The word “Orwellian” is oddly absent in this chilling look at how we now live in a world of near-constant surveillance and data collection.
Kyi examines how information and data about almost everyone are collected and used by individuals, government agencies, companies, and other organizations. She poses three questions to readers: who’s watching, and why? Where is the line between public and private? How can you keep your secrets to yourself? These questions are addressed in chapters exploring such subjects as computer surveillance, cyberbullying, data mining, and personal privacy. There is discussion of such surveillance technologies as drones, GPS, and RFID tags. Although there is little here that does not seem creepy, “Creepy Line” sidebars in each chapter highlight controversial real-life scenarios and ask readers where they would set their own boundaries. That label refers to a statement from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who said the company’s policy was “to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.” There are also ongoing arguments posed for both increased security and increased privacy, encouraging readers to think critically about the issues.
Though there are plenty of issues worthy of attention not addressed here, this lively effort serves well as a revealing, thoughtful, and provocative introduction to a complex subject and alarming realities. (further reading, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)