I’d recommend Bruce Schneier’s book Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World to anyone who uses (or comes in contact with) any electronic devices. :)
It explains, in clear and layman’s terms, how data about us is collected online and off, by both governments and corporations, and how it’s used to spy on us, sell us stuff, violate our privacy or give us actually useful services that provide great value.
One of the best things about this book is that while the author openly advocates for the need of privacy and security for our everyday lives, he doesn’t present it as a binary, black-and-white problem: he acknowledges the needs of our society, science and commerce, and proceeds to illustrate how we should approach getting the most of them, whilst still keeping our private lives to ourselves. He describes not only the technological, but political, governmental, societal and psychological impact of technology, encryption and privacy (or lack thereof).
If you regularly use the internet, chances are you are being spied on by many websites and don’t even know about it. The author explains this, and keeps hammering the point by giving many real-world examples.
In fact, the author keeps listing so many examples, I’ve originally thought them superfluous; until I’ve realized it serves a point. The data siphoning is so wide-spread and so all-encompassing it’s difficult to grasp. By listing many, many of the cases in various areas of life, both online and off, you’ll start getting the real picture into your head eventually.
So anyone wanting to navigate the world of today’s technology and understand what bargains he’s implicitly agreeing to by using GMail, Facebook or owning a credit card should give it a read.
Also, by the bye, the whole time I’ve kept thinking that if this book were published 30 years ago, it would look like an overblown, dystopian sci-fi, not a book of fact.
Originally published on Goodreads.