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Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistanceby Heidi Boghosian
Synopses & Reviews
"Everyone of us is under the omniscient magnifying glass of the government and corporate spies. . . . How do we respond to this smog of surveillance? Start by reading Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance by Heidi Boghosian"--Bill Moyers
"With ex-CIA staffer Edward Snowdens leaks about National Security Agency surveillance in the headlines, Heidi Boghosians Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance feels especially timely. Boghosian reveals how the government acquires information from telecommunications companies and other organizations to create databases about 'persons of interest.'” — Publishers Weekly
"Heidi Boghosian's Spying on Democracy is the answer to the question, 'if you're not doing anything wrong, why should you care if someone's watching you?'"—Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU and former FBI agent
Until the watershed leak of top-secret documents by Edward Snowden to the Guardian UK and the Washington Post, most Americans did not realize the extent to which our government is actively acquiring personal information from telecommunications companies and other corporations. As made startlingly clear, the National Security Agency (NSA) has collected information on every phone call Americans have made over the past seven years. In that same time, the NSA and the FBI have gained the ability to access emails, photos, audio and video chats, and additional content from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, YouTube, Skype, Apple, and others, allegedly in order to track foreign targets.
In Spying on Democracy, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian documents the disturbing increase in surveillance of ordinary citizens and the danger it poses to our privacy, our civil liberties, and to the future of democracy itself. Boghosian reveals how technology is being used to categorize and monitor people based on their associations, their movements, their purchases, and their perceived political beliefs. She shows how corporations and government intelligence agencies mine data from sources as diverse as surveillance cameras and unmanned drones to iris scans and medical records, while combing websites, email, phone records and social media for resale to third parties, including U.S. intelligence agencies.
The ACLU's Michael German says of the examples shown in Boghosian's book, "this unrestrained spying is inevitably used to suppress the most essential tools of democracy: the press, political activists, civil rights advocates and conscientious insiders who blow the whistle on corporate malfeasance and government abuse." Boghosian adds, 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.” Spying on Democracy is a timely, invaluable, and accessible primer for anyone concerned with protecting privacy, freedom, and the U.S. Constitution.
Heidi Boghosian is the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild. She co-hosts Law and Disorder, broadcast on WBAI-FM in New York and over forty stations nationwide. She is based in New York City.
"In a typical day 'your image is caught on surveillance cameras at least 200 times,' warns Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, in this well-researched dossier on the pervasive lengths the U.S. government and corporations will go to track citizens' personal habits. Rejecting the notion that the domestic 'surveillance net' of technologies such as biometric scanning, drones, and RFID chips keep Americans safer from terrorism, the author argues that such relentless scrutiny makes Americans less free by silencing critics and encouraging complacency with waning expectations of privacy. Timely examples are provided, including one from a Pennsylvania school district which remotely monitored students via cameras on school laptops, as well as a breakdown of the police tactics used during the Occupy movement. These examples are carefully connected to their societal consequences: among the areas directly affected, claims the author, are free speech, attorney-client privileges, investigative journalism, and the ability to protest injustice. Boghosian concludes with a survey of organizations devoted to protecting civil liberties. But real freedom, she stresses, must be defended on the personal level through committed encouragement of dissent. An informative read for parents, students, and activists, especially those interested in the implications of technology in today's society. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Spying on US citizens is rising as corporations make big bucks selling info about our private lives to the government.
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.
This is an invaluable and accessible primer for anyone concerned with protecting privacy, freedom, and the US Constitution.
Heidi Boghosian is the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. She co-hosts Law and Disorder, broadcast on WBAI-FM in New York and over forty stations nationwide.
About the Author
Heidi Boghosian is the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild and oversees the legal defense of protesters and individuals targeted by the government. She co-hosts the program "Law and Disorder" based out of Pacifica radio networks WBAI, New York, and is broadcast to more than 25 states on over 42 stations. Selected writings by Boghosian include Punishing Protest (National Lawyers Guild 2007), Applying Restraints to Private Police(Missouri Law Review 2005), and The Assault on Free Speech, Public Assembly, and Dissent (North River Press 2004). Her books reviews have appeared in The Federal Lawyer and the New York Law Journal.
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