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Book description

Fifty years ago, in 1984, George Orwell imagined a future in which privacy was demolished by a totalitarian state that used spies, video surveillance, historical revisionism, and control over the media to maintain its power. Those who worry about personal privacy and identity--especially in this day of technologies that encroach upon these rights--still use Orwell's "Big Brother" language to discuss privacy issues. But the reality is that the age of a monolithic Big Brother is over. And yet the threats are perhaps even more likely to destroy the rights we've assumed were ours. Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century shows how, in these early years of the 21st century, advances in technology endanger our privacy in ways never before imagined. Direct marketers and retailers track our every purchase; surveillance cameras observe our movements; mobile phones will soon report our location to those who want to track us; government eavesdroppers listen in on private communications; misused medical records turn our bodies and our histories against us; and linked databases assemble detailed consumer profiles used to predict and influence our behavior. Privacy--the most basic of our civil rights--is in grave peril. Simson Garfinkel--journalist, entrepreneur, and international authority on computer security--has devoted his career to testing new technologies and warning about their implications. This newly revised update of the popular hardcover edition of Database Nation is his compelling account of how invasive technologies will affect our lives in the coming years. It's a timely, far-reaching, entertaining, and thought-provoking look at the serious threats to privacy facing us today. The book poses a disturbing question: how can we protect our basic rights to privacy, identity, and autonomy when technology is making invasion and control easier than ever before? Garfinkel's captivating blend of journalism, storytelling, and futurism is a call to arms. It will frighten, entertain, and ultimately convince us that we must take action now to protect our privacy and identity before it's too late.

Table of Contents

  1. Database Nation
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    2. 1. Privacy Under Attack
      1. What Do We Mean By Privacy?
      2. The Role of Technology
      3. The Role of Government
      4. Fighting Back
      5. Why This Book?
    3. 2. Database Nation
      1. Thirty-four Years Later
      2. How We Got Here
        1. Social Security Numbers Grow In Popularity
        2. America Adopts the Ssn
      3. It Could Happen To You
      4. Identity theft: a Stolen self
      5. Looking Forward By Looking back
      6. Our Databanked Future
    4. 3. Absolute Identification
      1. On the Identification of infants
      2. Anthropometrical Signalment
      3. The Science of Fingerprints
        1. The Rise of the Identification State
        2. Afis
      4. Dna Identification
        1. Settling the Science: Dna testing 1986-1996
        2. Dna Fingerprinting Today
        3. The Dna databank
      5. Computerized Biometrics
        1. Biometrics Tomorrow
        2. Biometric Piracy
      6. Identifying Bodies, Not People
    5. 4. What Did You Do Today?
      1. The Information Crisis
      2. False Data Syndrome
      3. The Tracking Process: How Our Information is turned Against Us
        1. Step 1: Make Data Collectable
        2. Step 2: Make Data machine-readable
        3. Step 3: Build a big Database
      4. The Biggest Database In the World
      5. The Age of Public Statements
      6. Smart Machines Create Active Databanks
      7. Turning Back the Information tide
    6. 5. The View From Above
      1. Hey, i Live Here!
      2. The Eye In the Sky
      3. The Eye On the Ground
      4. Video Surveillance For the Rest of Us
      5. Webcam
      6. From Webcam To wearcam
      7. Fumbling For the "off" Switch
      8. What Was That?
      9. The Systematic surveillance of science
      10. One World, Like It Or Not
    7. 6. To Know Your Future
      1. No Bigger Gap
      2. The Medical Records Fairy Tale
      3. Privacy Is Your Doctor's Responsibility
      4. Privacy Is Not Your insurance Company's Responsibility
      5. Nobody Knows the Mib
      6. Forcing Physicians To Lie
      7. A Right To Your Self
      8. A Right To Your Past
      9. Computerized Patient Records: the promise
      10. Computerized Patient Records: the threat
      11. Other Threats
      12. Rethinking Medical Care And medical Insurance
    8. 7. Buy Now!
      1. Marketing And the Knowledge Crisis
        1. Love Me, Love my Purchases
        2. Our Bodies, Our Dollars
        3. Selling It To the Youngest Consumers
        4. Turning Up the Volume
      2. They've Got You Targeted: the Process of Direct Marketing
        1. Targeted Crime
        2. Opt-out Doesn't Work
      3. Taking Direct Action against direct Marketing
        1. Tactic #1: Exercise Your Anonymity
        2. Tactic #2: Publicize And Litigate
        3. Tactic #3: Track them As they track You
        4. Tactic #4: Make Use of Today's Laws And Fight for New ones
    9. 8. Who Owns Your Information?
      1. Do You Own your Name?
        1. Arguments Before the Court
        2. Avrahami v. Establishment, Round 2
        3. The Value of Names In new Jersey
        4. Names As Property
      2. Do You Own your Feet?
        1. Double Trouble
        2. Spleens And Thick Bones
        3. Human Tissue Is Not Anonymous
        4. The Jewish Gene
        5. Decoding Iceland
      3. Do You Own your Books?
        1. Data Hiding
        2. Turning Your Computer Against you
      4. Do You Own What you Do?
      5. Do You Want To Use Ownership to Protect your privacy?
    10. 9. Kooks and Terrorists
      1. The Democratization of destructive Technology
      2. The Dish of death
      3. The Changing Face of Terrorism
      4. Home-grown Terrorism
        1. Loose Nukes
        2. Chemical-biological Terrorism
        3. Information Warfare
        4. Thought Crime
        5. Interception
        6. Brain Wiretapping
        7. The Moral Duty To torture
        8. A Better Solution
    11. 10. Excuse Me, But Are You Human?
      1. Simulated Humans Can't Be Trusted
      2. Eliza And Her Children
      3. The Computer As Your agent
        1. The Extraction of Self
      4. Avatar Rights Now!
    12. 11. Privacy Now!
      1. Technology Is Not neutral
      2. A Government Privacy Agenda For the twenty-first Century
        1. Turn the u.s. Fair Credit Reporting Act Into a Data Protection act
        2. Rethink Consent
        3. The Importance of Computer Security
        4. Bring Back the Ota
      3. Buy Your Own Privacy
      4. Privacy's Radical Fringe
      5. Conclusion
    13. 12. Epilogue: One Year Later
      1. Attacks On Privacy Continue
      2. What's the Answer?
      3. The Metrocard Story
      4. Looking Across the Border
      5. It's In Our Hands
      6. Where To Go For Help
        1. Federal Trade Commission's Identity theft Hotline
        2. Electronic Privacy Information Center (epic)
        3. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
        4. Electronic Frontier foundation (eff)
    14. A. Annotated Bibliography
      1. Web Sites
    15. B. Acknowledgments
    16. Index
    17. About the Author
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