By Heidi Boghosian, with a Foreward by Lewis Lapham
City Lights Publishers, $18.95, 352 pages
If the Edward Snowden and NSA spying incidents peaked your interest in surveillance, Spying on Democracy by Heidi Boghosian is sure to quench your thirst. Within these pages, you’ll discover a whole new world of surveillance you never even knew existed. Talk about security infringements with a group of people and one is likely to hear the quip, “Let them look! If I’m not doing anything wrong, what do I have to fear?” So much, actually.
Technology offers much to modern society, but it is also used to monitor and categorize people based on a wide array of criteria, including their activities, purchases, movements, and political beliefs, just to name a few. The never-ending surveillance makes us much less free as Americans. “By claiming that anyone who questions authority or engages in undesired political speech is a potential terrorist threat, this government/corporate partnership makes a mockery of civil liberties,” Boghosian writes in her introduction. She provides dozens of strong examples of how the government has done just that and how surveillance has limited or denied people’s rights in our society. After reading these stories, come to your own conclusion on whether or not mass surveillance truly makes us safer.
While a bit dry to read, Spying on Democracy is packed with great information and is an excellent conversation starter. Perhaps it will challenge your personal beliefs on surveillance.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
- Release Date: 8/6/2013