A Way Forward: Bruce Schneier’s Data and Goliath Explains Where Our Privacy is Now, and How We Fix It

EFF is honored to have renowned security technologist Bruce Schneier as a member of our board and a collaborator for nearly 20 years. But even if we'd never met him, we'd still be incredibly excited about the release of his new book, Data and Goliath.

Schneier has been providing detailed analyses of cryptography, big data, NSA leaks, security flaws, and more for decades (when he's not terrifying NSA Director Mike Rogers with deceptively simple questions about security). What's exceptional about his writing and his is that he manages to be well-researched, in-depth, and accurate while remaining accessible to non-technical readers.

That's why Data and Goliath is such an exciting book. On top of the ongoing avalanche of stories of cyberwarfare, data breaches and corporate snooping, the Snowden revelations have left many people confused and cynical about protecting their own privacy. Too many believe that nothing can be done to regain some of the privacy and power over our own lives that we have lost to ubiquitous mass surveillance. Worse, politics of fear have cowed citizens, congressmen and judges alike from claiming their important roles in oversight of national intelligence techniques and agencies.

Schneier's book fights against all of this. He walks the reader through the big picture clearly and understandably, explaining how we got here, what we know (and still don't) and what it all means for our collective future. Schneier explains how data creation, collection, and analysis, by the government and by third parties, are ubiquitous features of modern life. More importantly, he puts this new reality into context by explaining what's at stake, and offers solutions for government, corporations—and everyday people. Data and Goliath also pushes back on the hype about big data that we see on both the commercial and the governmental side—that it's benign, inevitable, and uniformly positive.

It's easy to feel daunted by the substantial threats to privacy and civil liberties that we are facing as a society. That's exactly why Data and Goliath is so essential. Knowledge is power. Armed with the knowledge Schneier shares in his book, anyone can join the conversation EFF and other advocates have been having, in the courts and elsewhere, about how to think seriously and honestly about our current digital surveillance state and more importantly, how to build a digital society run by the consent of the governed.

Categories: Book Reviews, Data and Goliath, Text

Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.

Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of IBM Resilient.