Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World (Review)

Security technologist Schneier (Schneier on Security) eloquently limns the challenges of maintaining privacy in the Internet age, and offers some thoughtful proposals to preserve individual freedom without compromising national security. Even readers well versed in the issues are likely to be shocked by some instances of technological intrusions, such as when a school district near Philadelphia lent high school students laptops installed with highly invasive spyware. Schneier plausibly makes the case that the powerful algorithms of companies such as Facebook could be used to actually manipulate American elections. The book also notes the psychological aspects of the loss of control of one’s data. For example, for most of human history “interactions and conversations have been ephemeral,” and the indefinite preservation of online interactions has social and emotional repercussions for which society is unprepared. Schneier may be accused by some of minimizing the threat from terrorism, however, as when he dismisses terrorists as no more of a danger than organized crime, an analogy that weakens the overall strength of his case

Categories: Data and Goliath, Text

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.