Notable Privacy and Security Books in 2014

By Daniel J. Solove

Posted on January 20, 2015


There were quite a number of books published about privacy and security issues last year, and I would like to highlight a few notable ones. A few books came out in late 2014 and have an early 2015 publication date. I’m including them here. The books are in no particular order.

Image: Hate Crimes in CyberspaceDanielle Citron, Hate Crimes in Cyberspace (2014)

In this is a bold and provocative book, Citron presents vivid accounts about online harassment. The stories she relates involve comments and behavior so vile and mean that her book could readily be an anthology of horror stories. But this book is a lot more than stories, for Citron examines why certain types of law are ill-suited to address the problem. She makes a powerful and creative argument for how civil rights law can be used to combat the problem, and her blueprint for a solution is practical and sound. Citron also thoughtfully examines the free speech implications of her approach. This is a great book and one that policymakers should pay attention to.

Click here for my interview with Danielle about her book.

J.C. Cannon, Privacy in Technology: Standards and Practices for Engineers and Security and IT Professionals (2014)

This is a clear and concise guide for technologists to understand privacy and implement it into IT and design. Cannon discusses issues in a concrete way, with examples and specific details. He effectively translates the often vague language of privacy into ways that IT professionals can understand and implement.

Image: The Black Box SocietyFrank Pasquale, The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms that Control Money and Information (2015)

From my book jacket blurb: “An exhilarating read, brimming with passion. Pasquale’s bold and ambitious book lifts the lid on the ‘black box society’ by tackling a wide array of issues, from secrecy in finance to credit scoring, from search engines to automated decision-making, from institutional transparency to the relationship between government and big corporations. Writing with urgency and utter conviction, he paints a compelling—and devastating—picture of the world that we are building.”

Image: Intellectual PrivacyNeil Richards, Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age (2015)

My book jacket blurb: “Intellectual Privacy is a profound and compelling account of how privacy is essential to freedom to speak, write, read, think, create, and explore new ideas. Neil Richards demonstrates how surveillance by the government and companies threaten those core values at the foundation of any democratic society. With great thoughtfulness and engaging writing, Intellectual Privacy is lively and accessible, yet rigorous and powerful. This is one of the most important books about freedom of speech and ideas ever written.”

Image: The Practical GuideRebecca Herold and Kevin Beaver, The Practical Guide to HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance (2nd edition, 2014)

This is a terrific guide to HIPAA. Unlike many other resources on HIPAA, which discuss the law rather abstractly, The Practical Guide situates HIPAA in practice and discuss a lot more than HIPAA’s dictates. They show how to implement HIPAA and build an effective compliance program. The book provides concrete examples, tips, checklists, and many other useful material. This is a very thorough and useful guide, and it is written in an accessible and clear manner. This is a book that everyone involved in HIPAA compliance can learn a lot from.

Image: Thr Privacy Engineer;s ManifestoMichelle Finneran Dennedy, Jonathan Fox, and Thomas R. Finneran, The Privacy Engineer's Manifesto (2014)

I’ve read a lot of practical “how to” stuff about privacy before that’s vague and not very specific, but this book is so refreshingly detailed, has great depth, and is concrete. It’s a real achievement, and a book that deserves attention. The book has concrete examples and applications of its approach, and it is immensely useful in thinking about how privacy concepts can be translated into practice. The passion of the authors really comes through. The authors’ love of privacy and technology is genuine, and the book is lively and engaging.

Click here for my full review of the book.

Image: No Place to HideGlenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (2014)

For those of us who followed intently as the saga of Edward Snowden and the NSA played out in 2013, this book is still valuable because it pulls together all the information and serves as a useful chronicle. The book is written in an advocacy style; I prefer a more detached journalistic style. The book is strongest when discussing specific details.

Image: The First Amendment BubbleAmy Gajda, The First Amendment Bubble: How Privacy and Paparazzi Threaten a Free Press (2015)

This is a thoughtful account of how to balance privacy and freedom of the press. Much has been written on this topic, but Gajda’s book tackles contemporary dimensions of the issues, such as who counts as a “journalist” in these days of blogs and social media. Her positions are balanced rather than extreme. I agree with some of her claims and disagree with others, but at all times the book is intelligent and erudite. Gajda discusses some very interesting cases, and the book is quite engaging.

Image: It's Complicateddanah boyd, It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (2014)

danah boyd brings us into the minds of teenagers using social media. She is a great listener and an astute observer. Her observations are sophisticated and rich with insight. This book is the culmination of her many years of research and interviews, of a passion to understand teenage thought and behavior. She is an anthropologist of the digital teen. Her book should be read by every parent with teenage children. The book manages to be very accessible yet very scholarly too.

Image: Dragnet NationJulia Angwin, Dragnet Nation (2014)

Angwin’s book is a very accessible and engaging account about the collection and use of personal data. She has a knack for finding ways to describe privacy, surveillance, online tracking, and other issues in vivid and relatable ways. These issues can be abstract and challenging, but Angwin is great at creating compelling stories and making the issues come alive.

Daniel J. Solove is the John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School, the founder of TeachPrivacy, a privacy/data security training company, and a Senior Policy Advisor at Hogan Lovells. He is a Reporter on the American Law Institute’s Restatement Third, Information Privacy Principles. He is the author of 10 books including Understanding Privacy and more than 50 articles. Follow Professor Solove on Twitter @DanielSolove.

The preceding is republished on TAP with permission by its author, Professor Daniel Solove. “Notable Privacy and Security Books in 2014” was originally published January 13, 2015 on Professor Solove’s LinkedIn Commentary page. Professor Solove is among LinkedIn’s 150 top influential thought leaders.



About the Author

  • Daniel J. Solove
  • George Washington University
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