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Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance Hardcover – February 25, 2014
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“Welcome to life in a society of ubiquitous surveillance, tracking and data mining... Angwin, a Wall Street Journal reporter who along with her colleagues has produced essential reporting on privacy and security … aims to illuminate the costs of living with systems that track nearly everything we do, think or say… [and] she performs a herculean effort to regain her privacy… A useful, well-reported study.” ―The Los Angeles Times
“I read Julia Angwin's new book Dragnet Nation… I heartily recommend it to you… [The book is an] antidote to Big Brother's big chill.” ―Bill Moyers
“A deeply researched book that is completely of the moment. Dragnet Nation moves right to the top of the list of books we should all read about privacy.” ―Salon
“Angwin's warning that ‘information is power' resonates.” ―The Daily Beast
“Angwin elegantly chronicles this tragedy of the digital commons at the level of policy and our individual civil liberties…Dragnet Nation really kicks in--and becomes a blast to read--when she fights back…If enough people follow Angwin's lead, new networks of computer users might manage to open up ever larger holes in the dragnet world.” ―Bookforum
“Entertaining… Pacy and eye-opening.” ―The Financial Times
“Angwin, a longtime reporter on digital privacy issues for the Wall Street Journal, releases the contemporary (and, unfortunately, nonfiction) companion book to Orwell's 1984. Dragnet Nation examines the surveillance economy and its effect on free speech and thought, likely causing readers to rethink the next words they type into a search engine.” ―LA Weekly
“[Angwin is] a privacy ninja.” ―Yahoo!'s Tech Modern Family
“Informative, conversational… [Angwin's] travails educate her (and her readers) about all the ways privacy-minded developers are working to develop anti-surveillance tools, and this forms a helpful guide for readers seeking non-jargony information on minimizing their digital footprints.” ―Columbia Journalism Review
“A new hot-button issue that touches both politics and business is privacy, and the erosion of privacy is examined in Dragnet Nation.” ―Publishers Weekly (Top 10 Business & Economics Books)
“Fascinating ... Angwin, who spent years covering privacy issues for the Wall Street Journal, draws on conversations with researchers, hackers and IT experts, surveying the modern dragnet tracking made possible by massive computing power, smaller devices and cheap storage of data...A solid work for both privacy freaks and anyone seeking tips on such matters as how to strengthen passwords.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“In this thought-provoking, highly accessible exploration of the issues around personal data-gathering, Julia Angwin provides a startling account of how we're all being tracked, watched, studied, and sorted. Her own (often very funny) attempts to maintain her online privacy demonstrate the ubiquity of the dragnet--and the near impossibility of evading it. I'll never use Google in the same way again.” ―Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of Happier at Home and The Happiness Project
“Julia Angwin's pathbreaking reporting for the Wall Street Journal about online tracking changed the privacy debate. Her new book represents another leap forward: by showing how difficult it was to protect her own privacy and vividly describing the social and personal costs, Angwin offers both a wakeup call and a thoughtful manifesto for reform. This is a meticulously documented and gripping narrative about why privacy matters and what we can do about it.” ―Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO, National Constitution Center, and author of The Unwanted Gaze and The Naked Crowd
“Dragnet Nation is an impressive picture of the new world of electronic surveillance -- from Google to the NSA. Julia Angwin's command of the technology is sure, her writing is clear, and her arguments are compelling. This is an authoritative account of why we should care about privacy and how we can protect ourselves.” ―Bruce Schneier, author of Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive
“Dragnet Nation is a fascinating, compelling, and powerful read. Many of us would simply prefer not to know how much others know about us, and yet Julia Angwin opens a door onto that dark world in a way that both raises a new set of public issues and canvasses a range of solutions. We can reclaim our privacy while still enjoying the benefits of many types of surveillance – but only if we take our heads out of the sand and read this book.” ―Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO, New America
About the Author
Julia Angwin is the author of Stealing MySpace and an award-winning investigative journalist for the independent news organization ProPublica. From 2000 to 2013 she was a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where she was on the team of reporters awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of corporate corruption and led a team covering online privacy that was a finalist for a 2012 Pulitzer Prize. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
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I am a technically savvy person only to an average degree. But I could tell from her discussion that the author is not seriously techie about any of the subjects she discussed. Advanced dissertations on the topics in the book was not what I was looking for when I bought the book, and if that is what you want, this is not the book for you. However, if you want to understand how privacy in your life has been impacted by government and industry, then this book is a must read.
You don't have to look very hard to find yourself tracked by internet advertisers. The sobering part of the book is how the government can eavesdrop on a number of devices. Cell phones, laptops, home computers are all possible targets.
I wouldn't go to the lengths the author did for privacy, but I did find some of her advice helpful. Disconnect works and I did find more tracking than I expected on my web browser.
Reading this book for me was a sobering experience.
Julia Angwin’s accessible, narrative format accurately reflects her distinguished career as a writer (Pulitzer prize finalist). After laying the groundwork for privacy in the first few chapters, Angwin spends the rest of the “novel” describing her own personal attempt to avoid what she calls “dragnets”—computerized, impersonal, widespread surveillance tools which track and record data from sources both domestic and international.
Personally, I found the book to be intriguing, but distant in practicality. Angwin claims to lay out how she went about seeking privacy, yet fails to find a balance between outlining her technical pathway and voicing her concerns. Though she certainly allowed the common man to follow in her story, she does not give close to enough detail to allow someone to follow in her footsteps—to do this, one would need more than the book alone. For those interested in understanding why we need to care about privacy this is a must read. For those already well-versed in privacy concerns, simply reading up on her blog about the different privacy tools will be enough to satisfy: http://juliaangwin.com/privacy-tools/.