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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to get people to care about privacy and technology. Defeatism and denial are all too common. There is a bipartisan consensus for an expanding surveillance state. Some argue that good people don't need privacy: if you've got nothing to hide, why worry about governments or businesses looking through your business? Daniel J. Solove's new book, Nothing to Hide, shatters that myth. This book reaffirms the value of privacy, shows how endangered it is, and proposes real solutions.

So why should you worry about privacy, even if you've got "nothing to hide?" First, in an era of rampant overcriminalization, it's hard to know if you really are "clean." Recall Cardinal Richelieu's famous line, "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." Moreover, Solove shows that the "nothing to hide" caucus misunderstands privacy as merely a problem of an individual trying to conceal something they don't want others to know. What we really should be thinking about is a process of aggregation of data, where our lives become an open book for those powerful or rich enough to demand our profiles. Solove gives the example of a person buying a book on cancer, and a few weeks later purchasing a wig. What may have once looked like a vague interest in disease now crystallizes into a relative certainty that the person has, or knows someone, with cancer. Like tiny tiles fitted into a mosaic, any particular piece of data may not say all that much. But when they are put together, they can deeply influence how a person is perceived, and ultimately, how they are treated.

Solove's most striking contribution is to show us that the dichotomy between privacy and security is often a false one. As he argues toward the end of the book,

"Those who rush to embrace new technologies [of surveillance] fail to heed what I call the "Titanic Phenomenon." The designers of the Titanic had such hubris in its being unsinkable that they didn't have enough lifeboats. While many new security proposals have great upsides, proponents are not giving adequate thought to the consequences if they fail. These consequences can prove catastrophic."

Like lifeboats, the safeguards of auditing, transparency, and accountability that Solove recommends could do a lot to make our shiny new surveillance state safer and more responsive to the people it is supposed to be protecting. A parade of new sensors may inevitably eviscerate the narrow concept of "privacy as concealment." But Solove gives us a richer concept of privacy, as a right to self-determination, dignity, due process, and a fair hearing in an increasingly automated and alienating world. He also offers a robust roadmap for preserving it. This consistently fascinating and engaging book is a must-read for anyone affected by national security debates---that is, everyone
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Solove has done it again: a fascinating and important work on privacy and national security that leaves no stone unturned and grips the reader with laugh-our-loud moments. Nothing to Hide highlights the stakes in our national security agenda with serious insight and deep analysis. Solove takes apart the arguments and assumptions animating current surveillance efforts, and in a story-telling style, helps us appreciate the full range of their costs and benefits. Solove gives us a set of tools to understand and critically assess emerging technologies of surveillance like the TSA body scans, fusion centers, and the like. A must read!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As the Patriot Act recently obtained extended life and national discussion again (this time very briefly) focused on security, we as a nation appeared prepared to accept the loss of privacy as a necessary price to pay for our safety. If you read Solove's fine work you will see that security and privacy are not mutually exclusive: there are sensible ways to have it both ways -- increased security while preserving what we have always considered to be among our basic rights, privacy. Solove influentially dispenses with superficial cocktail party arguments and shows us that there is too much at stake to too easily sacrifice a cherished value of a democratic society.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Most of us have wondered how well the law protects our privacy, given the rapid pace at which new technologies have emerged over the past few decades. Daniel J. Solove is a law professor who clearly understands privacy law, and its implications (and shortcomings) regarding the Internet. He is, without a doubt, one of the best writers we have on the subject. His writing style is lucid, easy-to-read, and free of legal jargon.

Privacy is a big issue online these days, but I don't think the era of Facebook, Google, and iPhones is going to be rolled back any time soon. It shouldn't be, and we shouldn't exhaust ourselves demanding that the companies behind these products respect our privacy. The forward march of technology might be inevitable, but the erosion of how well the law affords privacy protection for each citizen's online activity is far from deterministic. We can still work to enact legislation that will protect all of us. And I'd argue that we should.

Daniel Solove has written a brilliant introductory guide to this area of the law. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in online privacy law. If you've ever been even remotely curious about your rights regarding your own digital footprints, buy it now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Absolutely fascinating content! Used one of the chapters within my high school English class. Had my students read one of the sections and it sparked a great debate!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Very readable book on privacy, and not a repetition of what you have heard before.
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on February 4, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Solove makes this complex topic easy to understand, so much so that it is required reading for our executive staff. If we could wave our magic wand wand and have every citizen of the US read it, we would.
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on February 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a very informative and interesting book. The author does a great job with explaining why the "I don't have anything to hide" is a poor argument for accepting government's ignorance of the fourth amendment.
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on September 2, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Before I read this book, I had no understanding of privacy laws. This book was not easy to read for me. I work in the networking CE field and I don't have any background in laws. But I learned a lot from reading this book. It is an eye opener for a non-expert. The book is good enough that I intend to read it a second time.
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on June 9, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I don't normally get into legal writings, but this was is different. It gives you clarity as to why your privacy is important and why it is important to protect your rights!

While you may start out reading and thinking you have nothing to hide, you will find that you really have nothing to share.
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