THE DEATH OF PRIVACY by Jerry M. Rosenberg


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Dr. Rosenberg, formerly of Columbia, here warns of the imminent approach of national data banks, making available to government snoops all sorts of things you wouldn't want them to know. Assuming that the march of science cannot be halted, he offers some ideas for legal and technological protections (speech recognition to guard confidential data, etc.). This, while intended to be the main focus of the book, comes across as a helter-skelter compilation of materials on computers: their history; their current use in business and government; how people feel about them (studies on this by the authors' students fill two chapters). There is a far-too-brief discussion of the legal right to privacy. And, in the appendix, there is a long and hysterically funny Bob and Ray sketch which is almost worth the price of the book. Rosenberg shows a justifiable lack of confidence in his powers of expression and analysis. The book also consists of an endless stream of quotations from such diverse sources as Pius XII, Herman Kahn, Pericles, and Professor Alan Westin (the author's mentor) joined by awkward transitions. In its haphazard and unoriginal way, it does raise important problems, and may be valued by the serious student as a compendium of sources. But for the general reader at which it is aimed, the access time won't be worth the data retrieved. And those who value coherence will find it leaves them in a solid state.

Pub Date: June 12th, 1969
Publisher: Random House