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Understanding Privacy

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Privacy is one of the most important concepts of our time, yet it is also one of the most elusive. As rapidly changing technology makes information increasingly available, scholars, activists, and policymakers have struggled to define privacy, with many conceding that the task is virtually impossible.

In this concise and lucid book, Daniel J. Solove offers a comprehensive
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Harvard University Press (first published November 6th 9)
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Adam Shostack
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dan Solove sent me a review copy of his new book, “Understanding Privacy.” If you work in privacy or data protection either from a technology or policy perspective, you need to read this book and understand Solove’s approach. That’s not to say it’s perfect or complete, but I think it’s an important intellectual step forward, and perhaps a practical one as well.

I’m going to walk through the chapters, and then bring up some of my responses and the reasons I’m being guarded.

Chapter 1 is “Privacy: A
John Kaye
Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it
A somewhat awkward read: while I found the taxonomic approach useful, it has to be said that there is quite a lot of repetition in the book, and language that on many occasions is convoluted. And it also feels dated now: the references to various legal and governmental approaches are out-of-date, though this doesn't affect his main thrust. Still, I took a lot of notes. I'll need to look elsewhere for a more lively treatment.
Andres  Umana
Useful but Dissapointing. As one of the few books in the market that claims to develop a theory of privacy, I expected a lot more. In the first two chapters Solove criticizes the main theories of privacy, trying to demonstrate that privacy is a "concept in disarray". Although somewhat informative, I found the exercise superficial. Solove fails in my view to show how the different traditions of privacy have developed around the world and to make the reader understand the main issues surrounding ...more
Stuart Berman
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, technology
This book looks at privacy both through a legal and historical lens. Solove describes the various types of privacy issues we face as well as the relevant harms they may cause. In today's age of information technology which encroaches upon our personal and professional environments, this is very relevant to us. When someone purchases a TV or device that can listen to us and our conversations we need knowledge rather than fear to deal with the tradeoffs between benefit and risk.

Solove builds a
Jun 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Why did I try yet another book by Solove? Maybe that he writes about a subject matter of professional and personal interest. A new understanding of the concept of privacy definitely worth reading about. But you still have to suffer though his writing style. While not as bad as the last book, he could use a good editor. That would help to eliminate many of his insufferable repetitions, for one. But better still, he might confine himself to an article instead of a full length book. I always feel ...more
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Pragmatic approach to defining privacy as a family-resemblance category a la Wittgenstein. There are no necessary and sufficient conditions that cover all the cases where we wish to use the idea of privacy. Therefore privacy should be analyzed based on particular problems from which generalizations emerge. He continues by providing a taxonomy of privacy problems based on information collection, analysis, dissemination, and personal invasion.
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Not nearly as good of a read as I had anticipated. Fully 1/5 of the book (by pages) is references. Fully 3/5 of the book is repetition of him either telling you what he is going to tell you, or telling you what he already told you. Saying that 1/5 of the book is original, helpful content would indeed be generous.

Might recommend for a quick skim if you can get it from the library, but I wouldn't pay money for it.
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great discussion of privacy in the law and how it has been redefined by vertiginous changes in technology that have rendered many of privacy laws under constant attack.

Solove tries to provide a 21st century understanding of what privacy is...
Sep 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
Would have been better as a long article,too much redundancy and restating of his position. Still,a valuable book and worth reading for his taxonomy of privacy framework if you are interested in the topic or find yourself needing a better vocabulary with which to talk about the nuances of privacy.
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Looks at the idea of privacy and the law of privacy from multiple perspectives. I am still pushing myself through the literature of privacy in other books, but this book seems to be comprehensive with a great review of case law and law reviews on the subject.
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Daniel J. Solove is associate professor, George Washington University Law School, and an internationally known expert in privacy law. He is frequently interviewed and featured in media broadcasts and articles. He lives in Washington, D.C., and blogs at the popular law blog
“personal information rarely belongs to just
one individual; it is often formed in relationships with others.”
More quotes…