Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, electronic databases are compiling information about you. As you surf the Internet, an unprecedented amount of your personal information is being recorded and preserved forever in the digital minds of computers. For each individual, these databases create a profile of activities, interests, and preferences used to investigate backgrounds, check credit, market products, and make a wide variety of decisions affecting our lives. The creation and use of these databases—which Daniel J. Solove calls “digital dossiers”—has thus far gone largely unchecked. In this startling account of new technologies for gathering and using personal data, Solove explains why digital dossiers pose a grave threat to our privacy.
The Digital Person sets forth a new understanding of what privacy is, one that is appropriate for the new challenges of the Information Age. Solove recommends how the law can be reformed to simultaneously protect our privacy and allow us to enjoy the benefits of our increasingly digital world.
“This comprehensive analysis of privacy in the information age challenges traditional assumptions that breeches of privacy through the development of electronic dossiers involve the invasion of one’s private space.”
“Solove ultimately is no ‘chicken little’ but an idealist of the best sort, concluding a positive role for law in the problem of privacy. Whether the world will leave Orwell and Kafka behind and evolve into Solove remains to be seen, but herein is offered a plan to achieve that objective.”
—Journal of Information Ethics
“The Digital Person challenges the existing ways in which law and legal theory approach the social, political, and legal implications of the collection and use of personal information in computer databases. Solove’s book is ambitious, and represents the most important publication in the field of information privacy law for some years.”
—Georgetown Law Journal
“Anyone concerned with preserving privacy against technology's growing intrusiveness will find this book enlightening.”
“Solove . . . truly understands the intersection of law and technology. This book is a fascinating journey into the almost surreal ways personal information is hoarded, used, and abused in the digital age.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Daniel Solove is one of the most energetic and creative scholars writing about privacy today. The Digital Person is an important contribution to the privacy debate, and Solove’s discussion of the harms of what he calls 'digital dossiers' is invaluable.”
—Jeffrey Rosen, author of The Unwanted Gaze and The Naked Crowd
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