Press Release: December 28, 2000
Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century Released in PaperbackSebastopol, CA--O'Reilly and Associates today announced the paperback release of Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century, by Simson Garfinkel.
As the 21st century begins, advances in technology endanger our privacy in ways never before imagined. This newly revised update of the popular hardcover edition, Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century, is the compelling account of how invasive technologies will affect our lives in the coming years. It's a timely, far-reaching, entertaining, and thought-provoking look at the serious threats to privacy facing us today.
Fifty years ago, in the book "1984," George Orwell imagined a future in which privacy was vanquished by a totalitarian state that used spies and video surveillance to maintain control. In 2000, we find that the threats to our privacy are not coming from a monolithic "Big Brother," but-even harder to grapple with-from hundreds of sources, not seeking to control us, merely to market to us, track us, count us, or streamline paperwork.
The result, though, is still as chilling as "1984."
Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century is the Silent Spring of 2000. Simson's hope is that this important new book will open the public's eyes to the many intrusions on our privacy before it is too late.
Critical Acclaim for Database Nation:
"Database Nation by Simson Garfinkel is a graphic and blistering indictment of the burgeoning technologies used by business, government, and others to invade the self--yourselves--and restrict both your 'freedom to' participate in power and your 'freedom from' abuses of power. The right of privacy is a constitutionally protected right, and its erosion or destruction undermines democratic society as it generates, in one circumstance after another, a new kind of serfdom. This book is one that you're entitled to take very personally."
--Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate
"Database Nation is illuminating and disturbing, fascinating in its explanations of new technologies, but easily accessible to readers who might not otherwise have an interest in computers. Mr. Garfinkle's accounts of privacy abuses are alarming, not because they are unusually horrifying but because they are so familiar."
--Peter H. Lewis, NY Times, Feb 10, 2000
"This is a chilling compendium of the myriad methods government and industry have revised to catalog and profile the preferences of American citizens. It is an essential handbook in the fight against the insidious erosion of a right so dear that freedom itself depends on it."
--The Hon. Edward J. Markey, U.S. House of Representatives
"Database Nation marks a turning point in the national debate over the future of privacy. Here is the clearest accounting to date of the challenges we face and the steps we must take to preserve the most valued of personal freedoms."
--Marc Rotenberg, Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center
"Garfinkel has written both a comprehensive survey of threats to privacy in an electronic age and a sometimes subversive manifesto for how citizens can fight back to protect their human dignity. He has a humanist's perspective on what constitutes civilized living, a lawyer's understanding of the potential as well a the limits of the law, and a revolutionary's sense for how to threaten the power structure to cease and desist. A bravura performance that is bound to be the subject of controversy, not to mention some nervousness on the part of those who don't understand that we humans own much of the information that makes us unique."
--Harvey A. Silverglate, Attorney and Coauthor, The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses.
"If you want a good scare, you could go on-line and download the latest Stephen King, or you could read this book, which explains how corporations keep track of things like--well, what you've just downloaded. Other writers have raised alarms, but no one has revealed the encroachments of technology on privacy in such exacting detail. Living in the global village, it seems, is like living in a real one; you have to deal with a whole lot of busybodies."
--New Yorker, April 10, 2000
"Garfinkel has captured the depth and breadth of our ever-increasing privacy problems, demonstrating their insidious nature and the extreme difficulties that they present for all of us. This book is hugely important. It should be read by everyone. Wonderfully readable. Five stars."
--Peter G. Neumann, Author, Computer-Related Risks; Moderator, Risks Forum; Principal Scientist, Computer Science Lab, SRI International
"This is required reading for the new millennium...Recommended for all libraries."
--Thom Gillespie, Library Journal, May 2000
"If the terms 'data-mining' and 'data-shadowing' mean nothing to you, then you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to read Database Nation. Though it's not the first book to deal with the invasion of privacy it may well be the best. He (Garfinkel) has the right technological stuff and an easy-to-read, no-nonsense writing style. He won't make you laugh or cry, but his message is likely to shake your sense of personal space and privacy all the way down to the sub-basement. Garfinkel spent 12 years researching this book, and it shows. You might not want to believe what he has to say, but his thorough documentation leaves little room for argument."
--Lynn Yarris, San Jose Mercury News, March 19, 2000
"Garfinkel is the first to decisively and persuasively marshal all the information to show how privacy is under constant attack, often by people who claim to have our best interests at heart. The picture he paints is clear, sharp, and focused--a wake-up call rather than a fire alarm. And unlike many authors who only point toproblems, Garfinkel offers sound advice about alternatives to many privacy-damaging practices Database Nation gives a way to detect the privacy land mines in our culture and ultimately disarm them."
--Tom Regan, Christian Science Monitor, January 27, 2000
"In the space of just 271 pages, computer-security expert and author Garfinkel hammers home perhaps the most compelling account yet of how big business, aided by government agencies and a complicit Congress, is stealing Americans' best defense against tyranny: their very ability to be left alone...Database Nation aims straight at the things that nearly all Americans, left, right and center, care about deeply. Ignore this book and you ignore your own future."
--Will Rodger, USA Today, Feb 9, 2000
"This isn't simply another cautionary tale about the Internet. Garfinkel has the historical vision and storytelling chops, both sorely lacking among today's tech and business press, to stitch together an exhaustive range of topics --medical records, biological warfare, United Parcel Service's package tracking system, even satellite pictures of Earth--into a panoply of privacy concerns. The Internet is just the tip of a very frightening iceberg. For all but the most studied privacy expert, Database Nation will provide not only valuable history and insight, but a rousing call to arms."
--Alex Lash, Industry Standard, Feb 2000
"Entertaining and intriguing. The scope of privacy threats is breathtaking, and Garfinkel does an excellent job of cataloging them. Like the Hubble telescope, he presents us with descriptions of privacy-threatening technologies we did not even imagine existed."
--David Isenberg, intellectualcapitol.com, June 2000
- More information
about the book, including Table of Contents, index,
author bio, and sample chapter.
6, To Know Your Future, is available free online.
graphic in jpeg format.
- Images of Simson Garfinkel.
Database Nation: The
Death of Privacy in the 21st Century
By Simson Garfinkel
Softcover Edition, January 2001
ISBN 0-596-00105-3, 336 pages, $16.95