Perusing recently released privacy publications

Virtual Shadows:
Your Privacy in the Information Society

By Karen Lawrence Öqvist,
British Computer Society

As the gap between virtual and reality becomes increasingly blurred by current and emerging technologies, the way we communicate and interact with one another is changing beyond recognition. What are the implications for our privacy, and what impact will this have on our safety and security?

Those are the questions Karen Lawrence Öqvist tackles in her recently published Virtual Shadows: Your Privacy in the Information Society. In 224 pages, Lawrence Oqvist merges the social sciences with the computer sciences, introducing readers to the concepts behind social networking and Web 2.0 and their impact on our privacy and everyday lives.

Among the most interesting aspects of the book, according to one reviewer, is Lawrence Oqvist’s “perspective of a ‘transparent society,’ in which our behavior is open to all and no one has a monopoly on other people’s secrets. Whether we like it or not, this seems to be the best hope for a socially-networked community that is progressively sleepwalking into a lifestyle characterized by nonstop, pervasive surveillance.”

For more information, visit: www.bcs.org/server.php?show=nav.10340

“This book is a recommended read: a well-written, up-to-date and balanced overview of the key trends and issues associated with privacy in the new information society.”

 — David Lacey,


Topics covered:

  • Second life
  • Identity theft
  • Geo privacy
  • Social networking
  • Biometrics
  • Data mining
  • Behavioral targeting
  • Blogging
  • DNA databases
  • Surveillance

We have for years been sharing our personal and often sensitive data with government authorities, and normally we do not have much choice in this. Sensitive data is any data that links specifically to you, and has the potential to be used to influence or discriminate for or against you, or can be used to target you specifically as identified as a part of a special group (e.g. woman, Muslim, black, HIV positive, etc.).

Today there exists thousands of databases set up by government authorities (health districts, police authorities, child protection agencies) busy collecting and storing this type of information on residents in every country around the world; all in the name of national safety, immigration, administrative efficiency, etc., but lacking the ability to manage this data effectively and securely.


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