Friends, I’m proud and excited to announce the publication of a new book, Wide Open Privacy: Strategies for the Digital Life (IT-Harvest), which I wrote with my colleague, AVG’s Chief Policy Officer Siobhan MacDermott.
The book, which advises today’s consumers on how to be more proactive in protecting and maintaining control over their digital lives, will be widely available online and at bookstores this September.
Just another book on computers and online safety, right? There is certainly no shortage of how-to guides to Internet ‘safety’ and ‘security’. But these books do more to block us off from the Internet than making the most of it. What we aimed to do with our book was help each and every consumer define the life they want to lead online and then live it on their own terms—fully taking advantage of everything the Internet has to offer while in full control every step of the way.
Our digital lives are no longer just about “computers.” The dividing line between our virtual lives and what we might view as our “real” lives no longer exists. Our on and offline lives bleed into each other until it’s hard to tell which side is informing the other. The right to privacy, therefore, is one that affects our every waking moment, whether we’re connected or not. And as governments and the digital industry fight for control over our privacy, the future of privacy is now.
The majority of technologists, psychologists, media gurus, cultural commentators and the makers of policy and law speak of protecting privacy. By contrast, we focus on strategies to control personal data in ways that fully realize the power of privacy in a digital world. Our book provides an alternative to both government and industry control of online privacy—a “third approach” that puts control of personal data where it never should have left in the first place: in the hands of the consumer. Our intention is to lead readers to a digital revolution that is really just beginning. And it is shaping up to be an all-consuming battle to create, claim and control our digital data—our very selves—online.
Merchants, banks, credit card companies, and other agents of e-commerce—perhaps even our governments—are tracking our every move. And we make it so easy for them, offering up our most intimate secrets around finances, health, marital status, sexual preferences, hobbies and even up-to-the-minute whereabouts just for this private information to moved, stored, traded, shared, and sometimes even lost without our knowledge.
Government doesn’t need more power. Industry doesn’t need more power. We do.
What do you think? Are we taking the right stand here? Let’s talk about it here or on Facebook.