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Privacy, Surveillance, and the New Media You

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Edward Lee Lamoureux

Very little in the American way of life functions adequately under surveillance.  Democracy itself may be at mortal risk due to the loss of privacy and the increase in surveillance.

Examining challenges in a wide range of contexts, this book investigates and critically examines our systems of data management, including the ways that data are collected, exchanged, analyzed, and re-purposed.

The volume calls for re-establishing personal privacy as a societal norm and priority, requiring action on the part of everyone at personal, societal, business, and governmental levels. Because new media products and services are professionally designed and implemented to be frictionless and highly rewarding, change is difficult and solutions are not easy. This volume provides insight into challenges and recommended solutions.

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Chapter 1: The Harms

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THE HARMS

This chapter documents numerous incidents of damages caused by improprieties in the data marketplace, focusing on three general areas of concern.

First, extensive damage is done when individuals lose control over personal data, especially when that loss of control results from or leads to lawlessness. Hacking and inappropriate data leaks expose victims to malicious harms, economic losses, and extensive drains on time, effort, confidence, and trust.

Second, misappropriation and mismanagement of private information can bring about circumstances that compromise constitutional principles. Both data breaches and intrusive data collection can become tantamount to self-incrimination, loss of due process, and violations of the guarantees to anonymous gatherings and communication (freedom of speech).

Third, the data marketplace thrives on the unequal value equation related to personal data. Industries using personal data to produce many billions of dollars in annual profits operate under the fictions that each piece of personal datum has little or no value and that value exists only after and as a result of aggregating data into sets for analysis. Nothing could be further from the truth. Individualized data has value but the marketplace (and our legislatures, our courts, and commercial enterprises) find it convenient (and profitable) to uphold the myths that deny individuals any profits from giving up their personal data. The myth of ‘free’ services also factors into the value equation. ← 1 | 2 →

Loss of Control over Personal Data

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