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Here are some notable books on privacy and security from 2021. To see a more comprehensive list of nonfiction works about privacy and security for all years, Professor Paul Schwartz and I maintain a resource page on Nonfiction Privacy + Security Books.

Privacy: General

Ari Ezra Waldman, Industry Unbound: The Inside Story of Privacy, Data, and Corporate Power

From Daniel Solove: “Ari Waldman peels back the curtain on internal privacy practices at the most powerful tech companies to reveal an alarming trend: Despite robust privacy programs, teams of employees devoted to protecting privacy, and significant laws and regulations requiring many internal measures to safeguard privacy, the reality on the ground is that these things are often failing. Waldman provocatively contends that corporate power turns compliance with even robust privacy laws into an often hollow exercise. As legislatures rush to pass privacy laws, Industry Unbound is a wakeup call that these efforts will not end the nightmare. This eye-opening and unsettling book is also constructive, as it offers productive recommendations for a new direction in privacy law. Lively, alarming, and insightful, Industry Unbound deftly unites theory, practice, and law. It is essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of privacy.”

Click here to read my interview with Ari Waldman about his book.


Neil Richards, Why Privacy Matters

From Daniel Solove: “Neil Richards argues powerfully and eloquently about the importance of privacy in our lives and society. Insightful and nuanced, but also very accessible and clear, Why Privacy Matters is essential reading for anyone concerned about individual identity and freedom in a world where digital technologies are spinning out of control.”

Click here to read my interview with Neil Richards about his book.

Joseph Turow, The Voice Catchers: How Marketers Listen In to Exploit Your Feelings, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet

From Danielle Citron, University of Virginia Law: “A ground-breaking exploration of the new frontier of surveillance – the voice. With clarity and nuance, Joseph Turow reveals the stakes for democracies and liberty.”

From Woodrow Hartzog, Northeastern University Law: “The Voice Catchers is compelling, thoroughly researched, and filled with jaw-dropping revelations. It gives readers a fascinating peek under the hood of the companies exploiting our voices, as well as reasons to hold them accountable.”

Oscar H. Gandy Jr., The Panoptic Sort: A Political Economy Of Personal Information

From David Lyon, Queen’s University: “Surveillance capitalism may have been birthed by Google but its gestation began towards the end of the twentieth century. This welcome reissue and update of Oscar Gandy’s signal classic, The Panoptic Sort, comes with a luminous afterword, connecting digital discrimination in the ‘dot-coms’ with the exploitative activities of today’s platforms. Their inequitable global challenge is unflinchingly explained along with hints of hope for a fairer future.”

From Daniel Solove: “It is amazing how much of today’s discussion about privacy is captured in Gandy’s book. Gandy makes people who are early to the party feel like they have arrived way too late. The book could have been written today rather than nearly three decades ago.”

Click here to read my interview with Oscar Gandy about his book.

David Grant, Privacy in the Age of Neuroscience

From David Dixon, author of Law in Policing and From Prohibition to Regulation: “David Grant’s latest book is interdisciplinary work of the best kind, sweeping across the usual boundaries. He gives us a fresh, ambitious and potentially highly significant new concept of privacy in which neurotechnology is seen as a potential benefit rather than inevitably a threat. The promise of a new approach built around respect and responsibility is particularly attractive and timely.”

Jaap-Henk Hoepman, Privacy Is Hard and Seven Other Myths: Achieving Privacy through Careful Design

From Marleen Stikker, Founder and Director, The Waag Society media lab: “Jaap-Henk Hoepman shows that privacy was wrongly declared dead. He offers the practical tools to guarantee privacy in the design process.”

From Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director, Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center: “By debunking some of the most pervasive myths about the alleged challenge of privacy protection, Hoepman empowers readers and encourages them to see solutions instead of obstacles.”

Estee Beck & Les Hutchinson Campos, Privacy Matters: Conversations about Surveillance within and beyond the Classroom

From the book description: “This collection offers practical analyses of surveillance and privacy as they occur within classrooms and communities. Organized by themes—surveillance and classrooms, surveillance and bodies, surveillance and culture—Privacy Matters provides writing, rhetoric, and communication scholars and teachers with specific approaches, methods, inquiries, and examinations into the impact tracking and monitoring has upon people’s habits, bodies, and lived experiences.”

Matthew Crain, Profit over Privacy: How Surveillance Advertising Conquered the Internet

From Frank Pasquale, author of New Laws of Robotics: Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI: “In this exceptionally insightful and important book, Matthew Crain presents a definitive history of the evisceration of internet privacy. Rooted in a deep understanding of the history of advertising markets and the political economy of finance, Profit over Privacy focuses readers’ attention on the fundamental forces demanding ever more data about our lives. Although it tells a dark story, its accessible and lively prose makes it a pleasure to read—and provides the historical knowledge necessary to help future regulators avoid the many mistakes of the past.”

Joshua A. T. Fairfield, Runaway Technology: Can Law Keep Up?

From Woodrow Hartzog, Northeastern University Law: “Professor Fairfield has given us a critically important and engaging book. It is urgent, yet has timeless wisdom. It is erudite, but also highly accessible. It is consequential yet still laced with commendable levity. Runaway Technology is a must-read not just because of its insight into whether the law can keep up with modern technology, but because of its perspective on the law itself as a tool for human flourishing.”

Lucy E. Thompson, Gender, Surveillance, and Literature in the Romantic Period: 1780–1830

From the book description: “The book combines the insights of modern Surveillance Studies with Romantic scholarship. It provides readers with a new context in which to understand Romantic-period texts and looks critically at emerging paradigms of surveillance directed at marginal groups, as well as resistance to such monitoring. Works by writers such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Smith, and Joanna Baillie, as well as Lord Byron and Thomas De Quincey give a new perspective on the age that produced the Panopticon.”


Larry Frohman, The Politics of Personal Information: Surveillance, Privacy, and Power in West Germany

From Kenneth Ledford, Case Western Reserve University: “This book unites disparate episodes in West German history into a careful and illuminating exploration of Germans’ attitudes toward the privacy of their own personal data, the changing implications for those attitudes as technological capacity expands, and the very conception of governmentality as the state inescapably can see more and more into the intimate lives of its citizens.”

Privacy is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data

From Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet: “A forceful call for us to tame the data economy by reclaiming our privacy…and our power.”

From Evan Selinger, Professor of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology and co-author of The Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Privacy: “In this bold, original, and engaging book, Carissa Véliz makes a compelling case for the revolutionary goal of reclaiming privacy from the grip of a destructive data economy. While many have lamented the ills of surveillance capitalism, Véliz’s courageous manifesto paves a clear path for regaining power–taking back our ill-gotten information from tech companies and data brokers and reinvigorating democracy in the process.”


Privacy: AI

Kate Crawford, Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence

From The New Yorker: “This study argues that [artificial intelligence] is neither artificial nor particularly intelligent. . . . A fascinating history of the data on which machine-learning systems are trained.”

From Joseph Turow, author of The Voice Catchers: “An insightful excursion into the processes, implications and ethics of data creation and manipulation in the 21st century. Ranging across terrains as diverse as mineral mines, server farms, distribution warehouses, and AI startups, Crawford shows vividly how our systems have grown to be ‘dangerous when they fail and harmful when they work.”

From David A. Shaywitz, Wall Street Journal: “Crawford argues passionately that while AI is presented as disembodied, objective and inevitable, it is material, biased and subject to our own outlooks and ideologies.”

Erik J. Larson, The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why Computers Can’t Think the Way We Do

From the Wall Street Journal: “Larson worries that we’re making two mistakes at once, defining human intelligence down while overestimating what AI is likely to achieve…Another concern is learned passivity: our tendency to assume that AI will solve problems and our failure, as a result, to cultivate human ingenuity.”


Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, & Daniel Huttenlocher, The Age of AI: And Our Human Future

From the book description: “Three of the world’s most accomplished and deep thinkers come together to explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the way it is transforming human society—and what this technology means for us all. An AI learned to win chess by making moves human grand masters had never conceived. Another AI discovered a new antibiotic by analyzing molecular properties human scientists did not understand. Now, AI-powered jets are defeating experienced human pilots in simulated dogfights. AI is coming online in searching, streaming, medicine, education, and many other fields and, in so doing, transforming how humans are experiencing reality.”

Jon Fasman, We See It All: Liberty and Justice in an Age of Perpetual Surveillance

From Phillip Atiba Goff, Professor of African American studies and Psychology at Yale University: “If you want to understand the stakes and the landscape of surveillance in your life—yes, yours right now—We See It All is an outstanding place to start. Fasman walks his readers through a meticulously balanced review of how police, corporations, local businesses, governments, and ordinary people conspire to exchange real privacy for the feeling of safety. An evocative storyteller, Fasman lays out his case that, because government regulation lags impossibly behind technological advances, the only salve for our predicament is collective awareness. And collective action. The writing is sober and sobering. And, though the recent fires of Minneapolis, Atlanta, Portland, and the nation have not centered squarely on surveillance, Fasman argues convincingly that the next ones very well might.”

Geoffrey Cain, The Perfect Police State: An Undercover Odyssey into China’s Terrifying Surveillance Dystopia of the Future

From Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea: “The future has arrived and it is beyond anything George Orwell could have imagined. In this important new book, Cain details exactly how the Chinese Communist Party deployed 21st century technology—facial recognition, DNA tracking, artificial intelligence—to trap millions of its own citizens in a terrifying dystopia.”

Privacy: Health

Jacqueline Kimmell, The Privacy Prescription: Why Health Data Privacy Is in Critical Condition and How to Fix It

From Anna Daccache, Data Science Fellow at CMS and Author of House Call: “Kimmell beautifully breaks down how digital health must walk the fine line between risking health privacy and leveraging data for good. The Privacy Prescription paints an intriguing, albeit concerning, picture about the ramifications of personal health data collection.”


Neil Daswani & Moudy Elbayadi, Big Breaches: Cybersecurity Lessons for Everyone

From Mazen Rawashdeh, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, eBay: “Big Breaches is a ‘must have’ not only for CISOs and Cyber Security professionals, but it is a valuable reference for technology & business leaders seeking to proactively protect their businesses from cyber attacks.”

Cybersecurity Casebooks and Treatises

Derek Bambauer, Justin Hurwitz, David Thaw, & Charlotte Tschider, Cybersecurity: An Interdisciplinary Problem

From the book description: “Cybersecurity: An Interdisciplinary Problem offers a comprehensive introduction to the challenges of cybersecurity from legal, business, economic, and technical perspectives. This textbook provides an interdisciplinary introduction to each of these fields that is at once accessible to students and teachers from each but sophisticated enough to be useful to those from any of them. Cybersecurity: An Interdisciplinary Problem provides essential information to future practitioners in legal, technical, and business fields to lead in this exciting, rapidly developing area.”

James Dempsey, Cybersecurity Law Fundamentals

From the book description: “The purpose of Cybersecurity Law Fundamentals is to give a coherent summary of this incoherent body of law. The book is both a primer and a reference volume It serves the cybersecurity practitioner looking for a quick refresher or a citation, but also guides generalists and newcomers to the field: the general counsel who needs a basic understanding of the regulatory requirements and legal risk that a company faces; the policymaker interested in understanding the gaps in the law and filling them; the attorney seeking a career transition to a rapidly growing practice area.”

Michael S. Mireles & Jack L. Hobaugh Jr, Cybersecurity Law: An Evolving Field

From the book description: “Cybersecurity Law: An Evolving Field is a casebook that covers the duties of a cybersecurity professional, state and federal regulation, risk assessment and the NIST Risk Assessment Frameworks, common law and statutory causes of action concerning data breach, laws related to anti-hacking, problems concerning the Internet of Things and selected international issues. This text is for law students and counsel who want to understand the connections between cybersecurity laws and cybersecurity requirements, and advise clients concerning cybersecurity related issues. In part, it seeks to bridge the communication gap between the legal department and the cybersecurity team.”


Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun: A Novel

From The Financial Times: “A deft dystopian fable about the innocence of a robot that asks big questions about existence.”

From The Los Angeles Times:  “Moving and beautiful… an unequivocal return to form, a meditation in the subtlest shades on the subject of whether our species will be able to live with everything it has created… [A] feverish read, [a] one-sitter…  Few writers who’ve ever lived have been able to create moods of transience, loss and existential self-doubt as Ishiguro has — not art about the feelings, but the feelings themselves.”

George Orwell (illustrated by Fido Nesti), 1984: The Graphic Novel

From the book description: “With evocative, immersive art from Fido Nesti, this vision of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece provides a new perspective for longtime fans but is also an accessible entry point for young readers and adults who have yet to discover the iconic story that is still so relevant today.”


Sherry Turkle, The Empathy Diaries: A Memoir

From Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, surgeon general of the United States, author of Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World: “Since digital culture became part of our intimate lives, Sherry Turkle has helped us understand our complex, evolving dance with technology, using the power of data and analy- sis. Now, with raw and refreshing authenticity, she shares her personal journey, which serves as a powerful and poignant reminder that it is in our relationships with one another—not technology—that we find our most important source of meaning and healing.”


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