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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but Overly Legalistic -
Andrews' book starts out focusing on Facebook, but then goes beyond that topic to the broader issue of firms using the Internet to research customers and sell the information to advertisers, potential employers, etc., and the sometimes negative consequences of their doing so. The material is good and eye-opening, but much of it is overly legalistic (eg. Constitutional and...
Published on January 10, 2012 by Loyd E. Eskildson

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and scary, but also repetitive
So, this was pretty good. Definitely scary and eye-opening about online privacy. But gosh did that author hammer home her agenda about creating a Social Networking Constitution, which I'm not saying is a bad idea, but at the end of every single chapter she'd make some reference like "When we write our Social Networking Constitution, let's be sure to include [insert...
Published 23 months ago by Katrina C. Vernon


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but Overly Legalistic -, January 10, 2012
This review is from: I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy (Hardcover)
Andrews' book starts out focusing on Facebook, but then goes beyond that topic to the broader issue of firms using the Internet to research customers and sell the information to advertisers, potential employers, etc., and the sometimes negative consequences of their doing so. The material is good and eye-opening, but much of it is overly legalistic (eg. Constitutional and court case references) for my taste.

Facebook has 750 million members, and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has been pitching it as a means of increasing public participation in the political process. Already some have used it to incite and facilitate street protests. Other more nefarious uses include dessiminating terrorist training materials, finding potential burglary targets out on vacation, and sometimes taking personal photos and information out of context. The Department of Homeland Security now monitors it for some 350 terms, per a 1/11 listing. Member privacy has been a major and recurring concern throughout Facebook's lifetime.

Facebook earned $1.9 billion in advertising revenue in 2010, and another 4200 million from revenue-sharing agreements with applications that run on the site (eg. games). Its 2010 Internet ad revenues exceeded those of newspapers by 2010 - 63% of advertising agencies report targeted ads (per online behavior) have increased their revenues. Facebook, however, makes up only 14.6% of the behavioral advertising market.

Cookies, Flash cookies, and zombie cookies collect user information and sell it to others; similarly, search engine logs help to improve searches and also target their (eg. Google) advertising results. Some companies/sites allow users to opt out of being tracked; however, if you don't know who they are, that's not going to happen. Further, many sites don't function properly unless the user accepts cookies, some opt-outs don't work as promised, and others are only temporary.

The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act makes it illegal to intentionally access a protected computer without authorization; transmitting and obtaining information from such sources are also illegal. However, an actionable violation must cause at least $5,000 in damages, which the author asserts is usually difficult to prove. Other laws are even less useful because they only require approval of the snooping etc. from the site doing it.

Author Lori Andrews is a law professor, hence the legal emphasis throughout the bulk of the book. Her going back to concerns about paparazzi-type actions by early Kodak camera users was one of the more interesting legal references.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Yet Important Book, January 14, 2012
By 
Verbtuoso (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy (Hardcover)
As someone who is on Facebook many times every day, I read this book with a mixture of dread and rapt fascination. Andrews tells amazing, horrifying and incredible true stories of people who's lives have been altered forever by their presence on social networks. But more importantly, she provides a cogent prescription for how to make the web safer for all of us by presenting a Social Network Constitution. I think of this book often: especially every time I describe an interest of mine on the internet -- and seconds later see an ad for it.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars on point and long over-due, January 28, 2012
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This review is from: I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy (Hardcover)
We are what we post, claims Andrews. She shows how the same power of social networks that can topple governments can also topple a person's career, marriage, or future. One woman lost custody of her child due to a sexy photo on Facebook. A 24-year-old teacher lost her job because one of her 700 vacation photos posted on the web showed her visiting a Guinness factory. Andrews shows how anyone who has ever use the internet to undertake a Google search, email a colleague, or join an organization is vulnerable to having that information used against him (or her). She provides specifics about what's at risk--and how people can protect themselves. The subject matter of Andrews' book could not be more timely; her concern for the invisible erosion of personal privacy rights is totally on point.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Newsworthy, April 14, 2012
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This review is from: I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy (Hardcover)
This is a must read if you have any interest in privacy. The gist of the author's work is that you have almost none on the internet. If you think that deleting information fixes your concerns, you are wrong!

Do you use a popular free email service? Guess what, you might as well be standing on the street corner with a megaphone.

This book frightened me and angered me. I was frightened by the unregulated "Wild West" business practices by internet prowlers and angered by my own ignorance up to this point. As the author points out, if you are not in the internet/web business, what goes on behind the scenes is much worse than you know. The biggest sites are the biggest offenders, starting with Facebook (privacy settings are meaningless).

You should read (reread) this book everytime you plan to subscibe to ANY website!

The reason for four stars intead of five is due to the author's lobbying for some sort of internet constitution. My copy of the book is on loan to a friend, so I can't quote the precise nomenclature; but I would have preferred fewer pages on this idea. Just a small nit to pick, the book is still a good read for ANY internet user.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does Big Brother Work for the Private Sector Now?, March 17, 2012
This review is from: I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy (Hardcover)
Even if you allow for the way its sensationalizes its anecdotes, "I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did" is sensational. For the most part the book seems overblown, because most of this nosiness just makes sure we're not bombarded with ads for things that don't interest us.

But there's harsh reality here, too. Mindless redistribution of personal information for high stakes uses like credit scoring, hiring decisions and legal evidence hurts people. Just this week I was denied an apartment rental because some stranger who shares my first and last name almost a thousand miles away was arrested on drug charges. It's devilishly hard to prove you're NOT somebody about whom no one knows much besides a common name.

Andrews provides a ton of good information on which apps and which companies are involved in which kinds of infringements on your online existence. Anyone who cares about online privacy and data integrity really ought to read this book.

The book winds up with the observation that social networking sites, especially Facebook, have enrolled us all in a face recognition program that tags us in photos whether or not we choose to be tagged. In fact, it may tag you even if you're not a Facebook user. If the photo caption says it's been 'Shopped, no one need link that caption to the photo. Nor can the photo be deleted from backup services like Wayback. Commercial users can make whatever conclusions they want from this photo, without authenticating it. Data protection authorities in Hamburg Germany demanded that Facebook delete its citizens from this database, and Facebook is insisting its technology complies with EU data protection laws. Further, Facebook reserves the right to change its privacy policies any time it chooses to do so.

Andrews' book may not suit all audiences. It's boring in places because it gives too much text without internal structure and leans too heavily on anecdotes. Readers need to think carefully about the ideas presented here. Many things are blown out of proportion. In many other ways, we may only see the tip of the iceberg.

At the end of the book, the author provides the "Social Network Constitution" from the 21st Annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference. Your ideas may differ, but the more people appreciate these problems and care about decent answers, the better off we all will be.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and scary, but also repetitive, August 15, 2012
This review is from: I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy (Hardcover)
So, this was pretty good. Definitely scary and eye-opening about online privacy. But gosh did that author hammer home her agenda about creating a Social Networking Constitution, which I'm not saying is a bad idea, but at the end of every single chapter she'd make some reference like "When we write our Social Networking Constitution, let's be sure to include [insert whatever she talked about in that chapter.] It drove me totally crazy and I wished throughout the book that she had just created a chapter at the end about that concept. But then it turned out there WAS a chapter all about the constitution, so all the stuff at the end of the chapter was just extra. I got to the point where anytime I saw those three words coming up I would start skimming, and then I definitely couldn't read that last chapter, or the constitution, which she had already written, so what's the point of using language that included us in the writing of it ALL THROUGH THE BOOK? Anyway, it irked me. But if you skip those parts, it's a really interesting book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Legal prowess undermined by technical ineptness, May 16, 2013
I recently borrowed this book and Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live from the library to read two opposing views of the pros & cons of sharing information online. While the "truth" is probably somewhere in between the two viewpoints (which is not the point of this review), I am struck by Ms. Andrews' apparent ignorance (or alternatively, disregard) of the technical realities underpinning many of her arguments. Numerous technical inaccuracies can be found even in the first 2 chapters of the book, including that data aggregators use (or can use) deep packet inspection to intercept and inspect encrypted communications (e.g. Skype, email). While both books obviously cherry-pick examples and data favorable to their cause, Andrews more than once subtly changes context mid-paragraph to support the paragraph's topic-sentence assertion with dubious (and often wholly unrelated) data (e.g. in reference to "weblining" on p. 20, Andrews starts with "data from aggregators" and proceeds to use an example of Amex's own "aggregate data"--clearly something confusingly similar yet entirely different). She repeats this tactic by utilizing weak quotes (but presumably the strongest she can find) from Mark Zuckerberg, for example, then immediately following the quote with another in the same paragraph by someone else *about* that person (a quote from a former Facebook employee about what he thinks is Zuckerberg's view on privacy, for example). Shouldn't an attorney and law professor know better than to base arguments on hearsay from former (and perhaps disaffected) employees?

As someone with a deep interest in both law and technology, I hoped to find legitimate legal and technical conclusions about this important, timely topic. Instead, I could hardly ascertain or appreciate the author's legal and practical points due to her numerous invalid technical assertions, many of which negate her arguments entirely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrible tales. Solutions less clear., August 25, 2013
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The author dredges up a terrible account of suffering and apparent unfairness that Americans have borne from online life such as web searches, online purchases, "private" posts to Facebook accounts, You Tube videos, and a lot more. Trouble has come in the form of job firings and thwarted job searches, insurance pricing and eligibility, disability and personal injury claims, creditworthiness, court contests over divorce and child custody, and the list goes on. Further, the online backfires can occur many years later, sometimes with the use of digital web archives.

All of this sounds threatening to privacy, to put it mildly. Lori Andrews the author, a law professor, has done a real service by amassing the tales of woe. The book is worth its price and time spent reading for this alone.

What's lacking in the book are business rationales, law enforcement rationales, and national security rationales. Perhaps Andrews weighed those perspectives and discounted them so much that they're given little play in her book.

Also, it would be nice to get advice for the consumer of online experience -- how to weigh and balance privacy concerns and opportunities for convenience, satisfaction, and even professional productivity in our use of the internet? The book leaves the reader to cobble that together.

What the author does put forth is a proposed constitutional amendment to ensure privacy in a digital age. Sounds nice and fair, and idealistic. Good luck with that.

It might have been helpful to see one chapter about what struggles people actually have engaged in to advocate for privacy using the courts, Congress, and so on. I don't know who's done what there. Perhaps somebody will write that chapter or entire book someday, or if it's been written, we'll hear of it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book about an important topic., June 17, 2012
This review is from: I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy (Hardcover)
I listened to this book on the audio version that I checked out from the library.

This book can leave you feeling depressed. It seems that we are all doomed like Jacob Marley in "Christmas Carol" to roam the world not chained to moneyboxes but forever chained to the facebook pictures and status updates which in the light of day we would never have posted. Because of projects like the Wayback Machine what happens in the internet stays in the internet forever.

Lori Andrews is a lawyer and the world she describes is from a legal perspective. The legalistic perspective can be off putting but if you can switch your mind to that perspective you will be rewarded with some profound insights. As she describes the complex legal issues and precedents around this topic you come to realize that you have landed in a world while not lawless more akin to an Alice through the looking glass. Judges like the Red Queen seem to make up the law as they go. I'm sure that this will all get settled in the future. In the meantime the best you can do is have a lot of cash to buy the lawyers that can get you the ruling that you want. Billion dollar companies like Facebook and Google have plenty of money to buy outcomes favorable to themselves. If I where to violate the terms of a contract as freely as Facebook does I'd be sued. Some of the outcomes of cases the are described are jaw dropping. The legal machinations to arrive at "justice" will leave you in tears. I found the treatment of jurors particularly annoying. Jurors are not trained or compensated for their work but are quickly punished if they make a mistake. Its kind of like when mom and dad are arguing they kick the dog for howling. Read this book for an astonishing array of legal judgments which may be "justice" certainly are not moral.

Ms. Andrews proposes "The Social Network Constitution" which reads more like the Bill of Rights. It is a nice idea and I certainly would like to see it implemented but that can't happen. Congress has no incentive to help causes that don't pay them up front. And as far as it being adopted by businesses, Facebook's mistreatment of its customers should drive people to something with greater privacy like Google+ but that doesn't seem to be happening. I'm afraid that we are stuck with the situation that we have. I can think of a solution that might work but realistically if I were to try and implement my idea I'd just be bought out or driven out of business. Ms. Andrews is describing the judicial system of the "Wild West." If you want to survive in this world you better come packing. The best solution to the problems with the lack of privacy on the internet is for everyone to chill. Recognize that like Rand Paul's college fraternity hi-jinks we all do stuff that we are not proud of and just move on. You would think that a nation that preaches that it is a "Christian" nation would understand justice not tempered by mercy condemns us all.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Astonished, June 11, 2012
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This review is from: I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy (Hardcover)
While a difficult read, I find the thoroughness of research astounding. Though I am not an attorney nor a 'computer genius', the text was meticulously written to enable a 'lay' person to gain some insight into a frightening and complex scenario! I would campaign for a Social Network Constitution in a heartbeat! ...and I'm so glad I elected not to join Facebook.
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I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy
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