Subtitle: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy
Read our Staff Review on our blog, The Audiobook Insider
Social networks are the defining cultural movement of our time, empowering us in constantly evolving ways. We can all now be reporters, alerting the world to breaking news of a natural disaster; participate in crowd-sourced scientific research; and become investigators, helping the police solve crimes. Social networks have even helped to bring down governments. But they have also greatly accelerated the erosion of our personal privacy rights, and any one of us could become the victim of shocking violations at any time. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest nation in the world. While that nation appears to be a comforting small town in which we socialize with our selective group of friends, it and the rest of the Web are actually lawless frontiers of hidden and unpredictable dangers. The same power of information that can topple governments can destroy a person’s career or marriage.
As leading expert on social networks and privacy Lori Andrews shows through groundbreaking research and a host of stunning stories of abuses, as we work and chat and shop and date over the Web, we are opening ourselves up to increasingly intrusive, relentless, and anonymous surveillance by employers, schools, lawyers, the police, and aggressive data aggregator services that compile an astonishing amount of information about us and sell it to any and all takers. She reveals the myriad, ever more sophisticated techniques being used to track us and discloses how routinely colleges and employers reject applicants due to personal information searches; robbers use postings about vacations to target homes for break-ins; lawyers readily find information to use against us in divorce and child custody cases; and at one school, the administrators actually used the cameras on students’ school-provided laptops to spy on them in their homes. Some mobile Web devices are even being programmed to listen in on us and feed data services a steady stream of information about where we are and what we are doing. Even if we use the best services to get our personal data removed from the Web, in a short time almost all that data is restored.
As Andrews persuasively argues, the legal system cannot be counted on to protect us. In the thousands of cases brought to trial by those whose rights have been violated, judges have most often ruled against them. That is why, in addition to revealing the dangers and providing the best expert advice about protecting ourselves, Andrews proposes that we all become supporters of a constitution for the Web, which she has drafted and introduces in this book. Now is the time to join her and take action—the very future of privacy is at stake.
“This pathbreaking book is fascinating, frightening, and essential reading. It demonstrates how much of what we treasure in our lives is unwittingly being surrendered as we fall into the spiderweb of social networks, a disaster in the making that requires a thoughtful but immediate legislative response.”—Scott Turow, New York Times bestselling author of Presumed Innocent
“Informative.”—New York Times
“Authoritative, important reading for policymakers and an unnerving reminder that anything you post can and will be used against you.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Andrews, legal scholar and expert on social media, examines the concept of social network as a nation in need of a constitution that protects the rights of its citizens…A fascinating look at social media and a valuable resource for Internet users to protect personal data.”—Booklist
“A broad-based exposé of the ramifications of the increasingly blurry boundary between our private and public selves…Essential reading for anyone with a social media and networking service account.”—Library Journal
“Andrews investigates the myriad ways in which social networking is unpoliced (or over-policed, in some cases), and proposes a constitution for the digital age…This book will make readers rethink their online lives, and Andrews’ Constitution is a great start to an important conversation.”—Publishers Weekly
“Lori Andrews is not known for writing in the horror genre, but this nonfiction work has a frightening message. Bernadette Dunne expertly delivers a chilling view of the dangers of social media and the importance of developing a ‘constitution for the Web.’ While the text’s data charts may be easier to process with a visual copy, there’s no better way to experience the rest of the material than to hear Dunne read it aloud. She infuses a tone of intrigue without straying from the seriousness of the content. The listener may feel violated more than once, but it will be difficult to press the stop button.”—AudioFile
Lori Andrews is a law professor and the director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology at Illinois Institute of Technology. She has served as a regular advisor to the US government on ethical issues regarding new technologies and was the chair of the federal committee on ethical and legal issues concerning the Human Genome Project.