BOOK: The Privacy Mission, by Annie Machon

The Privacy Mission: Achieving Ethical Data for Our Lives Online
Annie Machon
John Wiley & Sons, 2022

The subject of data ethics and privacy, and how the digital world impacts on the basic rights of individuals has never been more critical. Grappling with important questions around who can spy on us, who can hack us and who can data farm us are issues for everyone – businesses and individuals.

This is the topic of Wiley’s latest book, The Privacy Mission: Achieving Ethical Data for Our Lives Online, in which author Annie Machon explores the concepts and principles of this increasingly urgent topic, and offers solutions for organisations, academics, researchers, policymakers and individuals as they grapple with the known threats, and future proof themselves against emerging ones.

A former MI5 agent, Machon is now an international public speaker, writer, media commentator and political campaigner. She is a director of the World Ethical Data Foundation and European director of the drug reform organisation, Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

Drawing on her experience in the field, Machon charts a number of major historical developments that have shaped today’s data ethics, and shines a light on the trends that are likely to affect the privacy landscape. She explores the question of which democratic, social and personal threats we need to meet, mitigate and respond to, and whether corporations can help protect us in a way that advances their bottom line at the same time. She also presents some fascinating perspectives on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the more recent Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles.

“What does the term ‘digital rights’ mean to you?” Machon writes. “Have you ever stopped to consider your rights in the online world and what those might (or might not!) be? Do you equate them with your human rights? If not, then now is the time to start, because there is no such thing as just digital rights. The lines between our physical and digital selves have blurred and that means our rights in a digital world are simply our human rights. You cannot separate the two; they are intrinsically linked.”

From copyright law to the inseparability of corporate and state power, criminal hacking enterprises, and media censorship, Machon unpicks the issues that have a noticeable and direct impact on all of us.

This book will make both fascinating and useful reading for anyone looking to learn more about, or influence the conversation around privacy, digital transformation, technology and data.

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