What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Internet Privacy? Is part of a new book series offering short, up-to-date overviews of key issues often misrepresented or simplified in the mainstream media. In this book, Paul Bernal addresses the issue of privacy on the internet and how it is challenged in a wide variety of ways – from large social media companies, whose entire business models are based on privacy invasion, through the developing technologies of facial recognition and the internet of things, to the desire of governments to monitor our every activity online. The book begins with an analysis of how the internet became what it is today, before moving onto an exploration of where we are now, looking at how the current manifestation of the internet works for people, for companies and for governments. This is followed by coverage of the new privacy battlefields of location data, health data, facial recognition and other biometrics, the internet of things and the increasingly contentious issue of political data and political manipulation. The author then proposes “What We Should Do” about the problems surrounding internet privacy, these include significant changes in government policies – reversing the current ‘war’ on encryption, challenging the idea that ‘real names’ would improve the discourse on social networks, and being brave enough to take on the internet giants. Series Editor: Professor Chris Grey, Royal Holloway, University of London



A very, very brief history of the internet – from a privacy perspective

Privacy, as has been shown, is not simple and is rarely properly understood. It is an issue with a long history and one which is hard to pin down. It has broad implications, getting broader all the time in our current information-based society. It has complex and often paradoxical interactions and tensions with a wide range of other issues and rights, from security and freedom of expression to the rights and needs of businesses to operate successfully. This is all brought into focus in the specific context of the internet: to understand how and why, we need to look at the history and nature of the internet itself.

The internet could be ...

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