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Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance


Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance Cover

ISBN13: 9780805098075
ISBN10: 0805098070
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An inside look at whos watching you, what they know and why it matters. We are being watched.

We see online ads from websites weve visited, long after weve moved on to other interests. Our smartphones and cars transmit our location, enabling us to know whats in the neighborhood but also enabling others to track us. And the federal government, we recently learned, has been conducting a massive data-gathering surveillance operation across the Internet and on our phone lines.

In Dragnet Nation, award-winning investigative journalist Julia Angwin reports from the front lines of Americas surveillance economy, offering a revelatory and unsettling look at how the government, private companies, and even criminals use technology to indiscriminately sweep up vast amounts of our personal data. In a world where we can be watched in our own homes, where we can no longer keep secrets, and where we can be impersonated, financially manipulated, or even placed in a police lineup, Angwin argues that the greatest long-term danger is that we start to internalize the surveillance and censor our words and thoughts, until we lose the very freedom that makes us unique individuals. Appalled at such a prospect, Angwin conducts a series of experiments to try to protect herself, ranging from quitting Google to carrying a “burner” phone, showing how difficult it is for an average citizen to resist the dragnets reach.

Her book is a cautionary tale for all of us, with profound implications for our values, our society, and our very selves.  

About the Author

Julia Angwin is the author of Stealing MySpace and an award-winning investigative journalist for the independent news organization ProPublica. From 2000 to 2013 she was a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where she was on the team of reporters awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of corporate corruption and led a team covering online privacy that was a finalist for a 2012 Pulitzer Prize. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Table of Contents

1. Hacked      1

2. A Short History of Tracking      21

3. State of Surveillance      37

4. Freedom of Association      51

5. Threat Models      65

6. The Audit      80

7. The First Line of Defense      96

8. Leaving Google      112

9. Introducing Ida      127

10. Pocket Litter      140

11. Opting Out      153

12. The Hall of Mirrors      167

13. Lonely Codes      183

14. Fighting Fear      199

15. An Unfairness Doctrine      210

Notes      225

Acknowledgments      275

Index      277

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cblaker, November 6, 2014 (view all comments by cblaker)
This is an important book and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. For those of concerned about privacy, it's a useful read.
The book is structured like a memoir. The author was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Refreshingly, she's a married mom with two kids. I say this because, normally the people writing about government surveillance and privacy issues are single, white men. She begins the book with a brief review of privacy and government violation of it from the beginning of the republic to now. The rest of the book is taken up with her mission to retake as much of her privacy as possible and leave the smallest possible digital footprint.
She finds that it is no easy task retaking your personal information from the data brokers. We are constantly tracked while online. "Anonymous" profiles of people are assembled by these data brokers based on what websites people visit. Based on the information they collect, they'll present you with ads based on your presumed interests. More detailed profiles of people are assembled and used to determine what prices you see for say insurance or plane tickets.
This book was a real eye-opener for me. I took for granted that my moves online were tracked, but I had no idea to the degree which it is done. Most troubling is this data industry is completely unregulated. Once they have your data, you cannot compel them to reveal what they know or to delete their data on you. The only exception to this is your credit score.
I dog-eared and underlined quite a few sections in this book because she has practical tips for minimizing your exposure. I hope that if this book goes to a paperback edition, she'll assemble some of the more useful tips into a single section at the end of the book.
I think the author's conclusion to her book is a bit Pollyannaish. She argues that pollution used to be much worse in the US (an example she sites are rivers bursting into flames, and that for the most part rivers are much cleaner). Pollution is a non-specific problem like the privacy problem, but people got together and encouraged Congress to pass laws that prevent the dumping of chemicals in our rivers. I disagree. I think people have gotten too inured to having little privacy. I see things getting much worse and staying that way. People voluntarily join facebook and are happy to share nearly everything about their lives (I'm looking at you people that post pictures of your food).
My one complaint about this book is her brief reference to bookstores. "Similarly, I used to go to my local bookstore and buy books in cash. Now, all the bookstores are dying, and Amazon is my local bookstore." If you order on Amazon because of the convenience or the prices, fine, it's understandable. But don't pretend like you would still go to your local bookstore if it hadn't closed. You stopped going because of the uber convenience of Amazon. Furthermore, this author lives in New York City, and there are no independent bookstores left in New York City, really?
But aside from my tirade on this minor thing, the book is excellent and I would recommend it to those concerned about their privacy.
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Product Details

Angwin, Julia
Times Books
E-Commerce - General
Consumer behavior
Social Aspects - General
Security / Online Safety & Privacy
Business Writing
Politics-United States Politics
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Business » General
Business » Management
Business » Writing
Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » Social Aspects » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Covert Government and Conspiracy Theory
History and Social Science » Politics » General

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance Used Hardcover
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