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Book Review: A Call to Re-Embrace Our Privacy

Roslyn Fuller reviews “I Have Nothing to Hide”: And 20 Other Myths About Surveillance and Privacy by Heidi Boghosian.


 

WHEN I STARTED collecting my notes for this book review, Microsoft attempted to save the file to its OneDrive cloud, much as my scanner continually tries to upload my documents to its server. It is thus fair to say that I was more than primed to like a book that deals with technological encroachments on privacy and that confronts the ways in which we are encouraged, sometimes very strongly, to give up control over our personal data in the name of convenience and security.


Billed as “an accessible guide that breaks down the complex issues around mass surveillance and data privacy,” “I Have Nothing to Hide” takes on numerous “myths” on this topic, ranging from “smart homes are more secure” to “metadata doesn’t reveal much about me” to “teenagers don’t care about privacy.”


One of the main themes of the book is, unsurprisingly, the extent to which Americans are already under surveillance, whether they are aware of it or not, and often with little value attributed to their privacy. One of the early chapters recounts that when Samsung smart televisions were found capable of recording household conversations, a former CIA director baldly defended such capabilities on national television. Practices which, only a short time ago, would have prompted scandal and resignations, have become publicly defensible.


Read the full review at the LA Review of Books here.