Some sound advice: assume everything you do on the Internet is seen or collected by someone other than your intended audience, out of malice or opportunism, pure and simple.
Readers who pay any attention will finish January’s tour of Internet snooping with some measure of paranoia. His point is not to frighten but to inform, and he provides tips on how to avoid some of the more egregious snoops (easy-peasy: “switch from Google to DuckDuckGo”). He opens with a look at the history of privacy in the United States, how it has always seemed an inalienable right, and how it is enshrined in the Fourth Amendment regarding unreasonable searches. “But US judicial and legal systems have not kept pace with the quickly changing world of technology.” Namely, people will get away with any loophole until the law plugs the hole. January writes in a clear, frank style that also contains some artful foreboding. His examples of intrusive data collection touch everyone. Although the United States does not have such laws, the European Union requires Facebook to comply with requests for disclosure. On the other hand, some behavior seems conspicuously naïve. “Hackers stole nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities by breaking into their iCloud accounts.” Forget about diamonds; it’s digitized nude pictures that are forever.
Listen up, warns January in this arresting work: everyone is watching, and nothing is deleted for keeps. (Nonfiction. 12-18)