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Book details of 'Technology and Privacy: The New Landscape'

Cover of Technology and Privacy: The New Landscape
TitleTechnology and Privacy: The New Landscape
Author(s)Philip E. Agre, Marc Rotenberg
ISBN026201162X
LanguageEnglish
PublishedSeptember 1997
PublisherMIT Press
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Technology and Privacy: The New Landscape':

Reviewer amazon.com wrote:
This series of 10 scholarly essays lays a foundation for understanding the current state of technology-based privacy issues. The diverse group of contributors encompasses the fields of communications, human-computer interaction, law, political science, and sociology. Each contributor provides a capsule view of a privacy concern from a standpoint of where things now stand and what bodes for the future. The book's most prevalent theme focuses on how advances in cybertechnology have led to greater threats to personal privacy, but have also led to greater promise for privacy protection. For example, editor Philip E. Agre's opening essay looks at the concept of a "Mirror World," where computer technology mirrors everything important happening in the real world. Another contributor, Victoria Bellotti, examines multimedia environments, where work environments are wired for video and audio communication, and how individuals within them can be protected from unwelcome eyes and ears. Colin Bennett looks at how much of the world may be moving towards similar privacy protection standards. Other issues include varieties of privacy-enhancing technologies, the challenge of controlling surveillance, the effectiveness of privacy laws, and cryptography. The final chapter, "Interactivity as Though Privacy Matters," belongs to Rohan Samarajiva, who looks at the prospects for limited consensual surveillance between vendors and customers.

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
Agre, perhaps most widely known for the Red Rock Eater news service, and Rotenberg, Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, go to some lengths to define what this book is not. It is not a fundamental analysis of privacy. It is not an investigative work. It does not address specific areas of concern. It is not a systematic comparison. It does not cover the broadest interpretation of technology. It does not provide a general theory of privacy, nor detailed policy proposals. It is an overview of policy and thought regarding the impact of information and communications technologies on privacy over the last two decades. Working in the field of data security I am quite used to dealing with subjects that have barely brushed the public consciousness. Privacy is one such area, as evidenced by the lack of agreement even on such a basic issue as a definition of privacy. I must admit, however, that the essays in this volume surprised me with the extent of the work in privacy policy and regulations that have gone on in ... well, private, without making much impact in either the media or public discussion as a whole. Although academic in tone, the content of the papers is compelling enough to hold the interest of almost any audience. The text is informed, and while the quality of writing may vary it is always clear and matter of fact. Topics covered include the representational nature of data-oriented computing (and the trend towards "virtual worlds"), privacy design considerations in multimedia computing, privacy policy harmonization on an international scale, privacy enhancing technologies, social pressures on privacy, privacy law and developing policy, cryptography, and design considerations for large scale projects. (In any anthology the tone and value of individual pieces varies. In this current work the level of consistency and quality is high. The one startling and disappointing exception is the essay by David Flaherty, Information and Privacy Commssioner for British Columbia. It might possibly be intended as an examination of a "real life" example of such an office. In its current state, however, it reads more like a long and unconvincing advertisement for a book by one David Flaherty, and the working tribulations of one David Flaherty. The whining tone and constant criticism of everyone else involved in his work makes it particularly unattractive. This paper is also least focussed on the topic, dealing with technology only in a minor way.) For all the general discussion about technology and privacy, it is obvious that few people are informed as to the realities of the topic. This book is recommended as a readable, informative, and important contribution to the literature. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1997

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Book description:

"A remarkably comprehensive and provocative collection of essays." -- Peter G. Neumann, WIRED "With much food for thought, this book is a real bargin for anyone looking for a snapshot of current thinking on privacy and computing." -- f¡®sT m¤ñd@¥ Privacy is the capacity to negotiate social relationships by controlling access to personal information. As laws, policies, and technological design increasingly structure people's relationships with social institutions, individual privacy faces new threats and new opportunities. Over the last several years, the realm of technology and privacy has been transformed, creating a landscape that is both dangerous and encouraging. Significant changes include large increases in communications bandwidths; the widespread adoption of computer networking and public-key cryptography; mathematical innovations that promise a vast family of protocols for protecting identity in complex transactions; new digital media that support a wide range of social relationships; a new generation of technologically sophisticated privacy activists; a massive body of practical experience in the development and application of data-protection laws; and the rapid globalization of manufacturing, culture, and policy making. The essays in this book provide a new conceptual framework for the analysis and debate of privacy policy and for the design and development of information systems. The authors are international experts in the technical, economic, and political aspects of privacy; the book's strength is its synthesis of the three. The book provides equally strong analyses of privacy issues in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Contributors: Philip E. Agre, Victoria Bellotti, Colin J. Bennett, Herbert Burkert, Simon G. Davies, David H. Flaherty, Robert Gellman, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, David J. Phillips, Rohan Samarajiva.

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