Synopses & Reviews
Social networks are the defining cultural movement of our time, empowering us in constantly evolving ways. We can all now be reporters, alerting the world to breaking news of a natural disaster; we can participate in crowd-sourced scientific research; and we can become investigators, helping the police solve crimes. Social networks have even helped to bring down governments. But they have also greatly accelerated the erosion of our personal privacy rights, and any one of us could become the victim of shocking violations at any time. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest nation in the world; but while that nation appears to be a comforting small town, in which we socialize with our selective group of friends, it and the rest of the Web is actually a lawless frontier of hidden and unpredictable dangers. The same power of information that can topple governments can destroy a persons career or marriage. As leading expert on social networks and privacy Lori Andrews shows, through groundbreaking in-depth research and a host of stunning stories of abuses, as we work and chat and shop and date (and even sometimes have sex) over the Web, we are opening ourselves up to increasingly intrusive, relentless, and anonymous surveillance—by employers, schools, lawyers, the police, and aggressive data aggregator services that compile an astonishing amount of information about us and sell it to any and all takers. She reveals the myriad ever more sophisticated techniques being used to track us and discloses how routinely colleges and employers reject applicants due to personal information searches; robbers use postings about vacations to target homes for break-ins; lawyers readily find information to use against us in divorce and child custody cases; and at one school, the administrators actually used the cameras on students school-provided laptops to spy on them in their homes. Some mobile Web devices are even being programmed to listen in on us and feed data services a steady stream of information about where we are and what we are doing. And even if we use the best services to get our personal data removed from the Web, in a short time almost all that data is restored. As Andrews persuasively argues, the legal system cannot be counted on to protect us—in the thousands of cases brought to trial by those whose rights have been violated, judges have most often ruled against them. That is why in addition to revealing the dangers and providing the best expert advice about protecting ourselves, Andrews proposes that we must all become supporters of a Constitution for the Web, which she has drafted and introduces in this book. Now is the time to join her and take action—the very future of privacy is at stake.
"'With more than 750 million members, Facebook's population would make it the third largest nation in the world.' Noted by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America, Andrews is concerned with the lawless frontiers of this figurative nation-how can social networks ensure freedom of speech while protecting the individual against anonymous threats, charges, and harassment? In order to defend 'the People of the Facebook/Twitter/Google/YouTube/MySpace Nation,' Andrews (Future Perfect) investigates the myriad ways in which social networking is unpoliced (or over-policed, in some cases), and proposes a constitution for the digital age. Up-to-date legal recourse for victims of cyberbullying is essentially nonexistent- Lori Drew, the mother of one of teenager Megan Meier's former friends, created a fake MySpace profile to harass Megan, who ended up killing herself. Due to the lack of applicable digital harassment laws, Drew's conviction was overturned and she was set free. On the other hand, students have been expelled for posting negative comments online about their schools, and one teacher was forced to resign due to a Facebook photo showing her drinking a beer. Andrews' 'The Social Network Constitution' echoes familiar amendments, such as 'The Right to Free Speech and Freedom of Expression,' but some are bespoke for the digital age, like 'The Right to Control One's Image.' This book will make readers rethink their online lives, and Andrews' Constitution is a great start to an important conversation.
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"Unnerving narrative about the misuse of personal online informationand#8212;without our knowledgeand#8212;to track, judge and harm us in innumerable aspects of our lives.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;"Social-network executives often dismiss online privacy concerns: 'You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it,' said Sun Microsystemsand#8217; Scott McNealy. But the constitutional freedoms of millions of people posting personal data on Facebook and other networks are violated routinely, and the law has not kept up with the new technology, writes lawyer Andrews (Institute for Science, Law and Technology/Illinois Institute of Technology; andlt;Iandgt;Immunityandlt;/Iandgt;, 2008, etc.). Noting that social networks make their profits on usersand#8217; data, she describes the multibillion-dollar industry of data aggregators who mine online data for the advertising industry, often 'weblining' people, denying them certain opportunities due to observations about their digital selves. Most users have no idea how much information is being collected about them: 'People have a misplaced trust that what they post is private.' The results can be devastating: A Georgia teacher posted a photo showing her drinking a glass of Guinness at an Irish brewery, and she was forced to resign after the photo was e-mailed anonymously to her school superintendent. After seeing a motherand#8217;s MySpace page showing her posing provocatively in lingerie, a judge awarded custody of her young children to her husband. 'Virtually every interaction a person has in the offline world can be tainted by social network information,' writes the author, who proposes creating a 'Social Network Constitution' to govern our lives online. Her governing principles would protect against police searches of social networks without probable cause, require social networks to post conspicuous Miranda-like privacy warnings and set rules for the use or collecting of user information.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;"Authoritative, important reading for policymakers and an unnerving reminder that anything you post can and will be used against you."andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Iandgt;--Kirkus Reviewsandlt;/Iandgt;
A shocking expose of how the web is being used to violate our basic individual rights.
A leading specialist on social networks writes a shocking exposand#233; of the widespread misuse of our personal online data and creates a Constitution for the web to protect us.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Social networks are the defining cultural movement of our time. Over a half a billion people are on Facebook alone. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest nation in the world. But while that nation appears to be a comforting small town in which we can share photos of friends and quaint bits of trivia about our lives, it is actually a lawless battle zoneand#8212;a frontier with all the hidden and unpredictable dangers of any previously unexplored place. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Social networks offer freedom. An ordinary individual can be a reporter, alerting the world to breaking news of a natural disaster or a political crisis. A layperson can be a scientist, participating in a crowd-sourced research project. Or an investigator, helping cops solve a crime. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; But as we work and chat and date (and sometimes even have sex) over the web, traditional rights may be slipping away. Colleges and employers routinely reject applicants because of information found on social networks. Cops use photos from peopleand#8217;s profiles to charge them with crimesand#8212;or argue for harsher sentences. Robbers use postings about vacations to figure out when to break into homes. At one school, officials used cameras on studentsand#8217; laptops to spy on them in their bedrooms.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; The same power of information that can topple governments can also topple a personand#8217;s career, marriage, or future. What Andrews proposes is a Constitution for the web, to extend our rights to this wild new frontier. This vitally important book will generate a storm of attention.
About the Author
andlt;bandgt;Lori Andrewsandlt;/bandgt; is the director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology at Illinois Institute of Technology. She was named a and#8220;Newsmaker of the Yearand#8221; by the andlt;iandgt;American Bar Association Journalandlt;/iandgt;andnbsp;and has served as a regular advisor to the U.S. government on ethical issues regarding new technologies. Learn more at LoriAndrews.com.