The Year in Privacy Books 2010

Here’s a list of notable privacy books published in 2010.

Previous lists:

Privacy Books 2009

Privacy Books 2008

This list contains a few books published late in 2009 that I missed on the 2009 list.

Adam D. Moore, Privacy Rights: Moral and Legal Foundations (Penn. St. U. Press 2010)

My blurb: “Privacy Rights is a lucid and compelling examination of the right to privacy.  Adam Moore provides a theoretically rich and trenchant account of how to reconcile privacy with competing interests such as free speech, workplace productivity, and security.”

Cass Sunstein, On Rumors (Farrar , Strauss and Giroux 2009)

A very short essay on the damage wrought by false online rumors and a discussion of how and why such rumors spiral out of control, such as the phenomena of social cascades and group polarization.  The book is worth reading, but quite short for a book (only 88 pages of primary text, in a very tiny book the size of a paperback).

Stewart Baker, Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism (Hoover Institution Press 2010)

A provocative argument for stronger security protections and a vigorous attack on privacy.  The arguments against privacy are often glib and dismissive, but the book is worth reading for Baker’s extensive personal experience dealing with the issues.

Christena Nippert-Eng, Islands of Privacy (U. Chicago 2010)

A fascinating sociological account of people’s attitudes toward privacy and their behaviors with regards to preserving their privacy.  It contains numerous interviews, quoted copiously, of people in their own voices discussing how they conceal their secrets.  Engaging and compelling reading.

Hal Niedzviecki, The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors (City Lights Press 2009)

This book is an extended essay on self-exposure online.  It is filled with many interesting anecdotes.  The book has a journalistic style and raises observations and questions more than it proposes solutions or policies.  The “notes” at the end consist only of a brief bibliography for each chapter, and there are no indications of which facts in the book came from which particular sources — a pet peeve of mine.

Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Doubleday 2010)

An extensive history of the home, which as I’ve explored in some of my own writings, plays an important role in the history of privacy.  Bryson’s narrative reads well, but he only supplies a bibliography at the end — no endnotes or indications of the sources of particular facts and details.  I find this practice to be quite problematic for a work of history.

Shane Harris, The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State (Penguin 2010)

An engaging narrative that chronicles the surveillance and security measures the United States undertook after 9/11.  Filled with interesting facts, the book reads like a story.

Robin D. Barnes, Outrageous Invasions: Celebrites’ Private Lives, Media, and the Law (Oxford 2010)

There are some very interesting parts of this book, but it at times seems like a grab bag of topics relating to celebrities and its central argument could use more development.  Nevertheless, it is worth reading because it discusses some interesting cases and explores comparative legal perspectives on the issues.

David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect (Simon& Schuster 2010)

A fascinating account of the rise of Facebook.  There are times when Kirkpatrick seems too sympathetic to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, but overall, this book is illuminating and engaging.

Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age (Princeton 2009)

An interesting discussion of the “right to be forgotten.”  Some of the ground in this book appears to be already well-trodden, but Mayer-Schonberger’s keen insights on data retention and destruction make it a worthy addition to the literature.

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6 Responses

  1. The link to Privacy Books 2008 leads to a 404 Error Page.

  2. Michael says:

    So much to read, so little time…

  3. Daniel Solove says:

    John — that’s odd. I just tested the link and got the correct page. Don’t know why you’re getting the error.

  4. Bruce Boyden says:

    It seems clear to me that privacy books have the best covers!

    Re: the link, there appears to be an extraneous 2010/archives/ in it. Delete that and it works.

  5. Daniel Solove says:

    Bruce — I’m still not seeing the problem with the link.

    Here’s the link when I select “copy link location” from Windows:

  6. Daniel Solove says:

    I just re-pasted the link into the post and saved again. Hopefully it works this time for some folks.