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