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Computer Privacy Annoyances

by Dan Tynan
  (11 customer reviews)
Paperback: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 (O'Reilly Media, Inc.)
List Price: $19.95
      Price: $12.96
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description
From the moment you're born, you enter the data stream-from birth certificates to medical records to what you bought on Amazon last week. As your dossier grows, so do the threats, from identity thieves to government snoops to companies who want to sell you something. Computer Privacy Annoyances shows you how to regain control of your life. You'll learn how to keep private information private, stop nosy bosses, get off that incredibly annoying mailing list, and more. Unless you know what data is available about you and how to protect it, you're a sitting duck. Computer Privacy Annoyances is your guide to a safer, saner, and more private life. Written by privacy pro Dan Tynan, and based on interviews with privacy experts from all over the globe, Computer Privacy Annoyances serves up real-world advice in bite-sized portions that will help you stop the snoops in their tracks. The book even addresses non-computing threats, from telemarketer-cum-stalkers, thieves at your mailbox, nosy folks in your HR department, cell phone eavesdroppers, and more. The key areas covered include:
  • Privacy at Home
  • Privacy on the Net
  • Privacy at Work
  • Privacy in Public
  • Privacy and Uncle Sam
  • Privacy in the Future
Daniel Tynan has written about Internet privacy and security for nearly a decade. His work has appeared in more than 40 national publications. As executive editor at PC World, Tynan edited a special issue on Internet Privacy that won a Grand Neal Award and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. He has won more than a dozen other honors, including nine Neals, four Maggies, and two Computer Press Association Awards.

Reader Reviews

Forget the "Computer" bit... *everyone* should read this book., Wednesday, November 02, 2005


As someone who gets asked questions about Internet use and safety all the time, a book I had been itching to read was "Computer Privacy Annoyances", by Dan Tynan. According to the cover, the book covers "How to avoid the most annoying invasions of your personal and online privacy."

The quick and dirty? The book gives very practical, real-world examples of how your data can be used, yet the author manages to avoid sounding like a doomsayer... even some of the more scary scenarios don't come off sounding like sensationalism, just honest (and sometimes even apologetic) examples of what could very realistically happen. (I thank you, Mr. Tynan.)

I'll take bets on anyone that doesn't learn at least ten new things they didn't know about their privacy rights. Mr. Tynan has taken the proverbial "They" and reduced it to the very organizations that "they" really are. Did you know you can request a copy of your FBI files? Do you know who has the power view it? Do you know who is collecting data on you at this very moment and what they are doing with it?

The book's format allows for a surprisingly fast read. Well organized sections such as privacy at home, on the Internet, in public, at work, and even on a federal level allow for quick chapter absorption. In each chapter, the author states the annoyance, and then the fix. This allows for quick skipping over an 'annoyance' that might not annoy you that much.

I did notice that the author made no mention of the everyday information users give out about themselves without even realizing it, such as usernames that contain birthdates and such. But the Internet privacy chapter is only a small portion of the topics covered in this book. In fact, if I had to find one fault with this book, however, I'd say they lost a much larger audience that could have easily benefited from the book by calling it *Computer* Privacy Annoyances.

As a tech professional, if I could get all my clients, users, friends, family and complete strangers to read this book, I strongly believe identify theft could become a thing of the past. And it might even reduce global blood pressure, too. Bonus!

Wider than just the web, Thursday, September 29, 2005

This book covers more than just your digital privacy. It sweeps on a wide variety of privacy topics. I find that a good thing since it's comprehensive. In reality your digital identity is interspersed with your physical identity and both a very important.

This is the most accessible of the privacy books I've read. The advice is presented in bite sized bits that are easy to understand and implement. It gives both background and practical advice. Both of which are necessary to understand the problem and the solutions.

Computer Privacy Annoyances, Wednesday, September 07, 2005

This book is an eye-opener on privacy invasion, and how it can harm you in countless ways. It is a comprehensive study of the many forms privacy invasion can take, especially as practiced on the Internet, and what you can do to protect yourself. Author Dan Tynan has studied these offensive practices for years, and gives us the benefit of his research and findings. Find out what is going on, and what you can do protect yourself, not only on the internet, but in other aspects of your life as well.

Can't run, Can't hide, Monday, September 05, 2005

Much as we don't want to, privacy is something we all need to think about and protect these days, unless we want to give up our computers and other gadgets and go back to stone tablets. Now we have an easy, funny, understandable guide to protecting ourselves in the online age, and we'd be foolish (and just asking for trouble) to ignore it. Dan Tynan has done all the hard work for us; now we just need to make sure that everyone we know reads this book!

Required reading for today's computerized society..., Monday, September 05, 2005

Privacy? Good luck! Even the slightest misstep on line (or anywhere else, for that matter) can open you up to privacy intrusions that you may not know about. Dan Tynan does a really good job in outlining these areas in Computer Privacy Annoyances. This is pretty much required reading for living in our heavily computerized society.

Contents: Privacy At Risk; Privacy At Home; Privacy On The Net; Privacy At Work; Privacy In Public; Privacy And Uncle Sam; Privacy In The Future; Index

In this Annoyances title, Tynan looks at a wide range of activities and situations that involve a potential unwanted loss of privacy. Using a question and answer format, he effectively shows how seemingly innocent activities (like booking a hotel room or ordering a kosher meal on a flight) can be logged and combined to build a profile of your activities that may not present a very flattering picture of who you are and what you do (and with whom). While there's the obligatory chapters on spam, online registration sites, and the like, there are also excellent chapters that cover privacy at work (what your employers can and can not do) as well as health record concerns. Things may not be as secure and private as you think they are...

Realistically, there's already more information out there to be gleaned than you'd probably expect and be comfortable with. But by reading and digesting the contents of this book, you can start to reduce your exposure going forward. Even just the awareness of privacy concerns will start to cause you to question *why* a merchant might want certain information. They may *want* your zip code or phone number, but that doesn't mean you *have* to give it to them. Even if this book keeps you from making just one mistake that would lead to identity theft, then it's more than paid for itself. A recommended read...

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