The NY Times has a short review (Nonstop Scrutiny, as Orwell Foresaw) of a new book on our collective privacy loss: No Place To Hide, Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society, by Robert O’Harrow Jr., 348 pages. Free Press. $26. Sounds like a good book, if you’re in a mood to set your hair on fire over privacy.
As the book discusses, we’re voluntarily giving up much of our privacy for convenience:
Mr. O’Harrow also charts many consumers’ willingness to trade a measure of privacy for convenience (think of the personal information happily dispensed to TiVo machines and Amazon.com in exchange for efficient service and helpful suggestions), freedom for security. He reviews the gargantuan data-gathering and data-mining operations already carried out by companies like Acxiom, ChoicePoint and LexisNexis. And he shows how their methods are being co-opted by the government.
It’s a constant battle and, like most people, I don’t know if I have the energy and perseverance to constantly protect my privacy.