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Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance Hardcover – February 25, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Welcome to life in a society of ubiquitous surveillance, tracking and data mining... Angwin, a Wall Street Journal reporter who along with her colleagues has produced essential reporting on privacy and security … aims to illuminate the costs of living with systems that track nearly everything we do, think or say… [and] she performs a herculean effort to regain her privacy… A useful, well-reported study.” ―The Los Angeles Times

“I read Julia Angwin's new book Dragnet Nation… I heartily recommend it to you… [The book is an] antidote to Big Brother's big chill.” ―Bill Moyers

“A deeply researched book that is completely of the moment. Dragnet Nation moves right to the top of the list of books we should all read about privacy.” ―Salon

“Angwin's warning that ‘information is power' resonates.” ―The Daily Beast

“Angwin elegantly chronicles this tragedy of the digital commons at the level of policy and our individual civil liberties…Dragnet Nation really kicks in--and becomes a blast to read--when she fights back…If enough people follow Angwin's lead, new networks of computer users might manage to open up ever larger holes in the dragnet world.” ―Bookforum

“Entertaining… Pacy and eye-opening.” ―The Financial Times

“Angwin, a longtime reporter on digital privacy issues for the Wall Street Journal, releases the contemporary (and, unfortunately, nonfiction) companion book to Orwell's 1984. Dragnet Nation examines the surveillance economy and its effect on free speech and thought, likely causing readers to rethink the next words they type into a search engine.” ―LA Weekly

“[Angwin is] a privacy ninja.” ―Yahoo!'s Tech Modern Family

“Informative, conversational… [Angwin's] travails educate her (and her readers) about all the ways privacy-minded developers are working to develop anti-surveillance tools, and this forms a helpful guide for readers seeking non-jargony information on minimizing their digital footprints.” ―Columbia Journalism Review

“A new hot-button issue that touches both politics and business is privacy, and the erosion of privacy is examined in Dragnet Nation.” ―Publishers Weekly (Top 10 Business & Economics Books)

“Fascinating ... Angwin, who spent years covering privacy issues for the Wall Street Journal, draws on conversations with researchers, hackers and IT experts, surveying the modern dragnet tracking made possible by massive computing power, smaller devices and cheap storage of data...A solid work for both privacy freaks and anyone seeking tips on such matters as how to strengthen passwords.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“In this thought-provoking, highly accessible exploration of the issues around personal data-gathering, Julia Angwin provides a startling account of how we're all being tracked, watched, studied, and sorted. Her own (often very funny) attempts to maintain her online privacy demonstrate the ubiquity of the dragnet--and the near impossibility of evading it. I'll never use Google in the same way again.” ―Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of Happier at Home and The Happiness Project

“Julia Angwin's pathbreaking reporting for the Wall Street Journal about online tracking changed the privacy debate. Her new book represents another leap forward: by showing how difficult it was to protect her own privacy and vividly describing the social and personal costs, Angwin offers both a wakeup call and a thoughtful manifesto for reform. This is a meticulously documented and gripping narrative about why privacy matters and what we can do about it.” ―Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO, National Constitution Center, and author of The Unwanted Gaze and The Naked Crowd

Dragnet Nation is an impressive picture of the new world of electronic surveillance -- from Google to the NSA. Julia Angwin's command of the technology is sure, her writing is clear, and her arguments are compelling. This is an authoritative account of why we should care about privacy and how we can protect ourselves.” ―Bruce Schneier, author of Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive

Dragnet Nation is a fascinating, compelling, and powerful read. Many of us would simply prefer not to know how much others know about us, and yet Julia Angwin opens a door onto that dark world in a way that both raises a new set of public issues and canvasses a range of solutions. We can reclaim our privacy while still enjoying the benefits of many types of surveillance – but only if we take our heads out of the sand and read this book.” ―Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO, New America

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.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805098070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805098075
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
In an age of drones, spy satellites, internet espionage, GPS and cell phone tapping conducted by most of the worlds leading nations (and also many international criminal organizations) ... how can we decent individuals protect our privacy? You may be shocked at how little is actually left available to us as a result of this book's well-researched and outstandingly informative presentation. On one side there is a legitimate need for our governments to protect us from terrorism, identity-theft and international scamming. At the other end is the reasonable desire for most individuals to demand a right to privacy and individual freedoms. At what point, exactly, should collective societal safety trump individual rights? As you will discover in this excellent book, there is a very fine line of difference that separates the two. So how do we protect ourselves? The author has provided a thoughtful and potentially well-constructed answer to this difficult challenge. It is one that can work and involves participation from us all. The more people who are aware of this strategy - the better we will all sleep at night.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Privacy is a hot topic in the news of late. This book goes right to the heart of this issue. The writing is excellent. Julia Angwin speaks from and describes her own experiences with all aspects of the subject. She places her story in the context of her life and her own family. I appreciate this personal touch and the relationship to real life. Too often non-fiction books of this sort present a logical and scholarly analysis of the problem that is difficult to relate to one's own life. This book does not do that; it is relevant.

I am a technically savvy person only to an average degree. But I could tell from her discussion that the author is not seriously techie about any of the subjects she discussed. Advanced dissertations on the topics in the book was not what I was looking for when I bought the book, and if that is what you want, this is not the book for you. However, if you want to understand how privacy in your life has been impacted by government and industry, then this book is a must read.
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Format: Hardcover
`Dragnet Nation' written by awarded journalist Julia Angwin is somewhat frightening story about the lack of privacy and the possibility of preserving our lives only for ourselves which does no longer exist.

The topic of online privacy is one of the subjects on which lately a lot is talked about, but nevertheless in any place that knowledge is not as well synthesized as is the case in `Dragnet Nation'. The book in a fairly realistic and grounded way, `Dragnet Nation' talks about the loss of privacy in today's online world, gives a good overview for those who are not so skilled in handling the on-line services, while they heard something about the loss of privacy on-line.

Julia Angwin goes a step further and offers some very specific advice on how to increase online safety; her book is easy to read and although its story is about complex matters, the language she uses is comprehensible. The author begins his book begins with few simple sentences: "...An inside look at who's watching you, what they know and why it matters. We are being watched..." something you'll understand when her book will be fully understand, although the truth will probably shock you.

Julia Angwin avoided using complex technological knowledge and given that she speaks on the subject exceptionally interesting, with this book you will have no problem to read to the end in a one reading.

`Dragnet Nation' is a work written for those who are not tech geeks, but will certainly intrigue readers to read it quickly; inside there are no legal or technical terms, and these are, among others, the reason why we can recommend this book.
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