Web Exclusives
ShelfLife: Significant Resources on Privacy in the Digital Age. Choice, v.47, no. 09, May 2010.

Bennett, Colin J.  The privacy advocates: resisting the spread of surveillance.  MIT, 2008.  259p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780262026383, $28.00. Reviewed in 2009jun CHOICE.
46-5880  JC596  2008-13819 CIP

Not just another book on privacy, this volume is a study of surveillance and the people and agencies that, in an informal and voluntary manner, have become advocates of privacy protection from both the government and business. It charts the extent of this movement, describes the principal leaders and their strategies, the volunteer groups who are working vigorously to protect individual rights, and the various successes they have had. Its point of view is unique, and Bennett (Univ. of Victoria, Canada) has assembled a vast array of data as well as creating his own by a series of interviews with established leaders in the field. There is an important, original chapter devoted to case histories in which privacy advocates have succeeded in stifling egregious abuses of data collection and dissemination. Bennett’s final chapter suggests some possibilities for international organization by combining the various privacy advocates in a powerful social movement. There are some very informative photographs of various surveillance instruments, a comprehensive but not annotated bibliography, and an index. A valuable addition to the many books on privacy. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. – M. H. Chaplin, Wellesley College 

Encyclopedia of privacy, ed. by William G. Staples.  Greenwood, 2007.  2v index afp ISBN 0-313-33477-3, $199.95.  Outstanding Title! Reviewed in 2007jun CHOICE.
44-5396  JC596  2006-31213 CIP  

This two-volume set presents information and analyses of privacy and privacy-related issues in 226 entries written by over 100 experts. It covers various historic and current aspects of the topic, including legal, political, social, and economic issues. From “Abortion” to “Zone of Privacy,” each signed entry provides extensive coverage of this complex topic. Many entries contain cross-references and suggested readings. Each volume begins with lists of entries in alphabetical order and by topic, as well as a chronology of selected events. Volume 2 includes a resource guide to readings; Web sites, organizations, and films on the topic; editors’ and contributors’ information; and a detailed subject index. No comparable work exists. This excellent resource is more comprehensive and up-to-date than Privacy in the Information Age (CH, Jul’00, 37-6024). Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers. — M. M. Strange, University of Wisconsin—LaCrosse 

Etzioni, Amitai.  The limits of privacy.  Basic Books, 1999.  280p bibl index afp ISBN 0-465-04089-6, $25.00. Reviewed in 1999oct CHOICE.
37-1239  JC596  98-47082 CIP 

Etzioni (George Washington Univ.) argues that American law tilts too far toward individualism, protecting personal privacy even in cases where confidentiality creates a clear threat to the public good. For example, Etzioni believes that the public’s interest in providing early treatment for HIV infants justifies mandatory AIDS testing of newborns, overriding a mother’s right to privacy. Similarly, Etzioni advocates granting the government increased authority to read encrypted messages and the right to issue national identity cards to protect the American public from criminal activity, despite the risks involved in increasing state power. The primary danger to the public, Etzioni argues, comes not from “Big Brother” but from “Big Bucks.” He calls for stronger laws against corporate misuse of medical data on the grounds that there is no compelling public interest served by allowing firms to profit from the sale of most information about the health of private citizens. Etzioni’s most controversial proposal is to protect children from compulsive pedophiles by imprisoning these sex offenders indefinitely in child-free guarded villages. This is an important book because it presents a clearly written example of a communitarian approach to the difficult issue of privacy in a high-tech society. All levels. – T.H. Koenig, Northeastern University 

Garfinkel, Simson.  Database nation: the death of privacy in the 21st century.  O’Reilly, 2000.  312p index afp ISBN 1-56592-653-6, $24.95. Reviewed in 2000sep CHOICE.
38-0590  JC596  99-58637 CIP 

Database Nation, the most comprehensive of the many books on privacy to appear in recent years, surveys the ways in which technology has invaded and, in some cases, usurped the privacy of contemporary Americans. Garfinkel, an acknowledged expert in the field and author of eight other books and a weekly column for the Boston Globe on this and related topics, provides a wealth of detailed information about the myriad ways the government and big business are acquiring personal information without citizens’ awareness of how they are being scrutinized. Each chapter addresses a separate issue, all of which have been the subject of other books, but Garfinkel brings them all together in a well-written, well-informed, and readily accessible book. Among the topics treated are surveillance cameras, linked databases, encryption, medical records and research, wiretapping, and privacy protection. Although the author’s style is journalistic, his knowledge of the field is impeccable, and he provides both footnotes and an abbreviated bibliography. See also Harry Henderson’s Privacy in the Information Age (CH, Jul’00, 37-6024). Garfinkel’s volume is highly recommended for public and academic collections, lower-division undergraduate through research. — M. H. Chaplin, Wellesley College 

Information ethics: privacy, property, and power, ed. by Adam D. Moore.  Washington, 2005.  455p bibl index afp ISBN 0295984899  pbk, $30.00. Reviewed in 2005dec CHOICE.
43-2119  JC585  2005-373 CIP 

In light of the ongoing explosion of information technologies and 9/11 national security concerns, information ethics represents one of the most pressing areas of study and fierce debate in current scholarship. It includes different yet interrelated disciplines covering, e.g., applied ethics, intellectual property, privacy, free speech, and societal control of information. In this anthology, philosophers, judges, and lawyers provide thought-provoking discussions of many issues from divergent viewpoints, with the aim of collecting under one cover articles on normative issues related to information ethics and specifically grounding them in a philosophical context. The goal is to unite traditional ethical systems such as utilitarianism and deontology with cutting-edge thinking on developing technologies, institutions, and legal precedents, e.g., e-mail surveillance, caller ID, file sharing, and the US Patriot Act. Ethical discussions expand into moral, legal, and political disagreements on issues such as societal control of information in relation to free speech and expression, or civil rights infringements occurring for national security reasons. Individual authors mount close analyses of complex problems in real contexts and define their positions in detail. Cases for discussion are included at the end of each section. This is a well-argued, highly informative, and much-needed contribution to current ethical debates. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students; general readers. — J. M. Boyle, Dowling College 

Keenan, Kevin M.  Invasion of privacy: a reference handbook.  ABC-Clio, 2005.  259p bibl index afp ISBN 1-85109-630-2, $50.00. Reviewed in 2006may CHOICE.
43-5563  JC596  2005-18577 CIP  

Keenan (attorney; executive director, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, CA) has written this as part of the publisher’s “Contemporary World Issues” series of handbooks. The series provides clear, up-to-date, and objective references for high school and college students, scholars, and general readers on vital issues facing America and the world. The author’s work offers background on the notion of privacy, arguments for and against privacy, and a good summary of the various forms that threats to privacy have taken. It contains a chronology of events, biographical sketches of major figures, selected privacy documents, a directory of organizations and government agencies, a list of movies, books and Internet news sources, and references for each topic covered. Among the book’s virtues is the author’s attempt to place privacy concerns in an international and comparative context. Keenan provides the argument for and against privacy in a balanced way, but the perspective is one that emphasizes the dangers of invasions to privacy rather than the benefits and justifications of these “invasions.” Nonetheless, this book is an informative, well-written, and timely introduction to the topic. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and above. — P. J. Galie, Canisius College

Mills, Jon L.  Privacy: the lost right.  Oxford, 2008.  391p index; ISBN 9780195367355, $65.00. Reviewed in 2009apr CHOICE.
46-4703  KF1262  2008-16529 CIP  

The breathtaking advent of information technologies in the last decade was inevitably going to come into conflict with our instinct for privacy, and Mills (Univ. of Florida)–formerly the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and currently a law professor–has produced a comprehensive account of this conflict. The key theme Mills explores is how privacy expectations have been deprioritized as our collective informational expectations have risen. As new technologies have enabled the creation and dissemination of more information, we have become accustomed to more invasive demands–both by government and the private sector–and shrug them off as the cost of convenience and safety in the modern world. The first three quarters of the book are a meticulously researched, theoretical overview of this state of affairs, focusing mostly on the US experience but with some comparative sections as well. The last section of the book provides illustrations with a dozen brief case studies and recommendations for reenergizing privacy law. Although the book can be highly technical at times, and its focus on court cases can make for daunting reading, it is an essential contribution to the literature in this field. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate and research collections. — S. B. Lichtman, Shippensburg University 

Newman, Abraham L.  Protectors of privacy: regulating personal data in the global economy.  Cornell, 2008.  221p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780801445491, $39.95. Reviewed in 2009jun CHOICE.
46-5861  KJE6071  2008-11614 CIP  

Digital technology has revolutionized personal data production and collection, and prompted radical changes in the international regime regarding information protection. As a result, data privacy has emerged as one of the top public policy problems of the information age. Newman (Georgetown Univ.) looks into this problem and tries to explain how a new international regime is in the making. The book shows how domestic regulatory capacity affects international regime building or, to be more specific, how government officials with regulatory capacity played an essential role in creating and expanding such international institutions as data privacy protection across Europe and around the world. According to the author, the EU first adopted a directive to regulate data privacy in the mid-1990s as a result of a 15-year debate. Since then it has aggressively promoted its regulatory regime abroad by having its data privacy officials travel abroad to teach about the regime and having international firms to adopt protection measures. It concludes that European action has transformed the debate and raised the level of protection. The spread of comprehensive legislation therefore has reshaped individual liberty, state-society relationships, and the international economy. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. — X. Hu, Clemson University

Politis, Dionysios.  Socioeconomic and legal implications of electronic intrusion, [ed.] by Dionysios Politis, Phaedon Kozyris, and Ioannis Iglezakis.  Information Science Reference, 2009.  367p bibl index; ISBN 9781605662046, $195.00. Reviewed in 2009nov CHOICE.
47-1216  HV6773  2008-43297 CIP  

As the first decade of the 21st century closes, the present-day networked and connected society (or information society) increasingly must cope with electronic intrusion. This form of intrusion has caused and continues to cause many significant problems, and to pose great risks for individuals, governments, and businesses alike. The primary areas of interest involve privacy intrusion, and intrusion into information systems and infrastructure. The rapid growth of information communications technology, and society’s reliance on it, has not only created beneficial applications but also a myriad of sociolegal and socioeconomic concerns and problems. This new volume fills a vacuum in the current literature. The work is organized into three distinct sections: (1) “Social and Economic Dynamics of Electronic Crime,” (2) “Electronic Intrusion,” and (3) “Forensic Challenges for Intrusion.” Each chapter is authoritative, clear, succinct, and easily comprehended. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. — W. Jakub, Franciscan University of Steubenville 

Rule, James B.  Privacy in peril.  Oxford, 2007.  232p bibl index afp ISBN 0-19-530783-6, $28.00; ISBN 9780195307832, $28.00. Reviewed in 2008jun CHOICE.
45-5858  JC596  2007-18610 CIP  

As the author of a previous text on the right to privacy and as an honored professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, Rule is well qualified to prepare this book on modern threats to privacy rights. The author argues that the biggest threat to our privacy comes not from illegal government snooping but rather from perfectly legal uses of our data by business groups and the government. In exchange for providing government and private industry with much personal data, allegedly for our own protection, we also unwittingly create a climate by which these two entities can in effect spy on us. Such a state has mixed blessings. On the positive side the mass collection of personal data allows the business world to be more efficient (which indirectly benefits us), but it also lays the groundwork for many citizens to be hurt by this phenomenon. Some solutions are proposed, but Rule concedes that each has its own costs. This book may be compared with this text by the same author Private Lives and Public Surveillance (1974). The book is clearly written and contains an excellent bibliography and index. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections. – R. A. Carp, University of Houston 

Slobogin, Christopher.  Privacy at risk: the new government surveillance and the Fourth Amendment.  Chicago, 2007.  306p index afp ISBN 0-226-76283-1, $37.50; ISBN 9780226762838, $37.50. Reviewed in 2008may CHOICE.
45-5263  KF4558  2007-21070 CIP  

Slobogin (Univ. of Florida Levin College of Law) accomplishes two important objectives in this work. First, he highlights the threat to civil liberties posed by heightened physical and transactional surveillance. As with communications surveillance–intercepting and monitoring conversations–the government’s ability to monitor noncommunicative activities and obtain vast amounts of private information regarding individuals’ behavior has been greatly enhanced by developing technologies. Unlike communications surveillance, however, physical and transactional surveillance are not carefully regulated, either legislatively or judicially. First, Slobogin presents actual and potential uses of emerging technologies, and existing legislative and judicial approaches to their (non)regulation. Second, he advocates a vigorous Fourth Amendment jurisprudence covering all three surveillance types, rejecting probable cause and individualized suspicion in favor of what he terms the proportionality and exigency principles. These principles, rooted in the landmark Terry v. Ohio decision, require balancing the government’s interest against the individual’s privacy interests; the justification should be proportionate to the intrusiveness of the search, and the claim of exigent circumstances should be reviewed prospectively by a neutral third party. Privacy is not clearly defined, but the discussion of surveillance techniques is excellent, the legal analysis is sound, and the case for Fourth Amendment reform compelling. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, research, and professional collections. — D. E. Smith, Northwest Missouri State University 

Solove, Daniel J.  The digital person: technology and privacy in the information age.  New York University, 2004.  282p index afp ISBN 0-8147-9846-2, $29.95. Reviewed in 2005may CHOICE.
42-5512  KF1263  2004-10188 CIP  

This comprehensive analysis of privacy in the information age challenges traditional assumptions that breeches of privacy through the development of electronic dossiers involve only the invasion of one’s private space. Such invasions can often be solved through individual action through the courts. More nefarious is the very architecture of automated information gathering, which undermines the power of the individual and restructures social relationships. At their base, electronic dossiers result in individuals losing control over their own information through aggregation, manipulation, and dissemination. Through the use of literary analogies and explicit examples, the book reveals how current laws and constitutional interpretations have failed to catch up with emerging problems and how traditional remedies are not up to the challenge. Self-regulation and market-based restraints are deemed ineffective. Solove (George Washington Univ.) drives his points home through considerable reconfiguration of the basic argument. Rather than casting blame or urging retreat to a precomputer database era, the solution is seen in informing individuals, challenging data collectors, and bringing the law up-to-date. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and upper-division undergraduates and above. – S. E. Frantzich, United States Naval Academy 

Solove, Daniel J.  Understanding privacy.  Harvard, 2008.  257p bibl index afp ISBN 0-674-02772-8, $45.00; ISBN 9780674027725, $45.00. Reviewed in 2008nov CHOICE.
46-1562  BF637  2007-32776 CIP  

Virtually everyone believes they know what privacy is, correct? Private lives are sacred, outside the public sphere, and closed to intentional or unintentional scrutiny, are they not? Maybe, maybe not (hint: think homeland security). Solove (George Washington Univ. Law School) argues that no one–including generations of legal scholars, critics, and philosophers–has been able to define privacy with any certainty or confidence, especially now, when one encounters so many different types of privacy. In the Internet and cell phone age, when almost anyone might be listening to communications, be they privileged or mundane, privacy is precious, erroneously presumed, little protected, and often compromised. What to do? Calling on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theory of family resemblances, Solove offers some thoughtful, practical ways out of the privacy morass. Instead of reducing this subject to an academic parlor game, Solove uses interdisciplinary sources to offer a convincing argument about why everyone should care deeply about understanding the nature of privacy. Legal scholars will want to read this book, but so will psychologists, communication specialists, public policy makers, philosophers, and anyone interested in where to draw the line between public and private life. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. – D. S. Dunn, Moravian College 

Whitaker, Reg.  The end of privacy: how total surveillance is becoming a reality.  New Press, NY, 1999.  195p index afp ISBN 1-56584-378-9, $25.00. Reviewed in 1999sep CHOICE.
37-0571  JF1525  98-27826 CIP  

If individual privacy faces an unprecedented threat in contemporary liberal democracies, it is not because jack-booted police are peering through our windows, much less knocking down our doors. Reg Whitaker (York Univ., Canada) argues that the electronic data flows defining a networked society have changed the face of power; the surveillance state has been replaced by a surveillance society. His book contributes to the now extensive discussion of electronic threats to personal privacy in at least two ways. First, drawing on his expertise about the national security state, Whitaker poses the matter squarely as a problem concerning the exercise of public power, rather than within the more familiar context of protecting legal and/or moral rights. Second, he shows that the most significant threat comes not from some central Big Brother state but from the decentered, porous, largely invisible private centers of power in the marketplace. It is not what is forcibly taken but what people freely and largely unconsciously hand over in the forms, surveys, and data transactions of daily life that provides others with tools of control. Whitaker provides a vivid and wide-ranging picture that is both engaging and persuasive. All levels. – A. P. Simonds, University of Massachusetts at Boston 


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