Book Title

I previously posted that I am writing a book on security and power. Here are some title suggestions:

  • Permanent Record: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World
  • Hunt and Gather: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World
  • They Already Know: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World
  • We Already Know: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World
  • Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World
  • All About You: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World
  • Tracked: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World
  • Tracking You: The Forces that Capture Your Data and Control Your World
  • Data: The New Currency of Power

My absolute favorite is Data and Goliath, but there’s a problem. Malcolm Gladwell recently published a book with the title of David and Goliath. Normally I wouldn’t care, but I published my Liars and Outliers soon after Gladwell published Outliers. Both similarities are coincidences, but aping him twice feels like a bit much.

Anyway, comments on the above titles—and suggestions for new ones—are appreciated.

The book is still scheduled for February publication. I hope to have a first draft done by the end of June, and a final manuscript by the end of October. If anyone is willing to read and comment on a draft manuscript between those two months, please let me know in e-mail.

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 9:32 AM220 Comments


Winter April 16, 2014 9:53 AM

I like Data: The New Currency of Power most. In general, that is a (very) bad sign as things I like tend to be removed from shelves and catalogs. So you might want to remove that one.

I consider Hunt and gather the worst. Which might make it a good choice?

Proctor April 16, 2014 9:56 AM

What about something like: Exposed: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World implying that with the data peoples’ most intimate and private “secrets” can be deduced.

Arkh April 16, 2014 9:57 AM

The collectors: now coming for your data. But I like the first one as it emphasize the fact that all those data are permanent and could be used decades after the harvest.

Autolykos April 16, 2014 10:01 AM

Another vote for Data: The New Currency of Power. I prefer short titles, if only to simplify citations. Second best is All about you. […] – I like the subtle irony.

Wegguy April 16, 2014 10:03 AM

Building on “Data: The New Currency of Power”, how about “Your Data: The New Currency of Power”?

AT April 16, 2014 10:08 AM

I also like Data and Goliath the best, but Data: The New Currency of Power is a solid second place. What do you think about changing “Currency” to “Language”?

jones April 16, 2014 10:10 AM

I prefer the subtitle “The Forces that Capture Your Data and Control Your World” since quite a bit of our world is already controlled by marketing and advertising, and “big data” represents a somewhat “invisible” intensification or granularization of this existing trend.

Marketing, advertising, and PR by definition alter our perceptions, instill new perceived needs and desires, and change the way we satiate our needs, desires, and how we allocate resources (time and money). This has been going on in a systematic way since the 1950’s, but Edward Bernays was manipulating perceptions using symbolism in the 1920’s (he’s the guy that got women to start smoking

tom April 16, 2014 10:13 AM

“All The Power Is In The Hands of the People Rich Enough To Buy It (While We Walk The Streets Too Chicken To Even Try It)”

Too long for the publisher but The Clash said this in 1979 or so.
The song is called “White Riot.”

From some lyrics site:

“All the power’s in the hands
Of people rich enough to buy it
While we walk the street
Too chicken to even try it”

HTH 🙂 🙂

Another idea:
“Data = POWER”
(simple title, following the Kiss principle)
(illustrated with the word POWER interspersed among 1’s and 0’s inna Matrix style…)

bcs April 16, 2014 10:18 AM

I tend to like subtle and precise phrasing so:

“We known: [with a sub title making it clear the reader isn’t part of that ‘we’]”

EVO VI April 16, 2014 10:26 AM

Excercise Control with Data : Secure Loss of Your Free Will
Data as Control: Secure Loss of Your Free Will

Michael April 16, 2014 10:29 AM

There was a study ( recently released by Princeton that states the US is no longer a democracy but an oligarchy – the citizens have almost zero influence in political policy. I can’t help but wonder if this would be a nice subtopic: The New Oligarchy: Using Data to Control Policy and Security.

Muffin April 16, 2014 10:31 AM

“Data and Goliath” – that’s just too good to pass up.

Other than that, “All About You: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World” is my favorite. I think the tagline’s necessary – “Data: The New Currency of Power”, for instance, is too unspecific, not giving you an idea of what the book’s actually about (beyond “data”), and “All About You” highlights the problem very nicely while also sounding neither overly fatalistic (“Permanent Record”, “They Already Know”) nor too paranoid (“Tracked”).

Floater April 16, 2014 10:31 AM

Almost any line from the lyrics of the song Every Breath You Take by The Police (appropriately)


Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you.

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you

jeff April 16, 2014 10:34 AM

I’ll admit that I’m in the minority, but I like Permanent Record….” as it immediately communicates the fear that is intended when people are threatened with something going on your “permanent record”. I haven’t been in school in 30 years and I still react to that phrase. To me, that’s the biggest risk of the surveillance state, not just that they can know anything, its that they know everything, and never forget.


Tyler April 16, 2014 10:34 AM

How about “Data Data Data Data, Batman!: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World”?

I also really like “Data: The New Currency of Power”, but wonder if “Data: The New Power Currency” packs a little extra punch.

tags April 16, 2014 10:34 AM

I like Permanent Record the most because there is a connotation of evaluation. Tracked and Data are good too (I would replace ‘the’ with ‘a’ in ‘the new currency of power’ but has a downside of not seeming so important).

Khürt Williams April 16, 2014 10:35 AM

I like “They Already Know: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World” but offer another.

Free-dumb: How a culture of “FREE” has destroyed privacy.

Wolfgang April 16, 2014 10:40 AM

“I Know What You Did Last Summer (and Every Day Since That, and Before That, Too)” – too long, I know

“Data Macht Frei: The Hidden Battles . . .”

Wang-Lo April 16, 2014 10:42 AM

“Sharing You: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World”.

“Sharing You” is a better description (than “All about You” or “Tracking You”) of what the private sector is actually doing with the data.

Spemmo April 16, 2014 10:43 AM

Of the titles in the list, I think these are the best:

Tracked: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World

Tracking You: The Forces that Capture Your Data and Control Your World

Data: The New Currency of Power

Carlo Graziani April 16, 2014 10:45 AM

I don’t like “battles” in the subtitle, because it strikes me as excessively dramatic, without describing the narrative very accurately. So far as I’m aware, the NSA, Google, Facebook, etc. have not really fought any secret battles — during the time when what they were doing was secret, they simply took what they wanted without much opposition at all. Opposition took shape after disclosure. If I’m wrong, and you do really describe secret disputes in the text, then perhaps “Struggles” is still better than “Battles” as a summary of the thesis of the book.

Otherwise, “Hidden Drives”, “Hidden Initiatives”, “Hidden Efforts”, “Hidden Programs”. Perhaps these could be modified by “Massive”, which is certainly accurate.

As for the main title, what do you think of “Panopticon”? From Wikipedia:

The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow a single watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether they are being watched or not. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behaviour constantly. The name is also a reference to Panoptes from Greek mythology; he was a giant with a hundred eyes and thus was known to be a very effective watchman.

Looks very apposite to me (I didn’t notice the connection to the NSA scandal myself, BTW, it was in some article whose source I’ve unfortunately forgotten).

So, the candidate title would then be something along the lines of “Panopticon: The Massive Hidden Initiatives to Capture Your Data and Control Your World”

xd0s April 16, 2014 10:46 AM

How about

The Currency of Power: Establishing Control by Grabbing Data

Also agreed that despite the commonality with Malcom, Data and Goliath is pretty good.

Of those listed:
Data or Permanent Record are my favorites.

Winter April 16, 2014 10:50 AM

@Carlo Graziani
“Panopticon: The Massive Hidden Initiatives to Capture Your Data and Control Your World”

Then a reference to the fact that the Panopticon makes everyone an inmate would be better.

For instance:
“Panopticon: How total data capture makes all of us prisoners”

That might be a bit over the top.

greg April 16, 2014 10:54 AM

“Permanent Record” is the most insidious and dangerous part of data collection and data in general.

PonyAdvocate April 16, 2014 10:58 AM

Suggestion for main title: “The Lidless Eye”. It has the appropriate sense of amorphous menace, I think. Tolkien mavens will recognize it as a metonym for Sauron. Also, didn’t the Total Information Awareness program have a creepy logo, of which an eye was a part?

I suggest verbing up the subtitle a bit, e.g., “Capturing Your Data, Controlling Your World”.

paul April 16, 2014 10:58 AM

I like “Tracked:…” followed by “Data: the new currency of power.”

Depends a lot on your target audience. (If you want to go mainstream it might even be “Tracked!” and a bunch of plays on tracking vs hacking.)

MS April 16, 2014 11:01 AM

Permanent Record is almost certainly the best, as it sums up in two words what the whole issue is: you do in fact have a permanent, inescapable record, much worse than the school records to which the title refers. “Permanent record” gives you an easy lead-in chapter to explain the whole premise of the book for dumb reporters and book reviewers. “Chapter 1. When I was a kid and we did something wrong, we used to talk about it going on your permanent record….”

“Data” is far too generic. Soybean crop records are data, but not dangerous. Half the population couldn’t even tell you what “data” is.

“Permanent Record”. “On Your Permanent Record”. Something like that.

I suggest you do an A/B test using Google Adwords, like this:

You just run ads for both (or all) of the prospective titles, see which ones are actually appealing to people.

rob April 16, 2014 11:01 AM

I very much like something along the lines of the suggested “Panopticon: The Massive Hidden Initiatives to Capture Your Data and Control Your World”. Maybe it is a bit unwieldy, though? The ‘massive’ could be cut and maybe … well how about:

“Panopticon: Hidden Initiatives to Capture and Control Your On-line Life”

(omitting the ‘The’ is also significant, BTW)

From the list, I like “Tracked: …” and “Permanent record ..”

AnonDev April 16, 2014 11:02 AM

I vote against “Data: The New Currency of Power” because of the implication that something is new in the gathering and storing of data and information in attempts to exert power and control over others and over society. Reading recently about spying in Elizabethan England certainly brings home to a person that not much has changed except the raw Horsepower available.

Some new ones:

Who Has Your File?
The battle for your data and your world

Have You Seen Your File?
The battle for your data and your world

Who Has Your File?
Your Data and Your World in the Information Age

To Know You is To Control You
The battle for your data

The Gathering of You
No Stone Unturned

Knowing Me, Knowing You
Our Data in the Information Age

Do You Know Where YOUR Data is?

Who Owns Your Mind?
Your Data in the Information Age

Controlling the Data, Controlling the Future

Collect It All
The Battle for Your Data and You

etc etc.

Joe April 16, 2014 11:15 AM

+1 for “Data: The New Currency of Power”. Nice and simple. What bothers me about the other ones is the whole “Control Your World” which seems a bit over the top..

George April 16, 2014 11:18 AM

Battle’s already fought, and won, by the intel community, so preferable titles are

Permanent Record: The Hidden Surrender of Your Personal Data
They Already Know: The Hidden Surrender of Your Personal Data
Permanent Record: The End of Data Privacy

nat April 16, 2014 11:21 AM

“Tracked:…” for me has the strongest potential to make an impact/grab attention, followed by “They Already Know:…”, though the latter comes off a little glib.

Nan April 16, 2014 11:25 AM

From a gut level I prefer “Hunt and Gather”, maybe because it stands out from the others. Security-related book titles (and IT books in general) tend to be strung together from the same small pool of words.

Petréa Mitchell April 16, 2014 11:29 AM

What audience are you trying to reach the most? If the largely uninformed general public, then my top pick would be the first title; if it’s a more the tech-savy layman, then the last one.

Fortune April 16, 2014 11:33 AM

Permanent Record: The Hidden Battles to Capture OUR Data and Control Your World

Permanent Record is a concept people are already familiar with. It’s accurate and concise. Good metaphors from the old school physical world to abstract concepts involving technology are extremely rare. Please do not sacrifice it to make a pun, as great as puns are.

Data as currency is a harmful metaphor and should be drop from our vocabulary except for the purposes of explaining propaganda/marketing to younger generations. Currency can be spent once. Data can be used forever. Currency can have one owner. Data can be held by many.

Currency has a face value. Data does not. Currency is fungible for other currency. Data is not. Currency decreases in value. Data from a person’s childhood becomes more valuable when they are able to vote and spend money and when they have more debts and less security.

Currency has the same value to me as an organization with server farms and botnets. Data does not. Holding on to currency is only immoral if I spend it on something bad. Data can be something I don’t have the right to in the worst case scenario or something that is a liability (mostly to someone else) in the best case.

Currency is not something that can bite me after I give it away or after it gets stolen. Data can harm the person whom is the subject of it, their family, their friends, their coworkers, their fellow consumers, and their fellow citizens anytime just one of the holders of that data is willing, able, and not legally restricted from exploiting that data.

This does not even go into the fact that exposure of data is never a fair trade for something, the harm bubbling of search engine results, reading material, and advertisement does to people, the failure of these models to make more money than traditional advertisement based models, or the fact that gratis based business models existed long before this new model allegedly based on exchanging data for services.

The word We to refer to the data holders should be They, since a tiny minority of people hold data indefinitely, let alone have the ability, legal “right”, or sociopathic tendency to exploit it without consequence. We is a utopian promise and a lie. The word Tracked conjures up paranoid movie plot style paranoia instead of the action of mass aggregation of data from various sources for mass manipulation. (The holder of data may not even be the tracker.)

Whatever title you choose should reflect that this is a collective problem. It’s not about me and it’s not about you but it affects us because the mass of people are being exploited and manipulated. It’s all of Our data and that’s why it’s even more dangerous.

bryan April 16, 2014 11:33 AM

I like “Data: The New Currency of Power”, but that could just be connotative bias because all the others are similar.

“Control Your World” isn’t wrong, but runs close to the type of phrasing I might dismiss out of hand as conspiracy-theory nonsense like “Control the World”.

Your term “digital fiefdom” from a speech really struck me. Something in the vein of “Digital Fiefdom: How Modern Technology Consolidates Power and Conspires Against You”? That’s probably too narrow for your entire book and/or sounds too much like saying the sky is falling.

Fortune April 16, 2014 11:45 AM

I like All Your Data Can And Will Be Used Against You. Very good, Jur.

I forgot to mention that those things we “trade” data for is not even a consensual arrangement. I never agreed to the privacy policies of websites of scripts, images, and videos that get embedded by website owners and users. I usually don’t even know it’s happening. Google (DoubleClick, Blogspot, YouTube, Google APIs), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and Amazon all take data even if I don’t have an account, opt not to use them, or don’t even know what they are.

On the state level: Unelected people collect my data, but more importantly have blackmail material of the people I voted for and the ones I voted against… and even more more important: they have the power to spy on grass roots movements. Political issues I may not even know about could be squashed before I or most other people hear about them, through various methods but probably mainly propaganda and subtle nudges. Not to mention the biggest military is also the biggest spy on civilians of all nations, including its own.

René Bastien April 16, 2014 11:51 AM

How about this. Big Data, Small World; the Ongoing Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World.

I am looking forward to reading your new book.

Winter April 16, 2014 11:54 AM

“What they don’t know can’t hurt you.”

That is very wrong. When they do not know where you are if you call for help, that will most definitely hurt you. More examples are easy to get.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons April 16, 2014 11:59 AM

To appeal to youth I suggest the following titles:
All your Data are belong to U.S.
Pwned Bits; Your Data, Mein Fruit (Formerly Kanf)

yesme April 16, 2014 12:02 PM

“The Eagle and The Hawk”

“Hawks in Control”

“Hawk Eye View”

“The Hawk and the Data”

Ben April 16, 2014 12:06 PM


I like a mash-up of two titles you suggested:
Permanent Record: The Forces that Capture Your Data and Control Your World

As others have mentioned, Permanent Record resonates with me, and I like the subtitle from Tracking You better as the battle has largely been an uncontested grab more than a fight between two forces.

Duvane April 16, 2014 12:13 PM

I do like “Data and Goliath”, but riffing on that, how about “Data and Leviathan”? (Depending on how much one appreciates Higgs.)

Colin April 16, 2014 12:23 PM

Data & Golliath is certainly the cleverest (and don’t worry about aping Gladwell — if the name fits use it). But “Forces” is a better subtitle. “Hidden Battle” makes it seem like it will tell me about “other vs. other” whereas the “Forces” subtitle seems like it’s about me vs. other. (It’s more personal — it connects.)

“Tracking You” would be my second choice for a book title, again because it connects the book’s contents to the individual. “Why should I care about this book?” Because it’s going to tell me about something that’s happening to me.

Arclight April 16, 2014 12:27 PM

“Person of Interest: Big data and you”
“Panopticon: The rise of Big Data”
“Power, Privacy and Persuasion: How Big Data drives public affairs”
“I Am a Number: Big Data and the Asymmetry of Power”


Luke April 16, 2014 12:29 PM

Agree that “Data and Goliath” is probably too good to pass up — Gladwell’s titles are so generic it would be hard not to bump into them once in a while.

“Permanent Record” is also very evocative, but I’m not sure if the phrase has the same impact outside of the U.S.

Morgan April 16, 2014 12:44 PM

Single-word titles are awful. If you called your book “Data” or “Tracked,” how could you expect anyone to find it by searching?

Familiar phrases are out, too, like “permanent record” and “all about you.” If you’re monitoring print, online, and social media for mentions, there’s a lot of noise when you use a phrase that is or can be used in everyday conversation.

“Data and Goliath” is your best bet here. Who cares that Gladwell published a book with a familiar phrase? (See above.) If he didn’t have his name and a built-in audience, he’d have trouble building buzz and tracking mentions. “Data and Goliath” is a unique play on words that should net you greater visibility.

What needs work is the subtitle. It’s too long, wordy, and moderate. You need something punchier, like:

“The Covert War to Master Your Fate”
“The Covert War to Control Your Destiny”
“The Covert War for Your Life, Liberty & Identity”

“Hidden Battles” is soft. “Capture Your Data and Control Your World” is too specific. You’re thinking like an engineer. You have to ask yourself, “What’s going to rattle people into action?”

With your subject matter, you have an opportunity to strike at what your readers value most—their independence and autonomy—so you need a subtitle that plays well with “Data and Goliath” and which communicates the stakes of that conflict.

Earle April 16, 2014 12:46 PM

Lik others above, I think the title needs to reflect the insidious nature of the omnidata capture…

“Every Breath You Take:”



“You Are The Product:”

POD April 16, 2014 12:48 PM

Tracked: +1

Captured: How Your Data is Appropriated by Opaque Entities to Determine Your Future.

Perhaps a Skosh hyperbolic but why not?

anonymous April 16, 2014 12:52 PM

How can we choose a title without even know what this book is about?

“Data: The New Currency of Power” may fit if this book is targeted to analyse how large corporations use our personal information to get profit.

“Tracked: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World” fits better on a book about NSA surveillance (that is anything except security centered).

“Permanent Record: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World” may fit on a book about how data is captured to form our (I hope soon declared illegal) public digital footprints.

Cannot believe anyone is seriously asking us to choose a title to a unknown book!

John Campbell April 16, 2014 12:59 PM

It’s not merely WHAT you know…

Nor is it merely WHO you know…

It is all WHAT you know about WHO.


If it weren’t for an incredible lust for respect (via reputation) there would be no power in knowing things about people, for, there’d be no value to embarrassment.

Milo M. April 16, 2014 1:00 PM

“The Value of Nothing”

Partly from the Oscar Wilde quote and the implication about the collectors in its first part.

Partly from the notion that the lower your e-footprint, the better off you are (e.g., avoid social media, etc.).

Paul Kust April 16, 2014 1:06 PM

Count me in for “Data: the New Currency of Power”.

Or perhaps “Permanent Record: Data as the New Currency of Power”.

Just_Me April 16, 2014 1:25 PM

Dangit, name.withheld beat me to it, although my idea was a bit different:
All your Secrets are belong to US.

Dave Lugg April 16, 2014 1:28 PM

Digital Footprint: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World

Dennis April 16, 2014 1:28 PM

“Data: The New Currency of Power” impressed me the most, but judging a book by it’s title, that one sounds like a different topic than all the others. I would go with that if it really fits the topic of the book.

I like: Tracked, Tracking You, They Already Know.
I don’t like: Permanent Record, Hunt and Gather, We Already Know.
I have mixed feelings about: All About You, Data and Goliath.

Bob April 16, 2014 1:51 PM


I like the last one, by far. “Data: The New Currency of Power” It’s concise and communicates your idea very effectively. I’ll email you.

PJ April 16, 2014 2:11 PM

Data: The New Currency of Power is my favorite… but you probably already knew that… 😉

Man in Black April 16, 2014 2:24 PM

What about The Prestidigitation of Privacy:The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World? Or is that too clever for it’s own good?


That Guy April 16, 2014 2:29 PM

-1 for “Data and Goliath” (Cute, but too cheezy IMHO)
+1 for anything with “Panopticon”; bonus points for invoking Michel Foucault
+2 for “All your Data are belong to U.S.”

(h/t to the respective commenters)

Random ideas, not from the list –

Absolute Data Access Corrupts Absolutely
Nothing to Hide; Everything to Fear
The Revolution Will Be (Monitored|Recorded|Surveilled)
Total Information Awareness: A Rose By Any Other Name

QM April 16, 2014 2:30 PM

What’s the big deal about following “David and “Goliath” with “Data and Goliath”? By the time the book comes out, everyone will just think it’s a fresh take on an old theme. After all, Gladwell was hardly original in his title. He’ll probably appreciate any traffic he gets from the near miss.

Neil in Chicago April 16, 2014 3:05 PM

There’s a mismatch between the focus group here and your target market, I think. These, for the most part, are people who already know. If you’re selling to people who don’t, that’s not the same.
My favorite is They Already Know, because it’s creepy, which seems appropriate.

Joshua Brule April 16, 2014 3:07 PM

I strongly prefer “Data: The New Currency of Power”; catchy and to the point.

I also like “Data and Goliath”, but it sound a little bit gimmicky.

RSaunders April 16, 2014 3:11 PM

I see you (or your publisher) is keen on the “Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World” subtitle idea, but I’ll agree with other folks that it’s too long. That said, I know Liars and Outliers had a subtitle, but I can’t read it from here so I’ve forgotten it.

I think the message you’ve hinted at needs a more direct title, like Taken, Stolen, or Exploited. Any of these could have a subtitle like “Your Data and the Hidden Battle to Control Your World”. Leaving the action work (“capture” in your suggestions) lost in the subtitle softens its effect. I perceive you’re going the other direction. You should make the action up-front.

While I suppose Owned (or even Pwned) might be more direct, I’m presuming you want to sell a lot of books. A less precise word like Stolen gets the idea across to the less-geeky. Some might argue that it’s not really stealing data because users succumbed to some “we won’t do business with you if you don’t let us keep data on you” scam, but I argue that taking my car is stealing even if my garage door is up.

I particularly like Stolen because ownership of data about you is one of the hard points you’re going to need to discuss. Businesses will say they “own” the data on my usage, just as phone companies got the SCOTUS to agree to in Maryland vs … . Nobody foresaw this interpretation of “who owns phone records” allowing the NSA to get phone records on you without even suspecting you of something. Since the data wasn’t “your data” it was “the phone company’s data”, you and your lawyers don’t even have standing to argue that this is a problem.

Maybe this isn’t a big point in the book, and knowing what’s in the book should inform your title-picking. Choose as action that makes sense in the main example in the book, and leave the title almost at that. Three words max.

Bobby April 16, 2014 3:22 PM

I would suggest : ” Up to them : The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World ” or ” No longer up to you : The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World ”


TJ April 16, 2014 3:24 PM

“Data and Goliath” implicitly affirms a Biblical frame of reference, allowing authoritarians to control the language and set the terms of the debate.

I like the Panopticon theme with a subtitle. It clearly defines the two classes of people, those with information and power and those deprived of information and power.

Data and information are the tools, but the struggle is essentially between two moral systems, a master-slave system vs. individual rights.

Tom April 16, 2014 3:44 PM

Data to Power: Using Massive Surveillance to Control You

Surveillance of the People, by Big Data, for Controlling the People

Benni April 16, 2014 3:52 PM

I think “Permanent Record: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World” is the best, because that is what they want. They want a permanent record of all your data that you ever produce, and they want to store it indefinitely at best.

By the way, this are the recent comments of the OpenBsd developers on openssl:

If I would not have to do other things now, i would like to join them much. If you are having some money, you should throw it at these curageous OpenBsd developers.

They are just getting the NSA and the german BND out of Unix TLS here. This is a major undertaking that they do here.

It is virtually unbelievable, what they have found already in openssl. A library like this should not be distributed in any Unix system.

Funny is this comment:

spray the apps directory with anti-VMS napalm.
so that its lovecraftian horror is not forever lost, i reproduce below
a comment from the deleted code.

        /* 2011-03-22 SMS.
         * If we have 32-bit pointers everywhere, then we're safe, and
         * we bypass this mess, as on non-VMS systems.  (See ARGV,
         * above.)
         * Problem 1: Compaq/HP C before V7.3 always used 32-bit
         * pointers for argv[].
         * Fix 1: For a 32-bit argv[], when we're using 64-bit pointers
         * everywhere else, we always allocate and use a 64-bit
         * duplicate of argv[].
         * Problem 2: Compaq/HP C V7.3 (Alpha, IA64) before ECO1 failed
         * to NULL-terminate a 64-bit argv[].  (As this was written, the
         * compiler ECO was available only on IA64.)
         * Fix 2: Unless advised not to (VMS_TRUST_ARGV), we test a
         * 64-bit argv[argc] for NULL, and, if necessary, use a
         * (properly) NULL-terminated (64-bit) duplicate of argv[].
         * The same code is used in either case to duplicate argv[].
         * Some of these decisions could be handled in preprocessing,
         * but the code tends to get even uglier, and the penalty for
         * deciding at compile- or run-time is tiny.

FWIW April 16, 2014 4:03 PM

FWIW I like

Hunt and Gather: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World


Tracking You: The Forces that Capture Your Data and Control Your World

the best from the list.

Gavin B. April 16, 2014 4:04 PM

Bruce – if you can make anything out of these you’re v. welcome.

Spies Undone! – We’re All Exposed Now: Data, Power, Control. etc

Bit Naked, Butt Naked – Data, Power, Control, etc
Big Data v. Little Us/Me/You …
Data Spooks – Data means Control means Power.
Global Stalkers … in your back pocket.
Jaw-dropping Eavesdropping …

embarrasing, I know April 16, 2014 4:28 PM


how to keep biblical underdog story and battles without referencing david and goliath…

Out of E-Script: A Chronicle of the Battles to Control Your Data.

Carl A. Adams April 16, 2014 4:32 PM

From this list, I like “Permanent Record: …”. it is plucks at your memory about school records and the power teachers and principals had over your life. For me, this is a primal memory of the power data can have over you that goes back to adolescence, which is when many people start to really form world views of their own. It also doesn’t hurt that it also trips the portion of my memory dedicated to Violent Femmes lyrics (“Kiss Off”), but that’s less relevant and probably just says something about when I was a teenager in school.

I also like “Data: The New Currency of Power”, as the mention of power underscores how important this really is.

John J April 16, 2014 4:32 PM

Data and Goliath.

I hear you on the Gladwell thing, but as others have said, he’s way too vague. And it’s not as if “David and Goliath” is original at all. You’re just taking a cue from the popular story just like so many others have…except you’re actually putting a clever spin on it.

For another thing, if not for this blog post, (and even now that you mentioned it) it would still be almost no one who would notice. I mean, think about all the info you’re talking about…someone would have to be familiar with both Gladwell and you, AND the chronology of the release of four different books.

While I understand your concern from an author’s perspective, it’s such a negligible concern when viewed in the grand scheme that I think it should not really weigh on the decision so much.

I just think of what you want to hear the news anchor say on the air as they’re introducing you…

“And here with us to discuss, Bruce Schneier, security expert and author of the new book Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World. Bruce, thanks for joining us.”

I like Data and Goliath probably for the same reasons you do. I think not only does it have that catchy, memorable, “book titely” quality to it that publishers love so much…but it actually conveys what you’re writing about. It actually does give the reader an idea of what the focus of the book is without even needing the subtitle. That’s what you want.

I see a lot of mentions for “Data: the new currency of power”, but that’s too vague, and I don’t think gives the same impression. Granted, I haven’t read the manuscript, but I’m assuming you’ll be addressing this inherent power struggle between the individual and “the powers that be” who would want his data such as to grow/maintain their power. And I think that’s the important part of the debate.

Plus I’m not a fan of one-word titles that require subtitles. One word titling usually only works for fiction.

A few I haven’t seen yet:

Big Data/Big Brother: How Your Information is the New Currency of Power

No Secrets: Power, Privacy, and Panopticon in the World of Big Data
(if panopticon is too much, you could replace it with “privilege”. But I’d say there’s enough other words in there that people do know, so it could work fine. Nothing wrong with teaching people a new word.)

Your Data, Our Power: The Battle for Control of Your Information in the Digital Age

Common Fool April 16, 2014 4:55 PM

I like the titles suggested, but they might not catch the people who need to get this the most. Most of the people I know seem to have been pretty uninterested in what is going on with Big Data, right up until they get the message they are being taken.

They’re Not Paying You What You’re Worth – How Your Data Makes Money, But Not For You, And How To Change That

It’s not as classy as the other titles, though.

Diane April 16, 2014 4:56 PM

“Tracking You …” captures the essence of the insidiousness of this all-encompassing spying, especially with reference to the “forces that capture” all aspects of our life no matter
how irrelevant they should be to the cause of these invisible powers.

Thank you for dedicating your talents and time to combating this encroaching threat to
our quality of life.

concerned citizen April 16, 2014 4:58 PM

How about this:

Surveillance State: For Your Protection

Use the Nazi SS style lettering for the first letters of “Surveillance State.” This should convey a very powerful message.

Lots of parallel similarities how things start out one way, and lead to something very, very, different…

Seba April 16, 2014 5:00 PM

I personally like “Permanent Record: The Hidden Battles…”. It reminds me of the way authoritarian teachers would threaten schoolchildren with a permanant consequence of discrimination and suspicion if they didn’t obey the rules set down by the adults.

It also vividly reminds me of this scene from The Matrix:

Dave April 16, 2014 5:20 PM

I like Data: The New Currency of Power. I actually dislike the rest for containing the phrase “and Control Your World”. That makes the book too much about me, and I don’t like reading about me. Also, “shorter is better,” “less is more” and there’s a certain value to being able to read a title off a cover from several meters away that can help sell books.

jbmoore April 16, 2014 6:11 PM

This may sound too academic:

Privacy, Data Privacy, and the Rise of the Total Surveillance State.

Or, you could just call it “The Prisoner and Village Dynamic” referring to the TV series “The Prisoner”.

Knitman April 16, 2014 6:19 PM

@Floater (April 16, 2014 10:31 AM): you missed the line that sums it all up:

“You belong to me”

Doug April 16, 2014 6:41 PM

I like Tracked: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World

Here’s some other headline ideas:

Death of Privacy
Big Brother Arrives
Trust No One
End of anonymity
Smile, you’re tracked!
Spying on you
Peeping Governments, Eavesdropping Corporations
Big Data, Big Brother

and here’s a few subtitles:

they know you, they spy on you, they track you, they sell you
Selling your soul for free search and social media
They know you looked at this book, do you dare buy it?
tracked, stored, kept, sold, traded, monitored
it’s 5:00, do you know where your data is?
The genie can’t hide in the bottle anymore

The Truth April 16, 2014 6:45 PM

Bruce, I would recommend a poignant title, one that gets straight to the point;

National Spy Agency Of America; Fuck You!

This would surely be provocative, but I believe it is fitting and will surely assist in the sales of your book along with helping to move the consciousness of the content towards mainstream.

Brent April 16, 2014 7:05 PM

My top 3:

  1. Data: The New Currency of Power

  2. Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World

  3. Tracked: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World

Sad Clown April 16, 2014 7:11 PM

Permanent Record resonates with me. After the disclosures I wonder all the time how some future (more) horrorshow authority will make use of the relatively innocuous online communications I make today.

Jeffrey Friedl April 16, 2014 7:40 PM

Data: The New Currency of Power.” lacks oomph, but change it to:

   ”Data About You: The New Currency of Power.

and it’s much stronger I think.

Corwin April 16, 2014 7:50 PM

“0wned : everything you say and do is recorded for use against you in the future.”

Phil April 16, 2014 7:50 PM

I vote for “Data: The New Currency of Power”.

The “Permanent Record” title may not translate as well outside the US (I only know it from references in the Simpsons)

Alg April 16, 2014 8:38 PM

How about
Pervasive/inescapable/ubiquitous: Your data is their power
(one of the three)

Christian Koch April 16, 2014 8:45 PM

I prefer the last one, “Data: The Currency of Power,” but the earlier suggestion “Your Data: The Currency of Power” is pretty cool, too.

Nevertheless, be sure to read up on Michel Foucault. According to him, “power” is not something that is traded or something that one “has.” Instead, positions have power. To be powerful is to be in a certain position in relation to somebody else (or everybody else, as the case may be).

ER April 16, 2014 11:23 PM

I would vote for something like:
Permanent Data: The Currency Of Permanent Power

or the one proposed by René Bastien above was also cool (Big Data, Small World…)

Besides that I think that “All About You: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World” might catch a potential readers attention quite well (because perhaps it ‘touches home’, so to speak).

Wael April 17, 2014 12:29 AM

1- Cloak and dagger: The blatant battle to control your senses
2- Big data: Manipulate your world through controlling your senses
3- Bitdata (to data what bit coin is to currency)
4- Gladwell, Sorry dude… low on entropy: Data and Goliath

John J April 17, 2014 1:03 AM

Noticed mine didn’t make the poll and realized they might have been obscured by the preface…

Big Data/Big Brother: How Your Information is the New Currency of Power

No Secrets: Power, Privacy, and Panopticon in the World of Big Data

Your Data, Our Power: The Battle for Control of Your Information in the Digital Age

Sepp April 17, 2014 1:43 AM

“Data: The new currency of power” is the title i like most from the list.
Please, do not use “Data and Goliath”, as it sounds like a wordplay gone wrong (no offense 🙂 ).

Dennis S. April 17, 2014 1:49 AM

I personally dislike “They Already Know”. I think there is already too much thinking about “Them” as the enemy. Currently “They” is often an alias for “The NSA”, but over time there is always some institution or person, who is seen as “The enemy”.
This kind of thinking parts the society and make “us” focus on that enemy and stop reasoning about the broader picture. It also stops us from thinking about our responsibility in a given situation, because “they” are the problem.
Thus i don’t think using terms like “them”,”they” or us is helpful for a objective discussion on any topic.

For more or less a related reason I also dislike “Tracking You”.

I think 1,4,5 and 6 are much better.

Ionel April 17, 2014 1:51 AM

“DataData: The New Currency of Power” is my favorite, but a little impersonal. How about: “Your Data: The New Currency of Power”?

Marc T April 17, 2014 2:00 AM

“Data: The New Currency of Power” is a clear favourite for me, or, more personally “Your Data: The New Currency of Power”. However, I also like the idea of being somewhat more direct along the lines of the aphorism “knowledge is power” – something like:
– Data is Power
– Your Data is Their Power (although not keen on “Their”)
– Data Potentia Est: How Your Data is the New Currency of Power

Holger April 17, 2014 2:10 AM

What about:

Drowning in Data.
Traces of Data.
A Penny for Your Data. How you’re being watched by your traces.
Big Data, Big Power. How you lose control.

A. Thulin April 17, 2014 2:14 AM

‘Hunt and Gather’ is the only title that brings out anything of a perspective — well, at least in my mind. Some of the other titles are closely related, but they didn’t touch off that moment of pattern recognition.

Hunting and gathering was paleolithic food production, but gave place to domestication of crops and animals in the neolithic age.

The image of becoming ‘domesticated’ (or even ‘groomed’, to invoked a possibly more offensive image) seems to hit harder than any of the other titles do.

Unfortunately, ‘neodedomenicum’ (a very feeble attempt, admittedly) is not useful as a ‘age name’. But perhaps someone who knows Greek better can find a better term.

Clive Robinson April 17, 2014 3:03 AM

@ Bruce,

I would not use the word battle but War, for the same reason it’s called the “war on terror”.

Thus “War on freedom” would be apt as a subtitle or part there off.

There are some problems with “currency” in “currency of power”, firstly it acts as a limiter on the content of the book, secondly it also is a word that is “very American” in outlook –to the rest of the world America still comes across as money obsessed– which is why I originaly sugested “Data and the journey to power”.

Uhu April 17, 2014 3:11 AM

Bruce, maybe you could ask Malcolm Gladwell whether he minds? If you mention the coincidence in a foreword, maybe he is even glad for publicity for his books?

Dimitris Andrakakis April 17, 2014 3:18 AM

…but let me also vote for, and add to, Wael’s idea. “D: Data is Power”

DB April 17, 2014 3:51 AM

A book with the title “David and Goliath” should not conflict with “Data and Goliath”… even if they do have the same subject matter, the latter one just shows more imagination and better puns.

People really do also need to understand that “War on Terror” = “War on Freedom”! For truly the only way to block all evil from ever happening is to strip all good too.

Bipin April 17, 2014 3:54 AM

I prefer “Tracking You: The Forces that Capture Your Data and Control Your World”

Szponek April 17, 2014 3:57 AM

Goliath like: “Listening Giant” or “Evesdropping Giant”
Others: “The Watchful Eye” or “For (Y)our protection”
The first thing that came to my mind: “All your data are belong to us”

David Oftedal April 17, 2014 4:47 AM

I like the ones that play upon fear, especially these ones:

Permanent Record: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World
They Already Know: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World
Tracking You: The Forces that Capture Your Data and Control Your World

Though I might have said “Control THE world” and “THEY’RE tracking you” to make them more idiomatic.

Autolykos April 17, 2014 5:16 AM

How about The Computer is your friend?
Adding Happiness is mandatory as a subtitle might be a little too much – but to mix in other nice ideas, Panopticon – Happiness is mandatory also has a nice ring to it…

@Jur: Why not go whole hog with All Your Data Are Belong To Us?

af55fd5195fe3b1c16ca8cf4885fb027 April 17, 2014 5:18 AM

How about:
“Grabbing your Digital Life: Establishing Complete Power.”
“Establishing Real Control by Grabbing your Digital Life”

Do not use “Data” as said in another comment.

af55fd5195fe3b1c16ca8cf4885fb027 April 17, 2014 5:20 AM

“Grabbing your Virtual Life: Establishing Power on Real Nations.”

Clive Robinson April 17, 2014 6:59 AM

@ Mike Acker,

Perhaps a slightly more biblical form,

The Power and the Knowledge : For ever and ever are men enslaved.

André Alves April 17, 2014 7:33 AM

Here’s my suggestion:

“State of Data”

Could be nice with a looping logo meaning:

State of Data / Data of State

Richard Karash April 17, 2014 7:44 AM

Bruce, I suggest you be the one to name it.

Eisenhower gave us the name “Military-Industrial Complex.” That stuck.

Who else but you to give this thing a name. Give us one that will stick.

Thanks for all your good work.

Celos April 17, 2014 7:46 AM

Definitely “Permanent record: …”

The part behind the “:” is not so important, but the real problem with all that data collection is that everybody does things sometimes that are at least questionable. The normal mechanism is that these are not noticed or get forgotten. With permanent surveillance everybody is naked and can be destroyed at will.

Michael April 17, 2014 8:14 AM

For those too lazy to look at the previous post: “The book looks at the proliferation and accessibility of data, and how it has enabled constant surveillance of our entire society. It examines how governments and corporations use that surveillance data, as well as how they control data for censorship and propaganda. The book then explores how data has empowered individuals and less-traditional power blocs, and how the interplay among all of these types of power will evolve in the future. It discusses technical controls on power, and the limitations of those controls. And finally, the book describes solutions to balance power in the future — both general principles for society as a whole, and specific near-term changes in technology, business, laws, and social norms.”

Assuming this summary is still accurate, I don’t think this is completely an us versus them proposition. The overtly paranoid titles strike me as misleading because it presents the idea that “we” should be afraid of “them” when they (law enforcement, government, and corporate overlords) also have reasons to be concerned about their data (which phones are geolocated in the NSA parking lot? which phones get turned off daily when approaching government buildings? you’ve probably identified the employees).

rj07thomas April 17, 2014 9:12 AM

“They Already Know: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World”.

The first bit is quite X-Files-esque (the espionage episodes, obviously- not the ones where M&S got cocooned by green bugs etc).

@Michael: this link- indicates that apparently, the UK govt (more specifically, Francis Maude) would quite happily use “existing state and private data stores” to create a census. Right. That’s good to know. This would seem to legitimise the data harvesting that the NSA has been criticised for- it’s no longer covert surveillance, it’s vital for the census. Huh? I try to keep control of my online presence so may not be as visible as others- will this impact my census records? The census requests very specific data for a very specific time because that is what is deemed necessary. I’m not sure I agree with a system that might start pulling all kinds of weird data about me just because it’s online (e.g. would my school exam results get pulled in? Not terribly relevant to a census, and I don’t necessarily want them being available in hundreds of years time). I understand that the census is costing more and more money, but I’m not sure basing it hugely varied data per citizen is the right way to go. Why not just digitize it? The data is supposed to be uniform so should be reasonably easy to sort and collate…

Curious April 17, 2014 9:31 AM

Power plays and the internet: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World

mhorie April 17, 2014 10:08 AM

Data: The New Currency of Power

I think it grabs the audience not aware of the importance of this subject and makes the book very attractive to have on your desk… 😉

Korinfph April 17, 2014 10:19 AM

IMO: “Permanent Record” is nice. The epitome of surveillance state, that is. “Hunt and Gather” is not broad enough, there are many other things to pay attention to – think of deception, for example. “They Already Know” is good; TIA may had been defeated years ago but it’s safe to assume that it lives (and thrives) under a different codename. “We Already Know” – we don’t (know enough; there are plenty of Snowden docs to publish). And not all of us. Far from that. “Data and Goliath” is fine though worrying – just remind yourself about what happened to the latter. It is a very fine title actually.

I don’t know which of the “Tracked” and “Tracking you” is better. Both aren’t bad. Finally, there is “Data: The New Currency of Power”. I would still prefer “Permanent Record”, “Data and Goliath” or one of the “Tracked” pair.

154908 April 17, 2014 11:20 AM

Let the Record Show: How the Data Trails We Leave Behind Redefine Power in the Information Age

Wael April 17, 2014 12:05 PM

A sorrowful title:

Marching the dreadful path towards sticks and stones; The Forth Order: Remote population Control with “0”s and “1”s

“Sticks and Stones”: What Einstein predicted about a future war

Coyne Tibbets April 17, 2014 1:48 PM

“Your Life as Property: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World”

Reasoning: As expressed by the subtitle, companies: (1) Battle to capture and own your data, which then becomes their property; then (2) use the captured data to assume control of your life, as if it were their own property; making decisions on their behalf to which you are bound while depriving you of all possible rights of control of your own life.

Scott April 17, 2014 2:00 PM

I would vote for “Data: The New Currency of Power” or “Permanent Record.” The fact that all this data could be stored indefinitely, especially with the increase of storage technologies, is what’s really scary.

As for plugging my own title, I would suggest:

“Finders Keepers: The Brave New World of Data Surveillance”

I think this emphasizes the fact that “finders keepers” is not only something the government can play, but all corporations, and criminals, too. Today’s cutting-edge advancements are tomorrow’s scripting tools. It’s not just the NSA we have to worry about, it’s the entire state of the information society, which increasingly cannot exist without computers and data.

Michael April 17, 2014 2:13 PM

@154908: “Let the Record Show: How the Data Trails We Leave Behind Redefine Power in the Information Age”

I like it! I was thinking along the lines of “Consent to be Searched” or “Consent to be Indexed” but “Let the Record Show” has similar legalistic implications.

Curious April 17, 2014 4:07 PM

I wrote: “Power plays and the internet: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World”

I must add that I am unsure how to spell “power play” properly. Perhaps “powerplays” is correct.

Brankish April 17, 2014 5:09 PM

1st choice “All about You: The Forces that Capture Your Data and Control Your World”

2nd choice “All Your Data Can And Will Be Used Against You” the title is accessible to joe public – it speaks in layman’s language.

AlanS April 17, 2014 10:33 PM

I do not have a positive suggestion for a title but I have some thoughts on what one might not want to use and in that discussion of what one might not want to use, suggestions for thinking about knowledge and power in a historical frame. There is a large, and often difficult, literature on these issues in the social sciences, history and philosophy that shouldn’t be ignored.

First, I would avoid a narrow focus on the Internet era or recent technology and simple notions of causation and subjects and objects. I also wouldn’t use “We/They already know”. There is always power and resistance. What’s interesting is not the we or the they but how power/knowledge functions. A lot of the more interesting writings on power look at the micropolitics of power, the discourses and practices, rather than the state actors or “big brother”.

I would not use titles like “Data: The New Currency of Power”. It’s not the new currency of power. Data or knowledge in some form has been the currency of power for a very long time but in different ways. It’s also not about “capturing your data”. It’s about decomposing the individual into data and communication.

Various people in the comments have also suggested the use of Panopticon in the title. I would avoid that. The usual source for references to panopticism is Michel Foucault (see “Panopticism” in Discipline and Punish, Part 3 section 3 ). Foucault used panopticism to illustrate the operation of certain disciplinary techniques. But disciplinary power is only one type of power. Discipline and Punish opens with a graphic description of a very different type of power, the exercise of sovereign power through the public spectacle of torture. And in later lectures he discusses the technologies of security that operate again very differently.

The metaphor of panopticism may not be very useful for thinking about modern surveillance phenomena, e.g. Google (maybe the NSA and state actors, although there are some serious limitations there as well). There are practices and discourses that operate in ways that are more subtle and pervasive than the disciplinary power located in institutions such as the prison, factory, school, etc. that still operate but which maybe had their high point in the 19th and early 20th century.

It is worth looking at short essay by Gilles Deleuze Postscript on the Societies of Control that was first published in 1990. Deleuze’s key points of reference are Michel Foucault and William S. Burroughs (see Electronic Revolution 1970). Societies of Control are along the lines of Foucault’s mechanisms of security, although there are some significant differences between Foucault and Deleuze. But the conceptualization of how power operates in this essay and Foucault’s security lectures is much more applicable to thinking about the power that operates through massive databases, networks, continuous knowledge in realtime. There is a very different logic at work that stems from certain statistical technologies of public health and later, cybernetics (Wiener, Shannon and Weaver). Pantopticism is a metaphor for techniques that are located in configurations within bounded spaces, are binary and discontinuous. The techniques of power in societies of control are about communication, networks, tracking and feedback. They are unbound by space, modulated and continuous. It’s power that is vastly more pervasive and efficient than that stemming from technologies of confinement. This is neo-capitalism as the Borg.

Also see Gilles Deleuze in conversation with Antonio Negri. Control and becoming. Futur Anterieur 1.

For an unpacking of Deleuze’s essay that explicates the relationships to Foucault, Burroughs, communication theory, etc. see Jia-Lu Cheng On Control Societies: A Deleuzian Postscript, The Unthinkable—Thinking Beyond the Limits of Culture, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, December 13-14, 2008.

For a critique of panopticism in surveillance studies see: Caluya, Gilbert. The Post-Panoptic Society? Reassessing Foucault in Surveillance Studies. Social Identities 16, no. 5 (September 2010): 621–33.

Dan S April 18, 2014 12:56 AM

Certainly “All about you”! Your focus is broader than merely data-tracking or records-retention (as implied by the what-they-know titles).

And this title makes it personal. Aside from the detail that you’ll surely sell more books if you talk directly to your prospective reader, I’ve encountered many otherwise-progressive and -thoughtful people who simply don’t see why the surveillance state and the corporate spy world affects THEM.

If you could reach those people, you’d make a huge difference. It is all about all of us, even the complacent professionals and academics who see no problem. And also the locii of power are learning all about us, as well as storing and abusing and sharing and deciding based on all about us.

Can’t wait to see the book. Would be pleased to pre-read it.

MS April 18, 2014 10:15 AM

New suggestions!
– Master of Puppets: Your Data Controls You
– The Internet Never Forgets: How You Are A Product of Your Data

Otherwise I think my favorite is “Data: The New Currency of Power” as it is short and to the point.

Jason Roth April 18, 2014 12:20 PM

“Tracked” has the most impact on its own vs. the other main titles, which seem to be more dependent on the subtitle. There’s another book called “Tracked”, but it appears to be fiction and shouldn’t distract for your book.

You might like “Data and Goliath” for its play on words, but I would try to let the “cuteness” of that not distract you from choosing the best title. “Tracked” as an air of seriousness that “Data and Goliath” does not have. It also is a great term because “tracked” is exactly the term that everyone knows and uses for what you’re talking about.

I would strongly discourage “Data” as a title, or even if you concatenate it with a subtitle using a colon, because it’s boring and far too general. You’re talking about user or personal data, not just data in general.

You might think of some analogy with theft as an alternate idea. Or maybe the idea of “watching” or being watched, or someone “seeing” you.

David in Toronto April 18, 2014 2:20 PM

I liked tracked but it’s too short and doesn’t quite cover it. How about something like “Tracked, Owned, and Betrayed”.

milkshaken April 18, 2014 4:29 PM

“Permanent Record”. (The main title – it is perfectly dystopian)

“Hidden Scores, Automated Dossiers and The Power to Track It All” (I would use this one as a second title)

Wesley Parish April 19, 2014 2:33 AM

How about:

Every Breath You Take: the System Loves You and Wants to be Your Friend

if you want something “evocative”. People can fill in the details, and nobody mistakes “The System” that “loves you” as an actual “Friend”.

Brett April 19, 2014 9:25 AM

When first reading the list “Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World” stuck out to me. However, after reading your post I understand the reservations.

I would then have to select:

Data: The New Currency of Power

Or one that just popped in my head:

The Art of War: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World

The Art of War: The Battlefield of Privacy and Government

The Art of War: The Battlefield of Privacy and Security

TTmania April 21, 2014 11:04 AM

I prefer “Data: The New Currency of Power”, but in your place, I would just stick to your favorite “Data and Goliath…”, never mind Gladwell’s title.

Me April 21, 2014 1:26 PM

I like the first two, but the last one has the advantage of being short, this means fewer instances of “oh that book by Bruce with the long name… what was it called again?”

KnottWhittingley April 22, 2014 9:37 AM

Through the Two-Way Looking Glass: Misadventures in Userland

Probably not right for this book, but I thought I’d toss it out. Also needs a better -land word.

KnottWhittingley April 22, 2014 9:39 AM

BTW, the “Data and Goliath” thing doesn’t work for me. My immediate reaction is that it’s going to be something about data fighting against Goliath, but in this case Goliath is not only big and strong, he’s got all your “rocks.”

Peter Barnhart April 22, 2014 7:14 PM

Title suggestion:
Information is Power: Capturing Your Data to Control Your World

I note that Economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote a book titled “The Anatomy of Power” (Houghton Mifflin, 1983).
He described three kinds: Condign (“do what I want, or I’ll hurt you”), Compensatory (“do what I want and I’ll pay you”), and Conditioned (“do what I want because you know it’s the right thing to do”).
To those, I would add the power of Cowardice (“do what I want or the boogieman will get you”).
It will be interesting to see how the power of data fits into that taxonomy. “You’ll do what I want because I know everything about you” perhaps?

Randy April 23, 2014 12:05 PM

I prefer “Data: The New Currency of Power”. but a close second is, “Permanent Record: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World”

Bobby April 27, 2014 10:56 AM

another one from me:

“Logfiles – The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World ”


IraqiGeek April 29, 2014 6:01 PM

“Data: The New Currency of Power”

Short, catchy, straight to the subject of the book, and reminds the reader immediately the huge amounts of data gathered by both industry and governments.

Skeptical April 30, 2014 1:58 PM

I’ll toss one in:

Visibility Unlimited: Surveillance and Power in the Information Age

Fotis Georgatos May 7, 2014 8:54 AM

“Hunt and Gather”, best by far!

It stands a good chance to collect interest from non-experts.

I’m interested to play reviewer in the book btw. so, where is the queue?!

Cas May 9, 2014 2:27 PM

I would take the Tim Ferris approach and buy Google ads to test which title variation had the most hits.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.