Review: Cyber Privacy: Who Has Your Data and Why You Should Care

Cyber Privacy: Who Has Your Data and Why You Should Care by April Falcon Doss

We spend our days surfing the internet, playing online games, interacting with our friends on social media. Most of us don't give nearly enough thought to how much information about ourselves we leave in the digital world each time we do these things. April Falcon Doss is here to tell you that it's a lot, and the ways its being used may surprise you.

Cyber Privacy will give you a lot to think about. Though full of technical information, its pretty accessible. Doss covers a wide range of privacy issues, with plenty of real world examples.

As a lawyer who spent over a dozen years working with the NSA to help craft their data handling procedures to limit privacy concerns for citizens, Doss is much more concerned about corporate data practices than she is about those of the US Government. The amount of data collected about each of us by Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and many "data brokers" whose names are much less familiar is quite large, and almost wholly unregulated.

Beyond the discussions of concerns we all should have about corporate data practices, Doss also discusses US, European, Russian and Chinese approaches to the privacy of their own citizens. Her comparison of US governmental rules and regulations against those in the European Union (EU) was pretty eye opening. Many of us may be familiar with the notion that European privacy rules are stronger than those in the US, but what I did not realize is that the EU, as a rulemaking body, has no jurisdiction over it's member states national security, intelligence or policing. This means that the EU's strong privacy protection rules do not apply to European governments, leaving their citizens less protected from governmental data snooping than US citizens.

Russia and China are in a completely different league than the US and EU. Governments in both countries have crafted policies to limit online access and are more concerned with controlling their populations than protecting their citizens' privacy.

Overall, Doss does a great job of laying out the problems, but the book is short on solutions. Doss admits as much at the end of the book. She does offer a framework for governments to think about legislating for privacy protections, but she really offers no solutions for what we as individuals can do.

So, in short, this book is well worth the read to understand the privacy issues facing all of us in the digital world, but don't expect much in the way of tips to protect yourself online. Given that caveat, I rate Cyber Privacy four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I learned quite a bit from reading this book and I recommend it to anyone looking to better understand the issue of privacy online.

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