Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Now Available: Privacy In the Modern Age (Marc Rotenberg, Julia Horwitz, and Jeramie Scott, ed., Free Press, 2015) @MarcRotenberg @Juliahorwitz @JeramieScott @thenewpress
Here's a description of the contents from the publisher's website.
The threats to privacy are well known: the National Security Agency tracks our phone calls, Google records where we go online and how we set our thermostats, Facebook changes our privacy settings when it wishes, Target gets hacked and loses control of our credit card information, our medical records are available for sale to strangers, our children are fingerprinted and their every test score saved for posterity, and small robots patrol our schoolyards while drones may soon fill our skies.
The contributors to this anthology don’t simply describe these problems or warn about the loss of privacy—they propose solutions. They look closely at business practices, public policy, and technology design and ask, “Should this continue? Is there a better approach?“ They take seriously the dictum of Thomas Edison: “What one creates with his hand, he should control with his head.” It’s a new approach to the privacy debate, one that assumes privacy is worth protecting, that there are solutions to be found, and that the future is not yet known. This volume will be an essential reference for policy makers and researchers, journalists and scholars, and others looking for answers to one of the biggest challenges of our modern day. The premise is clear: there’s a problem—let’s find a solution.
My take: This volume brings together acccessibly written essays by some of the leading scholars of privacy law writing in the area today. The roll call of contributors is impressive, and includes in addition to Mr. Rotenberg, Steven Aftergood, Ross Anderson, Christine L. Borgman, Kent Wada, James F. Davis, Ryan Calo, Danielle Citron, Simon Davies, A. Michael Froomkin, Deborah Hurley, Kristina Irion, Jeff Jonas, Harry Lewis, Anna Lysyanskaya, Gary T. Marx, Aleecia M. McDonald, Pablo G. Molina, Peter G. Neumann, Helen Nissenbaum, Frank Pasquale, Deborah Peel, Stephanie E. Perrin, Pamela Samuelson, Bruce Schneier, and Christopher Wolf. The essays are short and to the point. They address both current challenges to privacy and possible solutions, covering such controversies as the extent to which anonymous speech infringes on privacy rights, the ways in which we can balance national security and privacy rights, and how to protect personal privacy against big data collection. I particularly like the range of issues addressed: even though the contributions are short, they offer enough depth to challenge the reader to do some additional research, and more importantly, thinking about each topic. The authors use clear and concise language, which makes this collection useful for non-specialists and for instructors who might be looking for a text to assign in a privacy law or policy seminar or as a supplemental text in a graduate or upper level course. I would like to see some follow-up collections, perhaps starting with one devoted specifically to AI and privacy.
Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a free copy of the book for review.