Data for the People: How to Make Our Post-Privacy Economy Work for You

Andreas Weigend. Basic, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-465-04469-6
Many readers are likely to be resistant to this book’s underlying premise—that “the time has come to recognize that privacy is nothing more than an illusion.” Weigend, the onetime chief scientist of Amazon, certainly delineates, in familiar ways, how the “Internet of things,” and the capacity to create, record, store and analyze data, can be beneficial. But some of his speculative future tools—such as creating “trust coefficients” that tie one’s reputation, in a measurable numeric way, to that of a friend—come across as frighteningly Orwellian, and he provides no emotionally intelligent examination of the toll on human interactions. That obliviousness is also evident when Weigend wonders why people could feel more threatened by the unobtrusive surveillance capacities of a tool such as Google Glass than by a smartphone that can make similar audio and video recordings. Weigend’s solution to concerns about the loss of privacy—that everyone gets new rights to “data transparency and agency”—comes across as both laudably idealistic and impractical. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2016
Release date: 01/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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