Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance

Heidi Boghosian, Author, Lewis Lapham, Foreword by
Heidi Boghosian. City Lights, $18.95 trade paper (330p) ISBN 978-0-87286-599-0
Ebook - 180 pages - 978-0-87286-603-4
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In a typical day "your image is caught on surveillance cameras at least 200 times," warns Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, in this well-researched dossier on the pervasive lengths the U.S. government and corporations will go to track citizens' personal habits. Rejecting the notion that the domestic "surveillance net" of technologies such as biometric scanning, drones, and RFID chips keep Americans safer from terrorism, the author argues that such relentless scrutiny makes Americans less free by silencing critics and encouraging complacency with waning expectations of privacy. Timely examples are provided, including one from a Pennsylvania school district which remotely monitored students via cameras on school laptops, as well as a breakdown of the police tactics used during the Occupy movement. These examples are carefully connected to their societal consequences: among the areas directly affected, claims the author, are free speech, attorney-client privileges, investigative journalism, and the ability to protest injustice. Boghosian concludes with a survey of organizations devoted to protecting civil liberties. But real freedom, she stresses, must be defended on the personal level through committed encouragement of dissent. An informative read for parents, students, and activists, especially those interested in the implications of technology in today's society. (Sept.)
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