Privacy Is Power Book Summary - Privacy Is Power Book explained in key points
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Privacy Is Power summary

Carissa Véliz

Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data

4.5 (222 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

'Privacy is Power' by Carissa Véliz explores how our personal data is being collected and used without our knowledge, and provides practical steps to regain control over our privacy.

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    Privacy Is Power
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    You’re being watched everywhere you go, at every moment of the day.

    You’re probably already aware that you’re being spied on. Maybe you’ve talked about something very specific one day – say, a green sponge – and then were served an advertisement for a green sponge shortly after.

    Or, perhaps you’ve heard a story about Amazon’s Alexa recording people’s private conversations and sending them to random people on their contact list.

    These are a couple of the visible symptoms of corporate surveillance, and they’re unsettling enough. But are you aware of how deep the privacy violations go? Let’s find out by walking through a normal day under surveillance capitalism.

    The key message here is: You’re being watched everywhere you go, at every moment of the day.

    What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? You check your phone, right?

    The moment you turn on your phone, you notify a host of institutions, including your phone’s manufacturer, your service provider, and all the companies whose apps you’ve downloaded, that you’re now awake. They also know where you woke up, and who you woke up next to.

    If you were wearing a smartwatch during the night, you were actually being monitored even before you woke up. Your watch was keeping track of your movements and heart rate while you slept, as well as any sexual activity you might have had.

    Let’s say that, after you get up, you like to eat breakfast in front of the TV. If you have a smart TV, then it’s collecting data on your watching habits, and passing it along to the manufacturer and other interested third parties. Researchers found that one Samsung TV had communicated with over 700 internet addresses after being switched on for only 15 minutes.

    And it’s not just your TV. Pretty much anything that connects to the internet is collecting data on you. Your games console, your e-book, and even your smart teakettle are all double agents in your own home.

    After your morning routine is complete, you get in your car to go to work. On the way – no surprises here – your car is busy gathering data. It’s keeping track of everything from the places you visit, to your weight, to your eye movements, and even the kind of music you like to listen to.

    Once you arrive at work, you log on to your computer and check your emails. You might not think twice about opening an email, but did you know that about 40 percent of them contain trackers? By opening the email, you allow third parties to identify you and track your activity across the internet.

    Ubiquitous surveillance has become a fact of twenty-first-century life. It’s nearly – but not entirely – impossible to avoid.

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    What is Privacy Is Power about?

    Privacy is Power (2020) is a shocking exposé of the inner workings of surveillance capitalism. It reveals how, every day, hundreds of interested parties are violating your privacy and capitalizing on your personal data. Corporations, governments, and criminals alike are all busy collecting and exploiting your data in an effort to influence the way you think and behave. In these blinks, you’ll learn why your privacy is so important and what you can do to protect it.

    Privacy Is Power Review

    Privacy Is Power (2020) explores the importance of privacy in the digital age and why we should protect it. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers a comprehensive examination of the issue, highlighting the consequences of data breaches and surveillance in a thought-provoking manner.
    • Provides practical solutions for individuals to safeguard their privacy and regain control over their personal information.
    • Raises ethical questions about the impact of mass surveillance and data exploitation, inviting readers to reflect on the power dynamics at play in our interconnected world.

    Who should read Privacy Is Power?

    • Those perturbed by governments and corporations snooping on our private lives
    • People untroubled by digital surveillance because they believe they have nothing to hide
    • Anyone looking for actionable ways to protect their privacy now

    About the Author

    Philosopher Carissa Véliz is an associate professor at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford. Her research interests lie in the areas of privacy, technology, political philosophy, and public policy. She’s been published in numerous major publications, including the Guardian and the New York Times, and she’s also the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Digital Ethics.

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    Privacy Is Power FAQs 

    What is the main message of Privacy Is Power?

    The main message of Privacy Is Power is that privacy is a fundamental human right that we should protect.

    How long does it take to read Privacy Is Power?

    The reading time for Privacy Is Power varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Privacy Is Power a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Privacy Is Power is an essential read for anyone concerned about their privacy and the impact of surveillance. It provides valuable insights and practical advice.

    Who is the author of Privacy Is Power?

    Carissa Véliz is the author of Privacy Is Power.

    What to read after Privacy Is Power?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Privacy Is Power, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
    • Zero Sugar / One Month by Becky Gillaspy
    • Zucked by Roger McNamee
    • Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
    • The WikiLeaks Files by Julian Assange (introduction)
    • Languishing by Corey Keyes
    • Life After Google by George Gilder
    • The AI Economy by Roger Bootle
    • Hello Sleep by Jade Wu