In this forceful short book, technology guru and author of the best-selling Social Media is Bullshit (St. Martins Press) Brandon Mendelson exposes the crude reality behind the smiley face of internet networking: data trading. We are all auctioning our personal information, the book argues, to the highest bidder. Mendelson discusses the end of privacy from a contemporary perspective, including chapters on: Metadata and its uses Data auctions The Internet of Things The use of social media for surveillance and suppression Just how safe is Cloud technology The Big Business of Big Data How online retailers stalk, without permission, their customers Anonymous and web activism The internet's dark side: Silk Road, hacking, extortion EFF and other bodies promoting internet user rights When we talk about the so-called 'end of privacy', we conjure up images of state-run agencies secretly monitoring and recording our every move. Whilst this is the case, the true perpetrator in this permeating culture of intrusion is not a third party; its our very selves. We willingly broadcast every moment of our lives in exchange for a moment's worth of virtual attention. Mendelson, artfully and through personal narratives and journalism, tells the story of how we have undermined one of our greatest societal assets.
In this collection of essays first published between 2015 and 2017, Mendelson (Social Media Is Bullshit) provides a casual introduction to the challenge of maintaining privacy in the digital age. He holds forth in what he terms “an intentionally exaggerated and aggressive” writing style chosen “to educate and entertain.” The book both outlines individual actions readers can take—subscribing to a credit monitoring service, updating passwords regularly—and briefly mentions systemic changes that could protect privacy: he calls for individuals to be paid license fees in exchange for their data being used to develop products and marketing strategies, and suggests that concerned citizens focus on local and state regulations, rather than relying on the federal government to protect consumers. For readers who haven’t engaged with the issue before and aren’t aware of how their online data is being used by private companies for profit, Mendelson’s book will be an eye-opener. (BookLife)