Original Proposal

Because we are a U.S. public-policy focused group, there are always crucial public-policy issues addressed in our focus book.

That is true this month = (1) The U.S. Government’s need for information to protect American citizens from Radical Islamic Terrorism, (2) the danger that future unprincipled politicians could use the government’s information to become George Orwell’s Big Brother and impose a totalitarian dictatorship a la Orwell’s epic novel “1984,” (3) foreign governments and foreign enterprises stealing America’s corporate know-how and America’s intelligence secrets, and (4) the identity theft and mis-identification of individual citizens.

Unfortunately, the title of our focus book (“A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance”) implies a negative answer to every need for information.

Accordingly, John Karls has made one of his typical executive decisions to employ a title for our meeting which emphasizes in a neutral fashion the most important issue.

NB: San Bernardino and The F.B.I. vs. Apple occurred after publication of our focus book. A NY Times article summarizing succinctly the issues involved in that imbroglio follows immediately after The Short Quiz contained in the Participants Comments which is the next section of this Bulletin Board.
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Attila Relenyi
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Original Proposal

Post by Attila Relenyi »

Julia Angwin’s Dragnet Nation
Originally Posted By Attila Relenyi » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:34 am - 136 views before being transplanted here.

I propose that we read Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin ($11.80 paperback + shipping or $9.99 Kindle from Amazon.com - 320 pages).

Julia Angwin is the author of Stealing MySpace and an award-winning investigative journalist for the independent news organization ProPublica. From 2000 to 2013 she was a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where she was on the team of reporters awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of corporate corruption and led a team covering online privacy that was a finalist for a 2012 Pulitzer Prize. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Excerpts from Book Reviews --

Welcome to life in a society of ubiquitous surveillance, tracking and data mining... Angwin, a Wall Street Journal reporter who along with her colleagues has produced essential reporting on privacy and security … aims to illuminate the costs of living with systems that track nearly everything we do, think or say… [and] she performs a herculean effort to regain her privacy… A useful, well-reported study. (The Los Angeles Times)

I read Julia Angwin's new book Dragnet Nation… I heartily recommend it to you… [The book is an] antidote to Big Brother's big chill. (Bill Moyers)

A deeply researched book that is completely of the moment. Dragnet Nation moves right to the top of the list of books we should all read about privacy. (Salon)

Angwin's warning that 'information is power' resonates. (The Daily Beast)

Angwin elegantly chronicles this tragedy of the digital commons at the level of policy and our individual civil liberties…Dragnet Nation really kicks in--and becomes a blast to read--when she fights back…If enough people follow Angwin's lead, new networks of computer users might manage to open up ever larger holes in the dragnet world. (Bookforum)

Entertaining… Pacy and eye-opening. (The Financial Times)

Angwin, a longtime reporter on digital privacy issues for the Wall Street Journal, releases the contemporary (and, unfortunately, nonfiction) companion book to Orwell's 1984. Dragnet Nation examines the surveillance economy and its effect on free speech and thought, likely causing readers to rethink the next words they type into a search engine. (LA Weekly)

Reading Liberally Editorial Notes

Attila Relenyi, who proposed the book, is a long-time ski buddy.

He escaped with his parents from Hungary after the failed revolution of 1956.

He started his career as a PhD Chemist with Dow Chemical.

He then formed his own chemical company based in Midland MI (which is also Dow’s worldwide headquarters) because he wanted to control the fate of all of the future inventions that he knew he would discover.

His AMSA Inc., today, is a huge privately-owned chemical company that, of course, manufactures its many products in low-wage Asian countries.

He has required all of his IT personnel and security personnel to read Dragnet Nation.

Attila has promised that if Dragnet Nation is selected for any of our meetings December - April when he and his wife Janice Shawl (who taught in the Flint MI public schools before meeting Attila and in Midland’s Dow High School after meeting him) are always in residence for Alta’s ski season, they will lead the discussion.

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