From Publishers Weekly
The warning bell about our rapidly disappearing privacy is sounded again albeit none too stridently in this study of new technologies and their impact. Hunter, a vice-president at Gartner's Research organization, a business technology consulting group, wants to sketch out how the omnipresence of computers affects every last centimeter of modern human existence. His first chapter, "Why Won't They Leave Me Alone?" is most to the point, asking, on the subject of Internet commerce, "Is the convenience of being known everywhere worth the risk of being known everywhere?" More worrisome than having a digital signature follow you everywhere online he uses the example of Amazon.com's ability to remember things you've bought or even just looked at is the ubiquity of surveillance in public and private spaces. One chapter addresses the tracking of cars, relating the story of a man who was fined $450 for driving his rental car over the speed limit. It wasn't the police that caught him it was a global positioning satellite system in the car. From there, Hunter assays such subjects as the Open Source debate (over making the source codes of commercial operating systems and applications available to the public) and Internet crime. While each of the chapters is useful by itself, Hunter's thesis gets progressively fainter as the book goes on. Very little is resolved by the end of this less-than-groundbreaking study, but it may still be interesting for those new to the subject. (May)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Search for any book at Amazon.com and you will see a list of books that "customers who bought this book also bought." The technology that delivers this information is called data mining and it gives Amazon.com a competitive edge. It's part of an increasingly common phenomenon whereby literally everything we do is being watched and recorded to the point where anyone can find out anything about anybody. Hunter, director of security research at Gartner G2, poses the question, Is a "world without secrets" more scary than before and when is it all too much? In our desire for convenience, we voluntarily give away much of our privacy. Our credit cards, smart cars, and smart homes constantly spew out information about our actions. Cameras and facial recognition software were used recently at the Superbowl. Hunter points out that the ability to mine data gives power to those who own the data. When the government owns our data, Big Brother becomes a reality--"a complex, demanding and dangerous place, but not Hell." David SiegfriedCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved