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Prying Eyes

This book was on the new shelf at the library. When I read that the author had worked for some sort of data security agency, I thought “Oh no, now he’ll try to make us afriad so he can sell us something...” but it wasn’t like that at all. This book is a very thorough guide to privacy for lay people. It covers all sorts of privacy from how to stop unwanted telephone calls to how the USA PATRIOT Act changes traditional ideas of what is and is not safe from government intrusion.

Gertler fills the book with scary anecdotes that illustrate just how badly things can go wrong for people who are sloppy with their personal information, or who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, his general tone is not eye rolling. His perspective is that there are many simple things people can do -- outlined in bullet points at the end of each chapter -- that will do a lot towards making you more secure from data theft and misuse. He explains what identity theft is, and what you can do to prevent it. He also discusses more practical matters like getting access to your credit reports and current legislation that affects what businesses can and can’t do with your personally identifying information. This book is a great toolkit for someone who is concerned about the secureity of their personal data, but also just hobbyists who want a snapshot of the current legal status of the safety of informaiton.