Every day, Americans surrender their private information to entities that claim to have their best interests in mind, in exchange for a promise of safety or convenience. This trade-off has long been taken for granted, but the extent of its nefariousness has recently become much clearer. In Cappello shows that this state of affairs was not the inevitable by-product of technological progress. He targets key moments from the past 130 years of US history, showing that Americans have had numerous opportunities to protect the public good while simultaneously safeguarding our information, and we’ve squandered them every time.
...a thorough account of privacy struggles that draws on deep research to reveal that the privacy dilemma dates back more than a century and has roiled American life through two world wars, the New Deal, the Cold War, and the post 9/11 era ... The book is especially effective at showing that the trampling of privacy rights paved the way for such abuses as the Japanese internment, McCarthyism, and Watergate ... This rigorous investigation of the ongoing debate between privacy and the public right to know at times lapses into excessive detail, but None of Your Damn Business provides excellent background information for citizens concerned with the erosion of privacy rights, as well as for government officials and legal professionals positioned to act upon privacy laws that protect citizens while providing necessary oversight.
Mr. Cappello brings together several aspects of 'privacy' in American life and law to show how changing technologies and cultural values shaped our expectations of privacy ... Mr. Cappello focuses on constitutional law but not particularly on the Constitution itself; his analysis doesn’t grapple with the actual limits set by the text of our founding legal document. Recalibrating the modern right to privacy might be good policy, but is it good law? Does the Constitution actually protect that right? If not, why should judges, rather than legislators, be the ones protecting it? ... The modern world of private surveillance gets only cursory treatment in this book, even though it begins with an anecdote about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. One can safely say the modern world of social media is Brandeis’s anti-privacy nightmare ... Is the 'right to be forgotten' a 'right to be let alone,' or does it protect litigious powerful figures from the sunshine that is the 'best disinfectant'? Mr. Cappello’s historical analysis only begins to shed light on those questions.
Capello, a professor of U.S. labor history and privacy law, makes his debut with a timely and engaging book on the latter subject ... Capello makes a persuasive argument for privacy as both a personal necessity and a societal good and notes that, over the last century and a half, privacy advocates have focused too much on the individual right to privacy and have failed to 'position privacy as a larger societal right essential to the progress of any free civilization.' ... Capello’s puckish sensibilities and engaging style dovetail wittily with his well-chosen and thoughtful examples, resulting in an academic text that any reader can appreciate. This book is a must-read for legislators, policymakers, and anyone curious about the ways their privacy could potentially be compromised by the government, the media, or data brokers