Ced Kurtz’s Techman Texts: Computer Surveillance Is a Trade-off

Bruce Schneier is a world-renowned cryptographer, computer security and privacy specialist, and author of numerous books on security. So when he speaks, TechMan tends to listen.

In his latest book, “Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World,” his point is well worth taking note of: Surveillance and data collections are a trade-off between individual value and group value. You give Google personal information in return for free search, free email, free maps and all the other free things Google provides.

“The computers you interact with are constantly producing intimate public data about you. It includes what you read, watch and listen to. It includes whom you talk to and what you say. Ultimately, it covers what you are thinking about, at least to the extent that your thoughts lead you to the Internet and search engines. We are living in the golden age of surveillance,” Mr. Schneier writes.

Although hackers tend to get the headlines for the personal data they steal, a far bigger issue is the personal data you give away freely every day in return for convenience.

Mr. Schneier points out that all those data are saved in massive databases that can be data-mined by businesses, government and law enforcement and sold to other agencies. And although the point is always made that data collected are not tied to your identity, Mr. Schneier shows that, with enough data about you, identifying you is not difficult.

I highly recommend Mr. Schneier’s latest book. And keep in mind that if you buy the Kindle version like I did, Amazon knows you are reading it.

BTW: You can get Mr. Schneier’s monthly newsletter on security issues at Schneier.com.

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.