I Always Feel Like ... Somebody's Watching Me

Dragnet Nation

Feeling a little uneasy by the numerous reports of security breaches at major retailers?  Increasingly creeped out by the prevalence of online ads that just happen to perfectly match a recent web search?  Curious about just what happens to all that information that you sign away on with your store 'loyalty' cards?

The library is here to help!  Not to comfort you--these books probably freak you out more.  But at least you'll be armed with valuable information.

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin - Online ads from websites you've visited... smartphones and cars transmitting your location... data-gathering surveillance operations across the Internet and on your phone lines. You are being watched.... Angwin offers a revelatory and unsettling look at how the government, private companies, and even criminals use technology to indiscriminately sweep up vast amounts of our personal data. She argues that the greatest long-term danger is that we start to internalize the surveillance and censor our words and thoughts, until we lose our freedom. Appalled at such a prospect, Angwin conducts a series of experiments to try to protect herself.Brandwashed

Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy by Martin Lindstrom.  Fascinating look at how marketers and advertisers tap into our most deeply seated fears, vulnerabilities, impulses, dreams, and desires, all in the service of taking our dollars.  Companies are secretly mining our digital footprints to uncover some of the most intimate details of our private lives, then using that information to target us with ads and offers "perfectly tailored" to our psychological profiles. And you won't believe the information you are giving away every time you sign up for a store loyalty card.

Speaking of giving away information, in I Know Who You AreI Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy, Lori Andrews writes about the widespread misuse of our personal online data and creates a Constitution for the web.  Social networks are the defining cultural movement of our time, but as we work and chat and date over the web, traditional rights may be slipping away. The same power of information that can topple governments can also topple a person's career, marriage, or future.Naked Future

Big Data is all over the news these days, and The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? by Patrick Tucker explores how big data and predictive analytics means that governments and corporations are becoming much more effective at accomplishing their goals and at much less cost.  Meet scientists and inventors who can predict your behavior based on your friends' Twitter updates. They are also hacking the New York City sewer system to predict environmental conditions, anticipating how much the weather a year from now will cost an individual farmer, figuring out the time of day you're most likely to slip back into a bad habit, and guessing how well you'll do on a test before you take it. You'll learn how social networks like Facebook are using your data to turn you into an advertisement and why the winning formula for a blockbuster movie is more predictable than ever.

Whew!  It all makes me want to turn off the computer and go take a long walk!  Happy reading!

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