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Siva on Privacy and ‘the Nonopticon’

Siva Vaidhyanathan has an exceptionally good article about privacy in the current The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"The Nonopticon" is a state of being watched without knowing that you are being watched or at least not knowing the extent to which you are being watched. Reviewing the book Privacy in Peril by sociologist James B. Rule, he says:

Every incentive in a market economy pushes companies to collect more and better data on us. Every incentive in a state bureaucracy encourages extensive surveillance. Only widespread political action can put a stop to it. Small changes, like better privacy policies by companies like Google and Amazon.com, are not going to make much difference in the long run, Rule argues. The challenge is too large and the risks too great.

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