Review of Schneier’s Data and Goliath

By Jack Goldsmith
Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 11:30 AM

Over at The New Rambler Review – a new online book review site that I highly recommend – I have a piece on Bruce Schneier’s new book, Data and Goliath.  An excerpt that provides a sense of the book:

Data and Goliath is an informed, well-written, accessible, and opinionated critique of “ubiquitous mass surveillance” by governments and corporations – how it happens, its costs, and what to do about it.  …

The first third of Data and Goliath is a terrific tutorial on how firms use big data to data mine. Building on the Snowden documents, Schneier also explains how governments work with these firms in a vast “public-private surveillance partnership” to gather this data for intelligence purposes, and sometimes to steal it from them as well. Schneier’s story about the out-of-control U.S. government is exaggerated. But even those who trust the government and are disinclined to worry about private data mining will pause over the scale of public and private watching that Schneier describes. “We’re all open books to both governments and corporations,” he says.

Schneier nods to the benefits of mass surveillance, but the second and third parts of the book focus almost exclusively on what he sees as its many extreme dangers. …