The best books about privacy

Many authors have picked their favorite books about privacy and why they recommend each book.

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The Circle

By Dave Eggers,

Book cover of The Circle

The book is far superior to the dumbed-down movie version. We live today in a society willfully ignoring how much of ourselves we voluntarily give away to tech companies and what they do with it. The concept in this book that large corporations collect and sell data on all of us isn’t Sci-fi, it is our reality. It was proven in 2013 that internet and phone companies were selling our information to the government. Either no one noticed, or no one cared because regardless of if people are aware we are all living in the Circle now.


Who am I?

I’m just a book-loving girl working in a corporate world who’s sick to death of the inaccurate representations of technology in fiction. FYI, tracing a phone call is instantaneous, no need to keep that pesky murderer on the line these days. Technology is so ingrained in our daily lives and most people have very limited knowledge of what it actually does, so I became fascinated with the idea of using real modern-day tech in murder mysteries. I got so obsessed with the idea I decided to write it. No Sci-Fi of future tech, it may seem farfetched, but all the electronic wizardry used in my novels is real and accurately represented.


I wrote...

There is No Cloud

By Kat Wheeler,

Book cover of There is No Cloud

What is my book about?

Cameron Caldwell is living her best life…. Well sort of. Turns out moving to New York City isn’t exactly like Sex and the City. But she does have her dream job working for the world's largest Smart Home Technology company. Her job is basically herding cats with an expense account. The monotony of being a corporate sales rep is made tolerable by her two supportive work besties Bill and Phil. But when Cameron discovers something strange in one of her customer's technology her life takes a dramatic turn. Partnering with NYC homicide detective Will Justus, Cameron uses her insider knowledge to help solve a series of murders with the same technology used to commit them.

Uneasy Access

By Anita L. Allen,

Book cover of Uneasy Access

Anita Allen is one of the pioneers of privacy law who began exploring privacy issues long before most others. She holds a PhD in philosophy, and in all her books, she explores privacy in a rich theoretical way but also a personal way too. Deeply humanistic, her work is thought-provoking and wide-ranging. I could have listed many of her great books, but the one that stands out the most to me is Uneasy Access. One of the earliest books written about privacy, Uneasy Access discusses privacy in the most illuminating way. The book makes an enormous contribution in discussing the role that privacy plays in women’s lives, but its conceptual work on privacy provides such clarity that it makes this book one of the best theoretical discussions of privacy across all contexts. 


Who am I?

I became interested in privacy in the mid-1990s. When I began my career as a law professor, I thought I might write one or two papers about privacy and then move on to other issues involving law and technology. But like Alice in Wonderland, I found an amazing world on the other side of the rabbit hole. I’ve written more than 10 books and 50 articles about privacy, and I have a list of topics and ideas that will keep me writing many more in the future. I recently wrote a children’s book about privacy called The Eyemonger, which is designed to spark a child’s thoughts and understanding about privacy.


I wrote...

Understanding Privacy

By Daniel J. Solove,

Book cover of Understanding Privacy

What is my book about?

In this concise and lucid book, Daniel J. Solove offers a comprehensive overview of the difficulties involved in discussions of privacy and ultimately provides a provocative resolution. He argues that no single definition can be workable, but rather that there are multiple forms of privacy, related to one another by family resemblances. His theory bridges cultural differences and addresses historical changes in views on privacy. Drawing on a broad array of interdisciplinary sources, Solove sets forth a framework for understanding privacy that provides clear, practical guidance for engaging with relevant issues.

Understanding Privacy will be an essential introduction to long-standing debates and an invaluable resource for crafting laws and policies about surveillance, data mining, identity theft, state involvement in reproductive and marital decisions, and other pressing contemporary matters concerning privacy.

Privacy and Freedom

By Alan F. Westin,

Book cover of Privacy and Freedom

Written in the late-1960s, this is the original study of privacy by perhaps the greatest privacy scholar of the 20th century. Comprehensive and intricately detailed, Westin explores the changes and dangers facing American privacy at a crucial moment in American history. The book made such an impact when published that you can’t consider yourself a student of privacy if you haven’t read it. 


Who am I?

I grew up in an Italian-American family that taught its children to respect other people’s privacy, and demand that people respect ours. Privacy is an essential part of what it means to live in a free society. It creates space for intimacy. The deterioration of our privacy rights is one of the most important issues facing the modern world, and I’ve dedicated my career to teaching and writing about it. I am an author, a professor, and a data privacy professional. My public lectures on the right to privacy include the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Senate, the National Football League, and leading tech and cryptocurrency companies.


I wrote...

None of Your Damn Business: Privacy in the United States from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age

By Lawrence Cappello,

Book cover of None of Your Damn Business: Privacy in the United States from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age

What is my book about?

“‘What is it we fear we’re losing?’ Cappello asks in his brilliant history of privacy in America. Is there any timelier question? Thoroughly researched and deftly told, None of Your Damn Business is a history of privacy written for and about Wall Street and Main Street, government and the courts, intelligence operatives and digital entrepreneurs, current and future citizens. It deserves our full attention.” - David Nasaw, New York Times best-selling author of The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

Surveillance

By Alexander Sofras, Lynette Sofras,

Book cover of Surveillance

Claire and Brandon Avery live in a world pretty much like ours but with surveillance notched up to a point where there is very little privacy. It is also a world in which the government is very suspicious of high intelligence, and the Averys’ son Harrison is very intelligent indeed. But how do you teach a six-year-old child, who hasn’t learnt how to lie, that he must hide his genius?

It’s amazing how much is packed into this short story. I was weak with apprehension when I realised what was at stake. If the man from the government discovers just how clever Harrison is, he will be taken away from his parents and neutralised. The Averys’ agony as they make plans to escape is palpable. And the ending knocks you sideways.

I came upon this little gem relatively recently and just read it again to check that it was as…


Who am I?

Every so often something happens that changes everything. I have always been fascinated by this idea. Will the end of the world be an apocalypse inflicted by God? An invasion from space? A killer plague? I grew up on this stuff. I have spent a lifetime pondering over the most disturbing scenarios postulated by the greatest minds that have ever existed. These stories both terrify and thrill me. But what really grabs me are the people – the little, ordinary people like you and me – who are suddenly caught in an unseen horror, or slowly lured into one. In 2018 Jenny Twist was awarded Top Female Author in Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal/Science Fiction by The Authors Show.


I wrote...

The Cottage at the End of the World

By Jenny Twist,

Book cover of The Cottage at the End of the World

What is my book about?

The end of civilization is fast approaching, and the family in the remote cottage in the woods is ready. They are prepared for anything that may happen -- except for the one thing that nobody predicted. Against the background of the Coronavirus pandemic another, more sinister threat is slowly gripping the world. Will the people find out before it's too late?

“A very lovely end of the world story. Great character development and great dialogue this is a very thoughtful look at what could happen and how to prepare for the end of the world.” – Amazon review

Crypto

By Steven Levy,

Book cover of Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government--Saving Privacy in the Digital Age

I always knew cryptography was political, but I had no idea how political until I read this book. Seeing the subject I am so fascinated by through the words of a political journalist was truly eye-opening. Steven Levy navigates a deeply fascinating period in modern technological history – the late twentieth-century battles between governments trying to maintain power and control over communications, and technologists who saw the fledgling internet as an opportunity to build a new world. Cryptography, which protects digital communications, sat plum on the frontline between these two communities, hence battles over cryptography turned into so-called 'crypto wars’ (although nobody died). Nobody who read this book was surprised with much that Edward Snowden had to say to the world in 2013 – Snowden was just reportage of the latest chapter in the same ongoing conflict.


Who am I?

I am a cryptography professor, which sadly doesn’t mean I spend my time breaking secret messages (at least not every day). I first studied cryptography simply because it was fun and interesting. It still is – but today it is unbelievably important, underpinning the security of almost everything we do in the digital world. I believe that developing a notion of 'cyber common sense’ is a vital life skill since so much of what we do is digital. A basic understanding of cryptography and its societal impact provides a superb foundation for making sense of digital security, so I’ve selected some of my favourite reads to get you started.


I wrote...

Cryptography: The Key to Digital Security, How It Works, and Why It Matters

By Keith M. Martin,

Book cover of Cryptography: The Key to Digital Security, How It Works, and Why It Matters

What is my book about?

Cryptography plays a critical role in our everyday lives. It underpins the security of our mobile phone calls, credit card payments, web searches, internet messaging, and cryptocurrencies—in short, everything we do online. Broadly defined as a set of tools for establishing security cyberspace, cryptography enables us to protect and share our information. Understanding the basics of cryptography is the key to recognizing the significance of the security technologies we encounter every day, which will then help us respond to them. In clear, concise writing, information security expert Keith Martin answers all these questions and more, revealing the many crucial ways we all depend on cryptographic technology. Essential reading for anyone with a password, Cryptography offers a profound perspective on personal security, online and off.

Privacy's Blueprint

By Woodrow Hartzog,

Book cover of Privacy's Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies

Privacy’s Blueprint presents a deep, vivid, and concrete account of how technology companies design devices, websites, and software in ways that diminish privacy. Design choices are frequently clandestine, built so that people don’t notice them or how they are being pushed and manipulated into sharing more data or making choices that surrender their privacy. With clear and engaging examples, Hartzog illuminates these shadowy designs and shows how they work. He contends that privacy law can’t be effective unless it regulates design. According to Hartzog, design can be regulated in ways that aren’t overly controlling or stifling to innovation. This is a great book, filled with countless insights, and it is highly accessible. 


Who am I?

I became interested in privacy in the mid-1990s. When I began my career as a law professor, I thought I might write one or two papers about privacy and then move on to other issues involving law and technology. But like Alice in Wonderland, I found an amazing world on the other side of the rabbit hole. I’ve written more than 10 books and 50 articles about privacy, and I have a list of topics and ideas that will keep me writing many more in the future. I recently wrote a children’s book about privacy called The Eyemonger, which is designed to spark a child’s thoughts and understanding about privacy.


I wrote...

Understanding Privacy

By Daniel J. Solove,

Book cover of Understanding Privacy

What is my book about?

In this concise and lucid book, Daniel J. Solove offers a comprehensive overview of the difficulties involved in discussions of privacy and ultimately provides a provocative resolution. He argues that no single definition can be workable, but rather that there are multiple forms of privacy, related to one another by family resemblances. His theory bridges cultural differences and addresses historical changes in views on privacy. Drawing on a broad array of interdisciplinary sources, Solove sets forth a framework for understanding privacy that provides clear, practical guidance for engaging with relevant issues.

Understanding Privacy will be an essential introduction to long-standing debates and an invaluable resource for crafting laws and policies about surveillance, data mining, identity theft, state involvement in reproductive and marital decisions, and other pressing contemporary matters concerning privacy.

Industry Unbound

By Ari Ezra Waldman,

Book cover of Industry Unbound: The Inside Story of Privacy, Data, and Corporate Power

Ari Waldman’s Industry Unbound eviscerates many of the current privacy laws and corporate privacy programs. On the surface, we appear to be living in the golden age of privacy law. Privacy laws are being passed at a feverish rate. Many companies now have dedicated teams of individuals who build a privacy program at the company to comply with the laws, assess privacy risks, train employees, and ensure that products and services are designed in ways that are protective of privacy. Unfortunately, Waldman contends, these privacy programs are hollow. They amount to building a meaningless paper record and end up cloaking poor privacy practices with a pretty facade. Even those who do not agree with the potency of Waldman’s critique must take note of the concerns he raises. His arguments are essential to engage with.  


Who am I?

I became interested in privacy in the mid-1990s. When I began my career as a law professor, I thought I might write one or two papers about privacy and then move on to other issues involving law and technology. But like Alice in Wonderland, I found an amazing world on the other side of the rabbit hole. I’ve written more than 10 books and 50 articles about privacy, and I have a list of topics and ideas that will keep me writing many more in the future. I recently wrote a children’s book about privacy called The Eyemonger, which is designed to spark a child’s thoughts and understanding about privacy.


I wrote...

Understanding Privacy

By Daniel J. Solove,

Book cover of Understanding Privacy

What is my book about?

In this concise and lucid book, Daniel J. Solove offers a comprehensive overview of the difficulties involved in discussions of privacy and ultimately provides a provocative resolution. He argues that no single definition can be workable, but rather that there are multiple forms of privacy, related to one another by family resemblances. His theory bridges cultural differences and addresses historical changes in views on privacy. Drawing on a broad array of interdisciplinary sources, Solove sets forth a framework for understanding privacy that provides clear, practical guidance for engaging with relevant issues.

Understanding Privacy will be an essential introduction to long-standing debates and an invaluable resource for crafting laws and policies about surveillance, data mining, identity theft, state involvement in reproductive and marital decisions, and other pressing contemporary matters concerning privacy.

Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays

By Robin Evans,

Book cover of Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays

The book introduced Interior Design as an intellectual subject with a firm theoretical grounding that went beyond style and taste to influential and foundational concepts and promoted it as a serious field of study. It is a collection of accessible essays and so is easy to dip into. My favourite essay is "Figures, Doors and Passageways," which discusses the formation of contemporary systems of circulation, the development of the corridor, and the evolution of modern ideas of personal privacy.


Who am I?

For more than thirty years I have been discussing, formulating ideas, and writing about Architecture, Building Reuse, and Interiors. I lead the MA Architecture and Adaptive Reuse programme and direct graduate atelier Continuity in Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture. I am currently the Visiting Professor at the University IUAV of Venice where I am conducting research on the sustainable adaptation of existing buildings with particular emphasis on the environmental concerns within the inherently fragile city of Venice.


I wrote...

Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

By Sally Stone,

Book cover of Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

What is my book about?

Inside Information is a chatty and well-informed conversation about the theoretical ideas that inform the interior. Written as a collection of 26 conversations, from Ante to Zeitgeist, Inside Information explores the rich diversity of areas that inform the subject, and ideas that underpin it. This thesaurus of interiors transcends the boundaries and genres that often define interiors, providing a comprehensive view of the concepts and vocabulary of interior design. It is a practical introduction for the professional, a set of provocation for the scholar, a ‘good read’ filled with anecdote and speculation for the amateur, and primer for the students.

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