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The End of Privacy: How Total Surveillance Is Becoming a Reality Paperback – February 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 195 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565845692
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565845695
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,181,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The End of Privacy is a book about power--more specifically, it discusses surveillance as a powerful mechanism of social control. Philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham and Michel Foucault developed the concept of the "panopticon," an ideal prison where compliance with rules is guaranteed through complete and inescapable surveillance. Applying the principles involved to real-world examples that trace the development of surveillance technologies from Second World War military intelligence to the electronic data-veillance of the information revolution, Whitaker provides a thorough analysis of how our society may be gradually approaching panopticism.

Thanks to dramatic technological advances, surveillance monitoring can now provide nearly global coverage, exposing the everyday lives of ordinary people--in the workplace, at school, on the Internet, everywhere--to serve public, private, and prurient interests. Today, Whitaker notes, private-information brokers amass databases for an innumerable variety of commercial purposes--from credit reporting to mass marketing. Vast amounts of detailed personal information, including seemingly useless minutiae, end up in corporate hands. Orwell's monolithic Big Brother has fragmented into a myriad of Little Brothers, which add up to a powerful system with little or no accountability. Who, Whitaker asks, watches the watchers? --Tim Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Whitaker makes a convincing and powerful case that Orwell had it only half right when he envisioned Big Brother smothering our privacy. With computers and other electronic devices playing an integral role in our lives, Whitaker argues that what now exists in developed countries is not a surveillance state but rather a surveillance society. It's the private sector, not the government, that is eroding individual privacy. Information technologies, Whitaker observes, are two-sided: the people most enabled and empowered by technology are also more vulnerable to surveillance and manipulation. From the information people fill out about themselves to obtain credit cards or a mortgage to the cameras that monitor activities in gated communities and public parks, average citizens are losing their privacy in myriad ways. Whitaker, a professor of political science at Toronto's York University and the coauthor of Cold War Canada, also argues that, far from wiping out poverty, the information revolution provides global corporations more power to keep Third World and underdeveloped countries under their thumb. Although there are some slow sections in this work, any reader who has ordered a book online can appreciate Whitaker's argument that people are knowingly or unknowingly sacrificing their privacy for the sale of convenience.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Furland on January 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"The End of Privacy" is profound. This is a non-judgemental, clear-eyed view of modern culture woven into a rich tapestry depicting a continuum of both governance and commerce over time. For the inhabitants of the modern technological ant hill, the "End of Privacy" is an indictment as well as an apologia for the human condition. Surprisingly, for Americans who live a myth of individualism the author argues that individual privacy-the right to be left alone-as a political issue is a non-starter. Inclusion and exclusion, yin and yang outcomes that will affect all of humanity eventually, in fact must be apportioned to satisfy numerous risk aversive objectives in both private (for profit) and public (for governance and control) agendas.
We are what we are. Claiming otherwise would be disingenuous at best. This is a deeply troubling book. Explore for yourself how we are manipulated and ultimately controlled. Having done so, one may ask if we are even able to define what freedom is. Perhaps we have lost everything we once held sacred without even holding a debate.
Jerry Furland, author of "Transfer-the end of the beginning"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By carolyn smith on January 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I save a lot of money using coupons, I always fill out and return warranty cards. I have found myself the recipient of mail I did not solicit and offers that seem to exhibit more about me than I am comfortable with. It seems almost like rape. What amazes me is that Mr. Whitaker (is this a guy thing?) seems to believe it will all be okay-that we won't end up like Winston Smith in 1984, because the power of government is "de-centralizing and power is shifting to the "market". Well, I never get invited to the Whitehouse, and Presidents don't take vacations in my home, or play golf with my husband (Art-my husband-is a scratch golfer-I'd like to see that actually). I don't like what is happening, I cannot answer for anyone else. It is frightening to have Mr. Whitaker state that this seems to be an issue of little concern. I beg to differ. Maybe I'm no Claire Wolfe but I can sure tell my friends to read this book and see what they think. I bet they feel like I do. I'll be telling them to check out Jerry Furland's "Transfer" too.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Larson on February 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because an author I have read who was recommended on a online news site also recommended Reg Whitaker. I was amazed to see that everything I had learned by reading a novel, "Transfer" by Jerry Furland was for real. I am getting a serious case of the shakes here. I thought "Transfer" was just another book about near term events that may or may not be accurate. Not anymore. I am convinced. Read this book. Get smart about where we are headed. Tell your friends and colleagues too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan Werner on February 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Whitaker has done a fine job of increasing my awareness of surveillance and how it can affect my every day life. I have become more careful about the information that I disclose and to whom I disclose it. While computers and computerization are a large part of the surveillance industry, I felt that more time could have been spent on other types of privacy theft and less on cyber voyerism. Overall, I believe that the book served its purpose, assisting me in my professional and private life. Again, I believe too much ink was spent on the computer aspect of surveillance.
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