As the 21st century begins, advances in technology endanger our privacy in ways
never before imagined. This newly revised update of the popular hardcover
edition, Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century, is
the compelling account of how invasive technologies will affect our lives in
the coming years. It's a timely, far-reaching, entertaining, and
thought-provoking look at the serious threats to privacy facing us today.
"Database Nation by Simson Garfinkel is a graphic and blistering
indictment of the burgeoning technologies used by business, government, and
others to invade the self--yourselves--and restrict both your 'freedom to'
participate in power and your 'freedom from' abuses of power. The right of
privacy is a constitutionally protected right, and its erosion or destruction
undermines democratic society as it generates, in one circumstance after
another, a new kind of serfdom. This book is one that you're entitled to take
--Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate
"Database Nation is illuminating and disturbing, fascinating in its
explanations of new technologies, but easily accessible to readers who might
not otherwise have an interest in computers. Mr. Garfinkle's accounts of
privacy abuses are alarming, not because they are unusually horrifying but
because they are so familiar."
--Peter H. Lewis, NY Times, Feb 10, 2000
"This is a chilling compendium of the myriad methods government and industry
have revised to catalog and profile the preferences of American citizens. It is
an essential handbook in the fight against the insidious erosion of a right so
dear that freedom itself depends on it."
--The Hon. Edward J. Markey, U.S. House of Representatives
"Database Nation marks a turning point in the national debate over
the future of privacy. Here is the clearest accounting to date of the
challenges we face and the steps we must take to preserve the most valued of
--Marc Rotenberg, Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center
"Garfinkel has written both a comprehensive survey of threats to privacy in
an electronic age and a sometimes subversive manifesto for how citizens can
fight back to protect their human dignity. He has a humanist's perspective on
what constitutes civilized living, a lawyer's understanding of the potential as
well a the limits of the law, and a revolutionary's sense for how to threaten
the power structure to cease and desist. A bravura performance that is bound to
be the subject of controversy, not to mention some nervousness on the part of
those who don't understand that we humans own much of the information that
makes us unique."
--Harvey A. Silverglate, Attorney and Coauthor, The Shadow University: The
Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses.
"If you want a good scare, you could go on-line and download the latest
Stephen King, or you could read this book, which explains how corporations keep
track of things like--well, what you've just downloaded. Other writers have
raised alarms, but no one has revealed the encroachments of technology on
privacy in such exacting detail. Living in the global village, it seems, is
like living in a real one; you have to deal with a whole lot of
--New Yorker, April 10, 2000
"Garfinkel has captured the depth and breadth of our ever-increasing privacy
problems, demonstrating their insidious nature and the extreme difficulties
that they present for all of us. This book is hugely important. It should be
read by everyone. Wonderfully readable. Five stars."
--Peter G. Neumann, Author, Computer-Related Risks; Moderator, Risks
Forum; Principal Scientist, Computer Science Lab, SRI International
"This is required reading for the new millennium...Recommended for all
--Thom Gillespie, Library Journal, May 2000
"If the terms 'data-mining' and 'data-shadowing' mean nothing to you, then
you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to read Database Nation.
Though it's not the first book to deal with the invasion of privacy it may well
be the best. He (Garfinkel) has the right technological stuff and an
easy-to-read, no-nonsense writing style. He won't make you laugh or cry, but
his message is likely to shake your sense of personal space and privacy all the
way down to the sub-basement. Garfinkel spent 12 years researching this book,
and it shows. You might not want to believe what he has to say, but his
thorough documentation leaves little room for argument."
--Lynn Yarris, San Jose Mercury News, March 19, 2000
"Garfinkel is the first to decisively and persuasively marshal all the
information to show how privacy is under constant attack, often by people who
claim to have our best interests at heart. The picture he paints is clear,
sharp, and focused--a wake-up call rather than a fire alarm. And unlike many
authors who only point toproblems, Garfinkel offers sound advice about
alternatives to many privacy-damaging practices Database Nation gives a
way to detect the privacy land mines in our culture and ultimately disarm
--Tom Regan, Christian Science Monitor, January 27, 2000
"In the space of just 271 pages, computer-security expert and author
Garfinkel hammers home perhaps the most compelling account yet of how big
business, aided by government agencies and a complicit Congress, is stealing
Americans' best defense against tyranny: their very ability to be left
alone...Database Nation aims straight at the things that nearly all
Americans, left, right and center, care about deeply. Ignore this book and you
ignore your own future."
--Will Rodger, USA Today, Feb 9, 2000
"This isn't simply another cautionary tale about the Internet. Garfinkel has
the historical vision and storytelling chops, both sorely lacking among today's
tech and business press, to stitch together an exhaustive range of topics
--medical records, biological warfare, United Parcel Service's package tracking
system, even satellite pictures of Earth--into a panoply of privacy concerns.
The Internet is just the tip of a very frightening iceberg. For all but the
most studied privacy expert, Database Nation will provide not only
valuable history and insight, but a rousing call to arms."
--Alex Lash, Industry Standard, Feb 2000
"Entertaining and intriguing. The scope of privacy threats is breathtaking,
and Garfinkel does an excellent job of cataloging them. Like the Hubble
telescope, he presents us with descriptions of privacy-threatening technologies
we did not even imagine existed."
--David Isenberg, intellectualcapitol.com, June 2000