throw you in jail. Care to have people the government doesn't A very toxic book from a person with high stakes in the show. The problem with the lack of privacy are the dozens of spy agencies empowered by secret laws and secret tribunals to keep the people in power there. The problem is compound with the hundreds of other agencies that have power over the lives of people for anything imaginable and than some more. Care to have a certain plant in your garden? Masked thugs will break your home and throw you in jail. Care to have people the government doesn't want in your home? Same story. Each time it is the same story. Now here comes Veliz. A person who lives the good living out of the taxes collected by those people in power. And not just the good life, there are more perks in the life of a supporter of the system: paid trips for "research", a generous pension plan, and more. Than there are the benefits of the good middle class life: tax deducted home improvements, a hybrid car partly paid by the people who are actually doing the productive work. Or paid by the poor who still don't get that alcohol and cigarettes aren't good for them. All ready to pay taxes for Veliz could tell them what they should think. So what is the solution to this invented problem? More Government power! And when the time comes, and when they expand the Government with more secret Agencies, maybe they will bestow an even better paid job to their humble servant, Veliz, the useful bureaucrat. So yes, privacy is power. And Veliz is teaching you how to protect the privacy of your beloved rulers, while paying to be stripped naked at the airport, while having to pay more for your Internet and phone because your conversations have to be recorded, and having to pay more for any banking services, because you might never know, but you might be a closeted terrorist.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bob Thatcher

    I am very glad about this book bringing privacy issues into the mainstream and explaining them in a way where you do not require technological knowledge to understand it. The book makes a lot of sensible claims and is written in an easy to read way. I really enjoyed it. Things are really looking bad in regards to privacy and this book made me realize the consequences can be much worse than targeted ads. We live in a world where big corporations can easily influence politics without anyone even k I am very glad about this book bringing privacy issues into the mainstream and explaining them in a way where you do not require technological knowledge to understand it. The book makes a lot of sensible claims and is written in an easy to read way. I really enjoyed it. Things are really looking bad in regards to privacy and this book made me realize the consequences can be much worse than targeted ads. We live in a world where big corporations can easily influence politics without anyone even knowing. Having this said I take a few issues with this book. Some claims are just not true. For instance the fact that data does not help machine learning models train better. The author backs this claim with examples of tasks where reinforcement learning yields much better results than supervised learning (AlphaGo). The fact that you can reach good results without big data might be accurate for such exaples, but is not a general truth. It is weird that such claims are in this book since the case is already strong. Such errors do not help its case. I would still recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing more about the current state of affairs in regards to privacy and privacy politics.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Treen

    reading this while we await US election results was even more harrowing. social media/ fake news/ personalised ads have already shown its adverse impact to democracy. this book is more necessary than ever. i really liked the structure of this book - it was succinct. Véliz maps out clearly what is happening to our data and possible implications of these. to illustrate, she recounts historical events which involved data exploitation. she explores how these would be worse and more damaging in presen reading this while we await US election results was even more harrowing. social media/ fake news/ personalised ads have already shown its adverse impact to democracy. this book is more necessary than ever. i really liked the structure of this book - it was succinct. Véliz maps out clearly what is happening to our data and possible implications of these. to illustrate, she recounts historical events which involved data exploitation. she explores how these would be worse and more damaging in present contexts, where our personal data is more easily accessible and available. nearing the end of the book, Véliz clearly lists steps that can be taken to reduce our digital trails which i thought is very useful. this included encrypting your hard drive and using a search engine such as qwant rather than google. however, some recognition of how our lives are supported by digital platforms was missing. i think this has been abetted by the role of "convenience". as our lives become busier, it is simpler to rely on digital devices, but as Véliz warns, it is at a high cost. overall, a great and important read. i will be changing my behaviour online and implementing her suggestions.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Remco

    I thought this was a very thought provoking book to read. Everyone that uses social media, Google or the internet or has a smart phone ought to read it. I regard myself as reasonably well informed as regards to cyber risks and using proper hygiene standards when using the internet. Nonetheless I found myself learning a lot from this book. The author does a great job in hand breaking down the high level issues around data privacy and how it impacts lives of of human beings. But also in giving a ra I thought this was a very thought provoking book to read. Everyone that uses social media, Google or the internet or has a smart phone ought to read it. I regard myself as reasonably well informed as regards to cyber risks and using proper hygiene standards when using the internet. Nonetheless I found myself learning a lot from this book. The author does a great job in hand breaking down the high level issues around data privacy and how it impacts lives of of human beings. But also in giving a raft of very practical tips on things you can start doing yourself to protect your own personal data better. Because the book was written and published in 2020 it is all very fresh and even some corona virus related issues are being discussed (tracker apps and the like) I found the author's style of writing appealing. To the point, well structured and with arguments succinctly put. Highly recommended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mana

    What kind of society would you like to live in? Two worlds lie ahead. The first is more extreme version of the surveillance society we live in today; it is a world in which your every step is recorded, analysed and shared with governments and companies. Surveillance is about what you think and feel, not only what you do. This is a world in which machines manage you and a world in which you worry about your children's privacy. There is another world, the world in which privacy is respected. we jus What kind of society would you like to live in? Two worlds lie ahead. The first is more extreme version of the surveillance society we live in today; it is a world in which your every step is recorded, analysed and shared with governments and companies. Surveillance is about what you think and feel, not only what you do. This is a world in which machines manage you and a world in which you worry about your children's privacy. There is another world, the world in which privacy is respected. we just need the right tech with the right rules in place. Good tech doesn't force-feed you, there is no fine print, no under the table snatching of your data, no excuses and no apologies. Good tech protects your privacy. Privacy is our right, so refuse the inaccetable and take back control of your personal data. A must read in these times!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chris Malone

    'Privacy is Power' definitely helped me to strengthen my beliefs regarding privacy and personal data. I know so much more than I did, having read the book. I love the passion behind the pragmatism. Carissa's writing is decisive, compelling and judgemental, teetering on the edge of becoming dogmatic. The opening chapters, and the finale, score 5/5 from me. I found some of the chapters in between to be heavy going, but it was definitely worth persevering. This book is for people of all ages, even 'Privacy is Power' definitely helped me to strengthen my beliefs regarding privacy and personal data. I know so much more than I did, having read the book. I love the passion behind the pragmatism. Carissa's writing is decisive, compelling and judgemental, teetering on the edge of becoming dogmatic. The opening chapters, and the finale, score 5/5 from me. I found some of the chapters in between to be heavy going, but it was definitely worth persevering. This book is for people of all ages, even though The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is quoted as a letter from our ancestors - some readers were alive then, and others may have been involved in the process! If you seek an extremely well-informed and comprehensive resume of the current risks to society, and to individuals, of surveillance capitalism, this book is most definitely for you.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mathilde Guillaumin

    Such an important book! It tackles a topic we should become much more aware of, as it touches on core features of our modern everyday lives. And despite its relatively “dry” subject, it reads like a novel - with lots of touches of humour and many examples. It raises crucial issues regarding privacy and technology nowadays to encourage us to start discussing and questioning more. The book helped me realise how privacy and respect of human integrity are to our societies what health is to the human Such an important book! It tackles a topic we should become much more aware of, as it touches on core features of our modern everyday lives. And despite its relatively “dry” subject, it reads like a novel - with lots of touches of humour and many examples. It raises crucial issues regarding privacy and technology nowadays to encourage us to start discussing and questioning more. The book helped me realise how privacy and respect of human integrity are to our societies what health is to the human body: infinitely precious but something that needs to be cared for day after day. This requires personal commitment informed by expert opinions - this book does just that: giving you the keys to start thinking about privacy in a much more informed way. Importantly, it raises some alarming issues while remaining an empowering, pragmatic, and optimistic read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Wall

    Review by Oxford Philosophy professor of privacy losses from data vultures capturing and misusing our digital data. A cautionary tale from a modern Cassandra. Every piece of evidence we have suggests that mass surveillance in the United States has been utterly unhelpful in preventing terrorism. The President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, for instance could not find a single case in which mass collection of telephone call records had stopped an attack. p.38 A democr Review by Oxford Philosophy professor of privacy losses from data vultures capturing and misusing our digital data. A cautionary tale from a modern Cassandra. Every piece of evidence we have suggests that mass surveillance in the United States has been utterly unhelpful in preventing terrorism. The President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, for instance could not find a single case in which mass collection of telephone call records had stopped an attack. p.38 A democracy in which people are not autonomous is a sham. p. 75 For your rights in particular to be guaranteed, democracy has to be liberal. Otherwise we risk what John Stuart Mill called the tyranny of the majority. p. 84 . . . suffering from an asymmetry of knowledge has led to an asymmetry of power. p. 86

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peter Martin

    The author is passionate about her cause, and writes powerfully and with relevant and scary case studies and analogies from history (for example IBM punch cards and the Holocaust). The book seems a little longer than it needs to be, and occasionally is repetitive, and at the end I felt overwhelmed by the task of cleaning the Augean stables polluted by my own digital and data incontinence. But I’ll probably give it a go for a few weeks - before I slip back into my bad data privacy habits, partly The author is passionate about her cause, and writes powerfully and with relevant and scary case studies and analogies from history (for example IBM punch cards and the Holocaust). The book seems a little longer than it needs to be, and occasionally is repetitive, and at the end I felt overwhelmed by the task of cleaning the Augean stables polluted by my own digital and data incontinence. But I’ll probably give it a go for a few weeks - before I slip back into my bad data privacy habits, partly because I find my phone, my apps, my fitness trackers, my Facebook, my WhatsApp, my 23andMe and my My Heritage so convenient and so, well, so entertaining. But that’s my fault not Carissa Veliz’.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ale Carrizo

    I never realized the importance of knowing about what happens behind the internet, before reading this book I thought the people who said that your computer and phone “ listens you” were crazy. But now I know that everything is right. I fully recommend to read this book to everyone, I don’t want to make a lot of spoilers so I just wanna say that we have to be really careful with our privacy because we don’t know when someone is listens us. Doesn’t matter if you are link me a “no one” we are inte I never realized the importance of knowing about what happens behind the internet, before reading this book I thought the people who said that your computer and phone “ listens you” were crazy. But now I know that everything is right. I fully recommend to read this book to everyone, I don’t want to make a lot of spoilers so I just wanna say that we have to be really careful with our privacy because we don’t know when someone is listens us. Doesn’t matter if you are link me a “no one” we are interesting for the internet and the people behind it!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cass

    I read this for a class but it was actually a very good, fast read! I also recognize the irony of posting about a book about privacy on a platform owned by Amazon, which steals all our data. Anyway, this was incredibly interesting, and while I liked it all, I found the final two chapter on what we (as individuals and our governments) can do about taking back our data and privacy to be the most impactful. Some of the earlier chapters got a bit repetitive, but I find that's true of a lot of non-fi I read this for a class but it was actually a very good, fast read! I also recognize the irony of posting about a book about privacy on a platform owned by Amazon, which steals all our data. Anyway, this was incredibly interesting, and while I liked it all, I found the final two chapter on what we (as individuals and our governments) can do about taking back our data and privacy to be the most impactful. Some of the earlier chapters got a bit repetitive, but I find that's true of a lot of non-fiction where you want evidence to be plentiful, so don't let that deter you!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Radu Homorozan

    Great book, and a must-read for every netizen (so basically everyone who surfs the web or uses digital products/services). It elaborates on why privacy is indeed power, and why we should reclaim our privacy and insist on proper privacy legislation. Even if you are one of the people who "have nothing to hide", this book will help you understand why it is still important to stay private; important for you as an individual, for our democracies, and society as a whole. Great book, and a must-read for every netizen (so basically everyone who surfs the web or uses digital products/services). It elaborates on why privacy is indeed power, and why we should reclaim our privacy and insist on proper privacy legislation. Even if you are one of the people who "have nothing to hide", this book will help you understand why it is still important to stay private; important for you as an individual, for our democracies, and society as a whole.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    TODAY at 5pm (UK time), Sir Michael Tugendhat, @hare_brain, @JTasioulas and I will have an online discussion about Privacy Is Power. This is the first event at the @EthicsInAI this term. Joins us! https://torch.ox.ac.uk/event/live-eve... TODAY at 5pm (UK time), Sir Michael Tugendhat, @hare_brain, @JTasioulas and I will have an online discussion about Privacy Is Power. This is the first event at the @EthicsInAI this term. Joins us! https://torch.ox.ac.uk/event/live-eve...

  22. 4 out of 5

    TBHONEST

    Privacy is Power :Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data is a short but a very necessary and relevant read, that needs to be read. Yes what happens to your data online is unnerving but this helps you understand how you can be more selective of what you put out there.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sven Gerst

    I have philosophically very different view in a sense that I think a post-privacy world would actually enable more Liberty than a privacy-obsessed society. But ultimately I also installed the full package of privacy protection...so maybe Carissa convinced me after all.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vasileios Giannakopoulos

    Privacy is finally an issue that becomes more popular thanks to the awareness. This book is touching interestingly the subject and explains diverse ways where privacy needs to be thought, but on the other hand it is also approaching the solutions to privacy in a very radical, naive way.

  25. 5 out of 5

    gaverne Bennett

    Book of genius

  26. 4 out of 5

    Conor

    Philosophical perspective on the problem of privacy which we face. Scary, but looking at it optimistically, it’s good to know that there are things we can do to curb this problem.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paulo Adalberto Reimann

    OK Apparently the jennie has left the bottle and no can do to avoid snoopers. Book is good, a tremendous warning coming too late.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ella Shepherd

    A jolt to the system. Remarkably well-written and engaging. I finished it in a day. Particularly loved it was not just ‘what’, but also ‘what you should do about it’.

  29. 5 out of 5

    João Pinho

    a must read

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ine

    A very easy and pleasant read, and a solid introduction to privacy thinking.

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