The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America, From Slavery to the War on Terror
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The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America, From Slavery to the War on Terror

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  62 ratings  ·  11 reviews
On a typical day, you might make a call on a cell phone, withdraw money at an ATM, visit the mall, and make a purchase with a credit card. Each of these routine transactions leaves a digital trail for government agencies and businesses to access. As cutting-edge historian and journalist Christian Parenti points out, these everyday intrusions on privacy, while harmless in t...more
Paperback, 286 pages
Published November 24th 2004 by Basic Books (first published 2003)
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Dan Sharber
good book though nothing i did not already know it makes a good case against the extreme surveillance we are under at all times as well as pointing out the historical rise of this sort of thing and rooting it in the desire to control dissent and the bodies of the poor. if you like this book you should also read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness - which is a fantastic book that delves deeper into the specifically criminal justice side of this. Labor and Monopoly Ca...more
Chloe
Worth reading if only for the chapter on UPS and how every single movement of an employee's job is scripted to ensure "maximum efficiency"- everything from scanning packages to having a driver buckle their seatbelt at the same time as they start the truck.
James
somewhat disappointing, not much info on how the surveillance is done,
rather a lot of "aint it awful that illegal aliens, people on welfare, etc are logged into databases so fedgov can't see what they are up to.

Nathan Pearson
Keenly expansive in scope, and diligently researched -- this is no conspiracy theorist's rant, but an informative exploration of the history and broad relevance of the institutional gathering of personal information. Part way through, I've already learned some fascinating details on America's endless cycle of conflict over immigration (the chapter on 'paper sons' and other facets of Chinese immigration to California in the 19th century is particularly eye-opening), and the book makes crystal cle...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
Much like his other book Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis, the Soft Cage is another fine bit of work. Creepy and alarming, it depicts the very real surveillance gathering of corporations and government working hand in hand against their subjects.
Theeba
I had to read this book for work, and like Ward Churchill's "Agents of Repression" it got me thinking about surveillance, immigration and the war on terror in a whole new light.
Jessica
Super detailed history of surveillance in America. Very good, but little doses in order to prevent a nervous breakdown...
Diemoniker
I wouldn't read this if you're in any way inclined towards Philip K. Dickian paranoia. Just warning you.
Jason
Kind of a handbook for paranoid, anti-government types. Very informative and really unsettling.
Greer
I am being watched all the time
Bloblo
i read this right when it came out back around 2003 or 04. included is a history of the development of credit. that in itself is kind of interesting
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Christian Parenti is a contributing editor at The Nation, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, and a visiting scholar at the City University of New York. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from the London School of Economics. The author of Lockdown America, The Soft Cage, and The Freedom. Parenti has written for Fortune, The New York Times, Los AngelesTimes, Washington Post, Playbo...more
More about Christian Parenti...
Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence The Freedom: Shadows And Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq Taking Liberties: Prisons, Policing and Surveillance in an Age of Crisis At War With Asia: Essays on Indochina

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“You already have zero privacy. Get over it! --Scott McNealy CEO Sun Microsystems 1999” 2 likes
“If J. Edgar Hoover had something like Total Information Awareness, would his agents have used it, as they did all the other means available to them, to harass civil rights activists, reds, poor people's organizations, unionists, & peaceniks? Most certainly!” 1 likes
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