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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

As the data economy grows in power, Carissa Véliz exposes how our privacy is eroded by big tech and governments, why that matters and what we can do about it. 

The moment you check your phone in the morning you are giving away your data. Before you've even switched off your alarm, a whole host of organisations have been alerted to when you woke up, where you slept and with whom. As you check the weather, scroll through your 'suggested friends' on Facebook, you continually compromise your privacy. 

Without your permission, or even your awareness, tech companies are harvesting your information, your location, your likes and your habits and sharing it amongst themselves. They're not just selling your data. They're selling the power to influence you. Even when you've explicitly asked them not to. And it's not just you. It's all your contacts too. 

Digital technology is stealing our personal data and with it our power to make free choices. To reclaim that power and democracy, we must protect our privacy.  

What can we do? So much is at stake. Our phones, our TVs, even our washing machines are spies in our own homes. We need new regulation. We need to pressure policy-makers for red lines on the data economy. And we need to stop sharing and to adopt privacy-friendly alternatives to Google, Facebook and other online platforms.

Short, terrifying, practical: Privacy Is Power highlights the implications of our laid-back attitude to data and sets out how we can take back control. 

If you liked The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, you'll love Privacy Is Power because it provides a philosophical perspective on the politics of privacy and it offers a very practical outlook, both for policymakers and ordinary citizens. 

©2020 Carissa Véliz (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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Excellent

Fascinating book. Veliz is very knowledgeable about the subject and writes in an engaging style. The book is quite disturbing at times and shows how much of what is wrong with the world today is due to our lack of privacy. Thankfully, it also strikes a more positive note by providing practical steps we can take to improve the situation. Absolutely essential reading.

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Accessible and Compelling

An excellent, engaging, enjoyable and compelling discussion of the risks associated with 'big data' collected by social media companies in particular. The book builds of Zuboff's ideas relating to 'surveillance capitalism' but is more accessible and easier to digest, as well as offering more practical prescriptions about how we, at individual, national and societal level, might take back control of our own data to mitigate the dystopian risks relating to surveillance capitalism.

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A must read book!

This a super overview of the data economy and the threat it poses to privacy. It’s wonderfully put together, making the topic relatable while empowering the listener with both knowledge and the ability to take practical action. Highly recommend!

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  • George
  • 27-09-20

Brilliant and Relevant to us all

Incredibly well written, very entertaining and extremely important in this day and age. We are living in the wild west of digital era and we don’t even realize it. Its not a technical book, but it is very enlightening of what big tech companies and governments are doing with our data and the dangers it entails. It also gives practical advice on how we can regain control over our data and reclaim our privacy for the benefit of individuals, democracy and society as a whole.

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  • Mattias Johansson
  • 23-11-20

Exhausting, unfortunately

I'm a bit hesitant on how to rate this title, as I had to stop after the first chapter. It's not for me. If you are looking to be convinced that the privacy problem is big, this book will do that. If you are like me, and are already concerned and is looking for a bit of positivity hopeful solutions, showcasing strides made, know that it is extremely focused on convincing you that the problem is great and the author is very good at triggering your stress levels further about the problem, which was personally not what I needed at this time. I'm a bit I picked up this book after hearing the author on The Economist Radio, which offered an interesting account on the difficulties of what organisation should mandate data laws in a global economy. While I am deeply concerned about privacy, and think Facebook is a company with an awful ethic etc, I am more of a person that looks at holistic, constructive solutions to problems and I have a hard time with one-sided rhethoric, and prefer when a problem is viewed from many angles so that I can fully understand where things are coming from. I picked up this book to find solutions to how we can store data securely, but the intro chapter was so anxiety-inducing, listing problem after problem and painting a bleak future and using rhethoric that is extremely problem-oriented and slides into some, in my opinion, strained examples with little nuance. It is written in a very fear-inducing preaching-to-the-converted style (that I often find in American books of this category) and even though I am on the side of the author, this honestly made me less excited about solving the privacy problem, if I'm being honest. After 25 minutes of having my heart pound at the dystopian vision painted (even though I largely agree with it), I eventually skipped to the end of the intro chapter and after being promised that "the following three chapters do not paint a pretty picture" I decided that this book is not for me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-11-20

Eye opening

Even though I have been researching the topic and considering my level of knowledge "above average" regarding the field, I have discovered new examples, point of views and facts about it. It builds and sums the topic up fantastically, easy to follow and understand for everybody. The Narration is great as well. This is an easy recommendation.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-11-20

un libro de 10

Me encantó.Aprendi mucho acerca del mundo de la privacidad y sus peligros.Es un libro ligero con cierto humor y disfrute mucho escuchandolo

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  • chris boutte
  • 15-11-20

A fresh perspective on the subject

I've seen this book recommended by many people I respect, but I was hesitant to purchase it. I follow Carisa on Twitter, and I let her know that I'm one of those people who doesn't think this topic is as big of a deal as some people say it is. She replied to me and let me know that she had people like me in mind as she wrote this book. I appreciate when authors interact with their audience and potential audience, so I purchased the book right then and there. And honestly, I read this book straight through within about a day. It's awesome.  What I love about Carisa is that she's a philosopher, so she has a whole new perspective about the case for privacy. As someone who has a social media presence and works in marketing, I'm often surprised that people don't know all of the ways our data is collected, and that's one of the reasons I don't read books like this. But Carisa was able to make a multitude of arguments that I hadn't thought of yet. Personally, I feel the most compelling argument she made that hadn't crossed my mind is that my data isn't just about me; it can affect people I know if it's abused.  While Carisa made excellent arguments about how when we allow people to have our data, we give them power, I'm still a little skeptical. This has nothing to do with her writing, but I'm just a bit of a nihilist when it comes to these tech subjects. The author gives some great ways we can protect our data and regulations that should be put in place. And while I don't believe it's as big of a threat as some feel it is, I would vote for legislation regulating Big Tech's ability to access our data in a heartbeat.