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Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World 1st Edition
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“When it comes to what government and business are doing together and separately with personal data scooped up from the ether, Mr. Schneier is as knowledgeable as it gets…. Mr. Schneier’s use of concrete examples of bad behavior with data will make even skeptics queasy and potentially push the already paranoid over the edge. Mr. Schneier writes clearly and simply about a complex subject.” (Jonathan A. Knee - The New York Times)
“Lucid and compelling.” (Emily Parker - Washington Post)
“A pithy, pointed, and highly readable explanation of what we know in the wake of the Snowden revelations, with practical steps that ordinary people can take if they want to do something about the threats to privacy and liberty posed not only by the government but by the Big Data industry.” (Neal Stephenson, author of Reamde)
“Lucid and fast-paced…. Schneier describes with dismay the erosion of privacy, then lays out a strategy for turning the tide.” (Hiawatha Bray - Boston Globe)
“[T]hought-provoking, absorbing, and comprehensive.” (Gil Press - Forbes)
“The public conversation about surveillance in the digital age would be a good deal more intelligent if we all read Bruce Schneier first.” (Malcolm Gladwell)
“Bruce Schneier has written a hugely insightful and important book about how big data and its cousin, mass surveillance, affect our lives, and what to do about it. In characteristic fashion, Schneier takes very complex and varied information and ideas and makes them vivid, accessible, and compelling.” (Jack Goldsmith, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice under George W. Bush)
“Schneier exposes the many and surprising ways governments and corporations monitor all of us, providing a must-read User’s Guide to Life in the Data Age. His recommendations for change should be part of a much-needed public debate.” (Richard A. Clarke, former chief counterterrorism adviser on the National Security Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and author of Cyber War)
“As it becomes increasingly clear that surveillance has surpassed anything that Orwell imagined, we need a guide to how and why we’re being snooped and what we can do about it. Bruce Schneier is that guide―step by step he outlines the various ways we are being monitored, and after scaring the pants off us, he tells us how to fight back.” (Steven Levy, editor-in-chief of Backchannel and author of Crypto and Hackers)
“A judicious and incisive analysis of one of the most pressing new issues of our time, written by a true expert.” (Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature)
“Lucid, sophisticated… Finely constructed, free of cant, and practical in its conclusions.” (Jacob Silverman - Los Angeles Times)
“Paints a picture of the big-data revolution that is dark, but compelling; one in which the conveniences of our digitized world have devalued privacy.” (Charles Seife - Nature)
“The internet is a surveillance state, and like any technology, surveillance has both good and bad uses. Bruce Schneier draws on his vast range of technical and historical skills to sort them out. He analyzes both the challenge of big brother and many little brothers. Anyone interested in security, liberty, privacy, and justice in this cyber age must read this book.” (Joseph S. Nye Jr., Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and author of The Future of Power)
“Data and Goliath is the indispensable guide to understanding the most important current threat to freedom in democratic market societies. Whether you worry about government surveillance in the post-Snowden era, or about Facebook and Google manipulating you based on their vast data collections, Schneier, the leading, truly independent expert writing about these threats today, offers a rich overview of the technologies and practices leading us toward surveillance society and the diverse solutions we must pursue to save us from that fate.” (Yochai Benkler, Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School and author of The Wealth of Networks)
About the Author
Bruce Schneier is "one of the world's foremost security experts" (Wired) and the best-selling author of thirteen books. He speaks and writes regularly for major media venues, and his newsletter and blog reach more than 250,000 people worldwide. He is a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and the CTO of Resilient Systems, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is divided into three parts. The first one describes our world, where every appliance is a computer, everyone is connected, there’s an app for everything - all resulting in enormous amounts of data, pumped each second through the internet. New business models emerged, monetizing user data (e.g. via targeted ads) in exchange for free services. We have traded privacy for convenience. All that information being gathered - unprecedented in history - prompted some governments to deploy mass surveillance programs, theoretically in order to detect terrorist activity. Although Snowden’s whistleblowing relates mainly to NSA and UK’s GCHQ, there are strong clues suggesting that other world powers do the same.
In second part, the author writes about negative effects of mass surveillance - notably the stifling of free speech - and what risks come from the abuse of power from secret agencies. Moreover, it is shown how data mining techniques are ineffective at finding terrorists, on the other hand being helpful in intimidating and controlling whole societies. Author focuses on privacy as an inherent human right, nowadays threatened by the fact that human interactions are losing their historically ephemeral nature; internet forgets nothing.
As Bruce Schneier is deeply convinced that all those changes are mostly harmful - to personal freedoms, transparency of government and police work, democratic procedures, justice etc. - the book, in its last part, concludes with author’s proposals on how to avoid more damage. Privacy and security can coexist; mass surveillance should be replaced with targeted one, allowed by warrant, along police procedures - not espionage (secret) ones. Companies should not yield to NSA claims to insert backdoors - so no bad guys can exploit them. Whichever company collects user data, should do so with transparent rules on how it is used. It is not yet too late to save privacy from waning - if only societies could see through free services and govt-instilled fear of terror, what is really at stake.
Some derogate this title for being biased against US federal agents, sworn to protect the country from terrorist threats and doing whatever it takes to get the job done. I would like to point out that the author does not negate the patriotic intentions of federal personnel; his criticism pertains to how whole agencies are organised (amassed power with little oversight) and how their recently-acquired mass-surveillance tools are not cut out for the job of finding terrorists. Those points are backed by numerous cited facts. On the other hand, it is not hidden that this whole book is an expression of Bruce Schneier’s beliefs; if he writes that privacy “is something we ought to have (...) because it is moral” - he does not have to elaborate too much on why he thinks that, does he? So, yes, the book might be called “biased” - as it supports the notion that some sacrifices, in the name of security, just can not be made. Personal freedoms are the foundation of western societies and must not be given away. I fully agree with Bruce - and suspect that a majority of US and EU inhabitants would too, have they pondered on what actually happened in the surveillance field in last two decades. This book really helps you in realising that.
All in all, I seriously doubt that anyone could write such a convincing and well substantiated book which would oppose “Data and Goliath” message - but, perversely, I would love to see one ;) A must read. For literally each of us.
But the author does more than just alert the reader to the dangers to our privacy and freedom but makes practical suggestions about positive actions we can take to address the issues he raises. In particular, we need to own our data, especially our own medical data. I highly recommend this book to anyone concerned about their privacy and freedom and that of their families.