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Here are some notable books on privacy and security from 2023. 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.

Ignacio Cofone, The Privacy Fallacy, Harm and Power in the Information Economy

From Jack Balkin, Yale Law School:, “To protect privacy in the digital age, Ignacio Cofone argues, we must rethink privacy harms. These harms are social and systemic as well as individual, and they will not be remedied by market and contractual approaches. This beautifully written book is an excellent introduction to problems of digital exploitation that affect everyone.”

From Woodrow Hartzog, Boston University: “Why are privacy rules failing us when we need them the most? In this superb book, Ignacio Cofone expertly threads together privacy law’s many missteps and proposes a way forward that doesn’t rest on myths and misconceptions. The Privacy Fallacy clearly and effectively stakes out an essential turning point for lawmakers and society: We either commit to holding companies liable for the full range of harms they cause, or we continue to indulge in the fantasy that privacy can be individually negotiated and that our laws have it under control.”

Ari E. Waldman, Advanced Introduction to U.S. Data Privacy Law

From Danielle Keats Citron, University of Virginia School of Law:  “Ari Waldman has written a superb and insightful critique of privacy law, chronicling where it has been, where it is now, and where it needs to go to achieve the kind of privacy all people need to flourish. And, importantly, this book is accessible. Policymakers need to read this. Students and professors will find it illuminating and clear. Anyone interested in privacy will learn from it.”

From Daniel J. Solove, George Washington University Law School: “Professor Waldman provides a superb overview of the complex body of law regulating privacy. He offers a blistering critique of the law for often doing more harm than good. Accessible and succinct, Waldman’s account of privacy law is illuminating and thought-provoking.”

Daniel J. Solove and Paul M. Schwartz, Information Privacy Law 8th Edition

New material in the 8th edition includes more FTC and CJEU cases, reproductive freedom post-Dobbs, and a lot of material on AI and algorithmic decision-making in the chapters on law enforcement (Chapter 4), consumer data (Chapter 9), and employment (Chapter 12). And we updated for new developments in EU law, cross-border-data transfers, standing, dark patterns, platform governance, scraping, state privacy laws, biometric privacy, and much more.

Kashmir Hill, Your Face Belongs to Us: A Secretive Startup’s Quest to End Privacy as We Know It

Watch the replay of my interview with Kashmir Hill here.

From John Carreyrou, author of Bad Blood: “As I read Your Face Belongs to Us, it dawned on me that the dystopian future portrayed in some science-fiction movies is already upon us. Whether you like it or not, your face has already been scraped from the internet, stored in a giant database, and made available to law enforcement agencies, private corporations, and authoritarian governments to track and surveil you. Kashmir Hill’s fascinating book brings home the scary implications of this new reality.”

From Garrett Graff, author of The Only Plane in the Sky: “Kashmir Hill all but invented the tech dystopia beat, and no one is a more exuberant and enjoyable guide to the dark corners of our possible future than she is. Reaching deep into the past to paint a terrifying portrait of our future, Hill’s thorough, awe-inspiring reporting and compelling storytelling paint a fascinating tale of tech’s next chapter. This is the most fun you can have reading a real-life nightmare.”

Scott J. Shapiro, Fancy Bear Goes Phishing: The Dark History of the Information Age, in Five Extraordinary Hacks

From Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times: “Shapiro is funny and unflaggingly fascinated by his subject, luring even the nonspecialist into technical descriptions of coding by teasing out connections between computer programming and, say, the paradox of Achilles and the tortoise . . . A single paragraph moves nimbly from Putin to Descartes to The Matrix . . . Readers [. . .] will find that their expectations have been entertainingly subverted.”

From Richard Lea, The Wall Street Journal: “Gripping . . . Fancy Bear Goes Phishing offers level-headed suggestions to reduce cybercrime, decrease cyber-espionage and mitigate the risks of cyberwar, arguing that we need to move beyond an obsession with technical fixes and focus instead on the outdated and vulnerable upcode that shapes the shoddy downcode we live with now.”

Ifeoma Ajunwa, The Quantified Worker: Law and Technology in the Modern Workplace

Watch the replay of my interview with Ifeoma Ajunwa here. 

From Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction: “Ajunwa’s treatment of worker’s rights – and lack thereof – in the context of corporate surveillance is critical, timely, and profound. It will be an invaluable resource to lawyers trying to understand the comprehensive reach of workplace monitoring and measuring, to data scientists trying to understand the relevant law in their fields, and to anyone else who wants to interrogate the AI marketing hype.”

From Kate Crawford, USC Annenberg, author of Atlas of AI: “The surveillance and quantification of workers is a critical issue of our time. This much-needed book details how these technologies erode labor rights and encode discrimination, and it’s powerful evidence for why we need worker coalitions and strong legal protections.”

Anupam Chander & Haochen Sun, Data Sovereignty: From the Digital Silk Road to the Return of the State

From the book description: “Data Sovereignty: From the Digital Silk Road to the Return of the State focuses on the question of territorial control over data flows and attempts by national and regional governments to place limits on the free movement of data across a global internet. Drawing on theories in political economy, international law, human rights, and data protection, this volume offers new theoretical perspectives and thought-provoking ideas about the nature and scope of data sovereignty. It examines the extent to which new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation, pose challenges to data sovereignty and how those challenges might be addressed. In chapters that are both descriptively comprehensive and analytically rich, the book explains the national, regional, and international legal frameworks for regulating the digital economy.”

Anu Bradford, Digital Empires: The Global Battle to Regulate Technology

Watch the replay of my interview with Anu Bradford here. 

From Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate 2001 in Economics: Anu Bradford’s Digital Empires is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand the regulatory choices confronting governments that seek to reign in big tech. The US, China and Europe have chosen different paths, and Bradford carefully breaks down the legal and political contexts of each. Bradford’s voice is clear and reasonable and this book is a tour de force.”

From Jack Goldsmith, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard Law School: “This is the definitive account of the fierce and hugely important fight within and among “digital empires” – the United States, China, and the European Union – over the shape of our digital lives. Among its important conclusions are that the European rights-driven regulatory model, rather than the American market-driven model, is best poised to unite the democratic west and challenge China’s growing control in the digital realm.”

Valerie Lyons and Todd Fitzgerald, The Privacy Leader Compass: A Comprehensive Business-Oriented Roadmap for Building and Leading Practical Privacy Programs

From the book description: “Seasoned award-winning Privacy and Cybersecurity leaders Dr. Valerie Lyons (Dublin, Ireland) and Todd Fitzgerald (Chicago, IL USA) have teamed up with over 60 award-winning CPOs, DPOs, highly respected privacy/data protection leaders, data protection authorities, and privacy standard setters who have fought the tough battle…The Privacy Leader Compass is about straight talk – delivering a comprehensive privacy roadmap applied to, and organized by, a time-tested organizational effectiveness model (the McKinsey 7-S Framework) with practical, insightful stories and lessons learned.”

I have a small 2-page essay in this book.


Alice E. Marwick, The Private Is Political: Networked Privacy and Social Media

From Daniel Solove: “The Private Is Political is an insightful and provocative book about privacy and marginalized individuals. In a vivid, theoretical, and practical way, this excellent book examines the power dynamics at play with privacy and modern technologies.”

From D. Bantz, Choice: “The analyses and arguments are well researched, documented, and above all cogently and convincingly presented. This work will be a point of reference for all subsequent scholarly, journalistic, and political discussions of privacy and the dangers inappropriately mined and shared personal information pose. . . . It should be in every library collection.”

Gaia Bernstein, Unwired: Gaining Control over Addictive Technologies

From Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law at Boston University and author of Privacy’s Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies: “Unwired is a compelling, accessible, and vital intervention into the overuse of technology. Instead of offering overly simplistic self-help strategies that are doomed to fail, Professor Bernstein rightly targets the manipulative design of technologies and the need for us to work together to hold the tech industry accountable. This book vividly blends personal stories with the latest research and lessons from history to paint a clear picture of our struggle with screens and what it’s going to take to improve things. Everyone should read this book.”

From Brett Frischmann, The Charles Widger Endowed University Professor in Law, Business and Economics, Villanova University School of Law: “Inviting and intelligent, Gaia Bernstein’s extraordinary book masterfully combines honest personal reflections about her experiences with the creep of digital tech together with a sobering academic account of our collective public struggles to deal with technologies designed to addict, manipulate, and even control our behavior. Throughout, Bernstein maintains a can-do attitude that inspires change.”

Gianclaudio Malgieri, Vulnerability and Data Protection Law

From the book description: “Vulnerability has traditionally been viewed through the lens of specific groups of people, such as ethnic minorities, children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. With the rise of digital media, our perceptions of vulnerable groups and individuals have been reshaped as new vulnerabilities and different vulnerable sub-groups of users, consumers, citizens, and data subjects emerge. Vulnerability and Data Protection Law not only depicts these problems but offers the reader a detailed investigation of the concept of data subjects and a reconceptualization of the notion of vulnerability within the General Data Protection Regulation. The regulation offers a forward-facing set of tools that-though largely underexplored-are essential in rebalancing power asymmetries and mitigating induced vulnerabilities in the age of artificial intelligence…A heuristic analysis that re-interprets the whole GDPR, this work is essential for both scholars of data protection law and for policymakers looking to strengthen regulations and protect the data of vulnerable individuals.”

Mark MacCarthy, Regulating Digital Industries: How Public Oversight Can Encourage Competition, Protect Privacy and Ensure Free Speech

From Senator Michael Bennet: “Few people have thought as deeply about how to effectively regulate digital technologies as Professor MacCarthy. This timely book is an urgent and well-argued reminder that we do not have to accept a status quo where a few wildly powerful tech companies continue to operate with virtually no regulation — hurting competition, undermining democracy, and addicting a generation of America’s kids. Professor MacCarthy sheds light on the 40-year campaign to discredit government regulation, which has left the American people unprotected against the coming wave of digital disruption — from machine-learning algorithms to generative artificial intelligence. His book is an urgent call to learn from our history and empower an expert regulator for the tech sector, no different than how we oversaw the railroad, aviation, or broadcast television sectors in past eras. For the sake of our children and democracy, we would do well to answer Professor MacCarthy’s call.”

From Peter Swire, Liang Chair of Cybersecurity and Policy, Georgia Tech: “It took Progressive-era reforms to tame the Gilded Age. Professor MacCarthy, a skilled Washington insider as well as an accomplished scholar, explains how to re-invent both competition and privacy protection to tame today’s second Gilded Age.”

Hideyuki Matsumi et al. (Editors), Data Protection and Privacy in Transitional Times

From the book description: “This book offers conceptual analyses, highlights issues, proposes solutions, and discusses practices regarding privacy and data protection in transitional times. It is one of the results of the 15th annual International Conference on Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP), which was held in Brussels in May 2022…The book covers a range of topics, including: data protection risks in European retail banks; data protection, privacy legislation, and litigation in China; synthetic data generation as a privacy-preserving technique for the training of machine learning models; effectiveness of privacy consent dialogues; legal analysis of the role of individuals in data protection law; and the role of data subject rights in the platform economy.

This interdisciplinary book has been written at a time when the scale and impact of data processing on society – on individuals as well as on social systems – is becoming ever more important. It discusses open issues as well as daring and prospective approaches and is an insightful resource for readers with an interest in computers, privacy and data protection.”

Joy Buolamwini, Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines

From Maria Ressa, Nobel Peace Prize winner, CEO and president of Rappler: “This revelatory book exposes the myriad, deeply ingrained biases encoded into facial recognition and other ‘trusted’ AI systems, pushing us to confront our blind trust in the machines that are taking over our lives. In describing how she conquered her own demons along her path towards justice for all, Dr. Joy Buolamwini offers a deeply felt, stirring call to action for ethical AI—a must-read for those who want a world in which technology serves humanity.”

From Megan Smith, former chief technology officer of the United States, member of the National Academy of Engineering, and CEO of shift7: “Through stories that are both personal and deeply relevant for all of humanity, Dr. Joy Buolamwini brings wit and clarity to the punishing reality of AI bias. Unmasking AI illuminates achievable paths for the world’s future that are far more promising and just than our current trajectories.”

Mustafa Suleyman, The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the 21st Century’s Greatest Dilemma

From Eric Lander, founding director, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard: “Brilliant . . . confronts what may be the most crucial question of our century: How can we ensure that the breathtaking, fast-paced technological revolutions ahead create the world we want?”

From Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian: “An erudite, clear-eyed guide both to the history of radical technological change and to the deep political challenges that lie ahead.”

Jeff Kosseff, Liar in a Crowded Theater: Freedom of Speech in a World of Misinformation

From Caitlin Ring Carlson, Seattle University, author of Hate Speech: “Incredibly well written and imminently readable. By outlining the reasoning against overregulating misinformation and disinformation, Kosseff effectively argues that we can minimize the impact of falsehoods on society while still respecting our tradition of protecting free speech in this country.”

From Daxton R. Stewart, Texas Christian University: “Kosseff uses both historical and recent stories to push back on common misconceptions about misinformation, outline current efforts to ban false speech, and provide the historic background on this topic that crosses centuries of law and tradition in the United States. This book will shape the discussion around the right to lie and what should be done about it.”

Elizabeth M. Renieris, Beyond Data: Reclaiming Human Rights at the Dawn of the Metaverse

From Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law and Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University: “Renieris illuminates profound and urgent privacy challenges that we must confront in a post-digital world and sketches out an intriguing human rights–based solution.”

From Engineering & Technology: “Beyond Data is both a compelling historical review as well as a powerful call to action, with its main strength being the latter. Although the book’s detailed explanation of the events and developments that have brought us to our current situation regarding data legislation is informative and well-explained, it is Renieris’s defence of a new understanding of human rights for a digital world which makes her work a truly compelling work.”

Matteo Pasquinelli, The Eye of the Master: A Social History of Artificial Intelligence

From JJürgen Renn, Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology: “Artificial Intelligence and its impact on society is on everyone’s lips, but how was AI shaped by society in the first place? This amazing account of its emergence, starting with the evolution of labor division and automatization, is a must-read. Pasquinelli’s book not only shows us where we came from but also how we might escape the problematic consequences of this evolution.”

From Sandro Mezzadra, co-author of The Politics of Operations: “We are surrounded by stories about AI threatening jobs, as if it were a power haunting labor from outside and above. The Eye of the Master radically challenges such a view. What Matteo Pasquinelli demonstrates is that labor is at root of the historical development of AI. Tales of expropriation and resistance, automation and struggle crisscross the pages of this passionate book, which is at same time an amazing academic achievement and a political weapon to rethink the politics of AI.”

Paul Gowder, The Networked Leviathan

Katie Harbath, Founder and CEO, Anchor Change: “Platform governance is hard. With The Networked Leviathan, Gowder brings a fresh perspective on how companies can tackle difficult questions around content moderation in a way that engages more people around the world. It’s a must-read for anyone working in tech.”

From Sahar Massachi, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Integrity Institute: “Let’s be honest; academic books tend to be dry, unnecessarily long, and hard to slog through. We’re lucky, but should not be surprised, that Paul Gowder’s book heartily bucks that norm. No one else can weave philosophical theories of governance and virtue, practical technical understanding of platforms, and political science into such a compelling package. Bravo!”

Previous Notable Privacy
and Security Book Lists

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Professor Daniel J. Solove is a law professor at George Washington University Law School. Through his company, TeachPrivacy, he has created the largest library of computer-based privacy and data security training, with more than 150 courses. He is also the co-organizer of the Privacy + Security Forum events for privacy professionals.

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