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Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age

by Bernard E Harcourt Harvard University Press
Pub Date:
10/2015
ISBN:
9780674504578
Format:
Hbk 384 pages
Price:
AU$79.00 NZ$82.61
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Social media compile data on users, retailers mine information on consumers, Internet giants create dossiers of who we know and what we do, and intelligence agencies collect all this plus billions of communications daily. Exploiting our boundless desire to access everything all the time, digital technology is breaking down whatever boundaries still exist between the state, the market, and the private realm. Exposed offers a powerful critique of our new virtual transparence, revealing just how unfree we are becoming and how little we seem to care.

Bernard Harcourt guides us through our new digital landscape, one that makes it so easy for others to monitor, profile, and shape our every desire. We are building what he calls the expository society - a platform for unprecedented levels of exhibition, watching, and influence that is reconfiguring our political relations and reshaping our notions of what it means to be an individual.

We are not scandalized by this. To the contrary: we crave exposure and knowingly surrender our privacy and anonymity in order to tap into social networks and consumer convenience - or we give in ambivalently, despite our reservations. But we have arrived at a moment of reckoning. If we do not wish to be trapped in a steel mesh of wireless digits, we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to resist. Disobedience to a regime that relies on massive data mining can take many forms, from aggressively encrypting personal information to leaking government secrets, but all will require conviction and courage.
Harcourt's book, which exposes the deeply troubling implications of pervasive surveillance in an era of neoliberalism, could not be more urgent. The developed world is about to make myriad fateful decisions about the degree to which corporate and government leaders monitor us and utilize our data. I can think of no other manuscript Iad rather have leaders consider, as they make these decisions, than Harcourtas.
Frank Pasqe, University of Maryland
Bernard E. Harcourt is Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University.