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Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393244816
ISBN-10: 0393244814
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Editorial Reviews


“When it comes to what government and business are doing together and separately with personal data scooped up from the ether, Mr. Schneier is as knowledgeable as it gets…. Mr. Schneier’s use of concrete examples of bad behavior with data will make even skeptics queasy and potentially push the already paranoid over the edge. Mr. Schneier writes clearly and simply about a complex subject.” (Jonathan A. Knee - The New York Times)

“Lucid and compelling.” (Emily Parker - Washington Post)

“A pithy, pointed, and highly readable explanation of what we know in the wake of the Snowden revelations, with practical steps that ordinary people can take if they want to do something about the threats to privacy and liberty posed not only by the government but by the Big Data industry.” (Neal Stephenson, author of Reamde)

“Lucid and fast-paced…. Schneier describes with dismay the erosion of privacy, then lays out a strategy for turning the tide.” (Hiawatha Bray - Boston Globe)

“[T]hought-provoking, absorbing, and comprehensive.” (Gil Press - Forbes)

“The public conversation about surveillance in the digital age would be a good deal more intelligent if we all read Bruce Schneier first.” (Malcolm Gladwell)

“Bruce Schneier has written a hugely insightful and important book about how big data and its cousin, mass surveillance, affect our lives, and what to do about it. In characteristic fashion, Schneier takes very complex and varied information and ideas and makes them vivid, accessible, and compelling.” (Jack Goldsmith, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice under George W. Bush)

“Schneier exposes the many and surprising ways governments and corporations monitor all of us, providing a must-read User’s Guide to Life in the Data Age. His recommendations for change should be part of a much-needed public debate.” (Richard A. Clarke, former chief counterterrorism adviser on the National Security Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and author of Cyber War)

“As it becomes increasingly clear that surveillance has surpassed anything that Orwell imagined, we need a guide to how and why we’re being snooped and what we can do about it. Bruce Schneier is that guide―step by step he outlines the various ways we are being monitored, and after scaring the pants off us, he tells us how to fight back.” (Steven Levy, editor-in-chief of Backchannel and author of Crypto and Hackers)

“A judicious and incisive analysis of one of the most pressing new issues of our time, written by a true expert.” (Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature)

“Lucid, sophisticated… Finely constructed, free of cant, and practical in its conclusions.” (Jacob Silverman - Los Angeles Times)

“Paints a picture of the big-data revolution that is dark, but compelling; one in which the conveniences of our digitized world have devalued privacy.” (Charles Seife - Nature)

“The internet is a surveillance state, and like any technology, surveillance has both good and bad uses. Bruce Schneier draws on his vast range of technical and historical skills to sort them out. He analyzes both the challenge of big brother and many little brothers. Anyone interested in security, liberty, privacy, and justice in this cyber age must read this book.” (Joseph S. Nye Jr., Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and author of The Future of Power)

Data and Goliath is the indispensable guide to understanding the most important current threat to freedom in democratic market societies. Whether you worry about government surveillance in the post-Snowden era, or about Facebook and Google manipulating you based on their vast data collections, Schneier, the leading, truly independent expert writing about these threats today, offers a rich overview of the technologies and practices leading us toward surveillance society and the diverse solutions we must pursue to save us from that fate.” (Yochai Benkler, Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School and author of The Wealth of Networks)

About the Author

Bruce Schneier is "one of the world's foremost security experts" (Wired) and the best-selling author of thirteen books. He speaks and writes regularly for major media venues, and his newsletter and blog reach more than 250,000 people worldwide. He is a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and the CTO of Resilient Systems, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (March 2, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393244814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393244816
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Data brings power as well as frailty to humans. Data could give security strength to government but it snatches away individual freedom. What is the meaning of life in the modern age of surveillance? What kinds of checks and balances are required in terms of personal data collection, corporate data surveillance and ubiquitous mass surveillance by governments? These are the central questions addressed by the security Guru Bruce Schneier in his latest book "Data and Goliath."

In a very straight forward and convincing style, Schneier presents the causes and consequences of big data and surveillance in our day to day lives. With the help of a number of annotations and references, Schneier explains the hidden secrets of surveillance and data exploitation by different players and the plight of our freedom and privacy in this context.

When Schneier is critical of unjustified data collection and surveillance, he is not against the technology itself. He advocates that the fundamental human rights should be respected in any society. He pleads that privacy is the cornerstone of such rights. In this book, Schneier beautifully explains how privacy is an essential human need and being stripped off privacy is dehumanizing - be it a handiwork of government or an automated computer algorithm set up by corporate gainers or others. He establishes that the biggest cost of surveillance is our liberty that should be understood by everyone.

Schneier offers thoughtful recommendations and suggestions to deal with personal data and surveillance.
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Format: Hardcover
Bruce Schneier (disclosure: a friend and occasional colleague) has written an essential book for our spy-happy times. He's a serious technologist who explains, in human terms, the meaning and threat of mass surveillance.

The most important part of this book, however (disclosure: I received an advance copy from his publisher), is his prescription for what we need to do. Surveillance-enabling technology isn't going away. It's getting more prevalent, and more hidden from view. And we can't sit back and expect the surveillance state to curb itself. So we need to change our norms on how we use it, but even more, we need to change our laws and rules.
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Format: Hardcover
Over the last two years we've had a drip, drip, drip of revelations about mass-surveillance by the state, and uses and abuses of the data we share with corporations. In this book, Bruce Schneier brings together the revelations and stories, and with a clear analysis, explains why they matter and, most importantly, what we should do about it.

As Bruce puts it: "One of the most surreal aspects of the NSA stories based on the Snowden documents is how they made even the most paranoid conspiracy theorists seem like paragons of reason and common sense. It's easy to forget the details and fall back into complacency; only continued discussion of the details can prevent this." (p. 224). This book gets into the details. And any sense of conspiracy theory is put aside by the comprehensive referencing that fills the back 1/4 of the text.

One of the brilliant thing about Bruce's books is that he engages not just with narratives of technology, but also with considering the deeper issues they relate to. Part 2, on 'What's at Stake', in starting from Political Liberty and Justice frames the debate right... not leaping straight into discussions of privacy and security, but working to explain why they matter in terms of core human values.

The optimism many had for the Internet as a tool to bring about a better world must now be tempered by an understanding of how the data we choose to share, and the data that is captured without our choice, has changed the balances of power that are essential for democratic governance. We shouldn't give up on the positive potentials of technology: but we need to engage with our eyes open. In this book Bruce points to key principles for that engagement, looking at solutions for government, for corporations and for 'the rest of us'.
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Format: Hardcover
Bruce Schneier's book is a fantastic achievement-- extremely well written, structured, logically organized, and truly comprehensive in dealing with its timely subject matter-- how governments and corporations are increasingly monitoring citizens and appropriating our data to control and influence us. Schneier thoughtfully unpacks a diverse range of issues and challenges -- both technical, legal, political, social, etc. As someone who knows a bit about this space, I can sincerely say that I learned plenty from reading this book.

And yet, despite this broad coverage, the narrative is both practical and nimble, and accessible to a range of readers, from experts to your average consumer or citizen concerned about their privacy. Indeed, despite the complexity of what is at stake-- data surveillance-- the book never gets mired in any one issue or stuck in some technical, legal, or policy-oriented thicket. Schneier displays an uncanny economy of language in treating his subject-- he says what needs to be said, no more or less.

Most importantly, Schneier offers concrete solutions and recommendations for dealing with the challenges and threats of corporate and government data surveillance, including a great final chapter with suggestions for "the rest of us", as in, We, the People. At the same time, Schneier's evenhanded approach to the issues he tackles, often leads him to raise counter-arguments to the points he raises. This adds to the persuasiveness to his overall argument, but he also raises some disturbing realities-- like the relativity of what we feel is "creepy" or inappropriate kinds of government/corporate surveillance and related behavior.
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