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Privacy is Power by Carissa Véliz: Review/summary
Book cover for Privacy is Power

Privacy is Power

By Carissa Véliz

Length: 304 pages

Rating: 7/10

First Published: 2020

Get it: UK 🇬🇧 | US 🇺🇸

Last read: 2021

I am frustrated by this book. The first chapter is brilliant. It’s the best way of making people think about their privacy. It’s short, funny, personal and relatable. This chapter a required reading for everyone. There are a ton of citations. But, the next half of the book is a Frankenstein’s monster of disjointed ideas.

In my opinion, the second chapter (“How did we get there?”) is completely useless.

Someone online said “can someone please rewrite this so you don’t need a university degree to read it?” I don’t think the whole book needs a rewrite, the intro and the end are great, but everything else is too long and complicated.

Online privacy is an important topic to me, so I’m happy that a book was published on the subject. I just wish it was a short, accessible book that I could give to friends.


”You should assume that all settings for all products and services are privacy-unfriendly by default."

"Some options that might be worth looking into are ProtonMail (Switzerland), Tutanota (Germany), and Runbox (Norway"

"Personal data should not be something one can buy, sell, or share to exploit for profit. The opportunities for abuse are too many, and proliferating."

"The more people continue to give away their genetic information, the more feasible it will be to identify anyone in the world.” Note: Lack of data is still data

”You receive another call. This time it’s a colleague from work. ‘Hey, I’m not sure how this happened, but I just received a recording of a very private conversation you were having with your son. It seems that your digital assistant Alexa sent it.” Note: Be mindful of old phone contacts, use separate app

”privacy is not about hiding serious wrongdoing. It’s about protecting ourselves from the possible wrongdoings of others, like criminals wanting to steal our money.” Note: I like the doors analogy

”those loyalty cards” Note: Walmart pregnamt story

”Have you noticed by now the pattern of techies wanting privacy for themselves but not for others?)” Note: Same for ipads. Cooks kids dont have 1

”Researchers found that one Samsung smart TV had connected to more than 700 distinct internet addresses after being used for fifteen minutes.9” Note: Against smart objects article

”To improve our cybersecurity, it is crucial that we disconnect systems.47” Note: Against smart obj

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