Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth/I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy/Privacy

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth/I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy/Privacy

Article excerpt

The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth Joseph Turow. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011. 234. pp. $28.00

I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy Lori Andrews. New York: Free Press, 2011. 253 pp. $26.00

Privacy Garret Keizer. New York: Picador, 2012. 194 pp. $15.00

Privacy is the bulwark of any free society. It seems like such a simple concept- letting people decide what information about themselves they want to make public-but what does it really entail? Today's political and commercial world is about collecting information about people. Every keystroke from tweets, every keystroke biometric measuring keyboarding pattern, every student accessing pages in online textbooks, is being recorded and logged for data retrieval for potential buyers. There are seemingly endless electronically linked storage sites that collect data on what information we search, what movies we prefer, where we like to vacation, what books we read, and the list goes on. Our society is developing a resigned acceptance of being under surveillance-both visual and audio-from any governmental authority, shopkeeper, or casual cell phone photographer. Coupled with that is a growing concern among some that we are losing the valued right to keep some information about ourselves confidential and to have control over how any personal information is used and distributed. The privacy issue is not new; it has been a topic in the courts for centuries. The difference today is the magnitude of the possibilities for invading a person's privacy and the range of uses, both positive and negative, for which that data is being used.

Turow, Andrews, and Keizer have each taken an aspect of the complex world of privacy and shown the reader a web of positives and negatives that exist when the topic is closely examined. Turow's The Daily You takes the reader through a very detailed analysis of the world of advertising and how individual companies gather, package, and market information about you to any person or company willing to pay for that valued material. He covers the many clever ways data is collected as persons query Internet sites, tweet, and "like" items. Then he delves into the way consumer-centric insight is bought, sold, and used to the best marketing advantage to promote sales and attract people to particular websites and product lines. This may be viewed with both positive and negative eyes. On the positive, the more precise the data collected on users, the more likely they will have information that interests them displayed the next time they access the Internet. If they enjoy sports, for example, the content they see will more likely contain advertisements for sports events and equipment. On the negative, the data analyzers and artificial intelligent programs are screening the choices that will be displayed, causing a silo effect and censorship for the user. They will only view content and possibly only get special rewards coupons and deals that correspond to their current thinking and interests. This preselected display is based on what they have viewed, purchased, or searched for in the past. Tracking and targeting users is part of our digital landscape. Whether the information is collected and used only by a particular website, or the data is collected and brokered, the user must actively request that the information not be collected and used, a request that is not always honored. From a cultural viewpoint, Turow also points out the potential for creating privileged users, those who have a wide social following and allow their information to be packaged, foregoing privacy for perks. Their potential for passing information to a wide audience is valued. Those who have small social networks and want to protect their privacy are tagged as "waste" and leftout of promotional deals in marketing plans, creating an underclass of users. He provides detailed information on specific companies and how they gather the bits and bytes of our information and buying patterns without giving us compensation for that data or easy options to keep that personal information from being made public. …

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