The Identity Trade: Selling Privacy and Reputation Online

Nora A. Draper. New York Univ., $35 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4798-9565-6
Draper, a University of New Hampshire assistant communications professor, examines the intersection of privacy and identity in the digital age in this investigative work. Featuring interviews with such industry figures as Fred Davis, founder of the identity management company Lumeria, and Josh Galper, general counsel for the online data vault provider Personal, the book brings to light the cultural and economic ramifications of the public’s desire for online privacy. Draper’s analysis of existing consumer protections is comprehensive; however, her scholarly tone may not be ideally suited to the average consumer, despite the study’s relevance. Instead, readers already well-versed in communication and technology issues will find this book most useful for increasing their depth of knowledge about issues such as digital visibility and government regulation of online platforms. One of the most striking points comes in Draper’s discussion with Galper, who, in describing Personal’s transition from a free to a paid model, remarks that customers didn’t trust a free service, because they assumed that meant the company was exploiting their personal data for monetary gain. Throughout, Draper examines the rights, expectations, and economics of digital privacy with expert fascination, making her study an enlightening option for specialists. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/26/2018
Release date: 01/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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