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Industry Unbound
The Inside Story of Privacy, Data, and Corporate Power

$24.95 (T)

  • Date Published: September 2021
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108492423

$ 24.95 (T)

Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
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About the Authors
  • In Industry Unbound, Ari Ezra Waldman exposes precisely how the tech industry conducts its ongoing crusade to undermine our privacy. With research based on interviews with scores of tech employees and internal documents outlining corporate strategies, Waldman reveals that companies don't just lobby against privacy law; they also manipulate how we think about privacy, how their employees approach their work, and how they weaken the law to make data-extractive products the norm. In contrast to those who claim that privacy law is getting stronger, Waldman shows why recent shifts in privacy law are precisely the kinds of changes that corporations want and how even those who think of themselves as privacy advocates often unwittingly facilitate corporate malfeasance. This powerful account should be read by anyone who wants to understand why privacy laws are not working and how corporations trap us into giving up our personal information.

    • The first account to show how informational capitalism operates on the ground
    • Offers new research on largely inaccessible institutions to broaden common understandings of tech companies
    • Makes complex theories from disciplines across law and the social sciences accessible while remaining academically rigorous
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘How did privacy policies become licenses to spy? And do we have any hope of effective data regulation? In vivid and accessible prose, Industry Unbound offers deep insight into contemporary corporate power to monitor workers, manipulate consumers, and influence governments. With a skilled attorney’s understanding of contracts and statutes and a rigorous sociologist’s command of empirical methods, Waldman tells a story of ‘privacy professionals’ who gradually accommodate themselves to surveillance capitalism. This brilliant book is a must-read for understanding the failures of contemporary privacy laws, and how they might evolve toward more robust protections.’ Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School, and author of The Black Box Society and The New Laws of Robotics

    ‘Ari Waldman peels back the curtain on internal privacy practices at the most powerful tech companies to reveal an alarming trend: Despite robust privacy programs, teams of employees devoted to protecting privacy, and significant laws and regulations requiring many internal measures to safeguard privacy, the reality on the ground is that these things are often failing. Waldman provocatively contends that corporate power turns compliance with even robust privacy laws into an often hollow exercise. As legislatures rush to pass privacy laws, Industry Unbound is a wakeup call that these efforts will not end the nightmare. This eye-opening and unsettling book is also constructive, as it offers productive recommendations for a new direction in privacy law. Lively, alarming, and insightful, Industry Unbound deftly unites theory, practice, and law. It is essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of privacy.’ Daniel J. Solove, John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law, George Washington University, and author of Understanding Privacy

    ‘Ari Waldman’s powerful new book combines fascinating on-the-ground insights and a sharp critical eye to help us understand why, despite touted improvements in data protection, our privacy remains in jeopardy. Industry Unbound is clear, compelling, and essential reading for the personal data field and anyone who is concerned about privacy.’ Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law and Computer Science, Northeastern University, and author of Privacy's Blueprint

    ‘Painstakingly researched and beautifully written, Industry Unbound chronicles the ways in which tech companies use their power to undermine our privacy. Ari Waldman went under the hood of the information industry for this project, and the result is a fantastic piece of law and sociology scholarship. But Industry Unbound isn't just for students and academics. It's a must read for anyone interested in privacy and political economy, for policymakers looking to write new privacy laws, for regulators trying to rein in Big Tech, and for anyone curious about how law really works on the ground. Everyone should read it.’ Danielle Keats Citron, Jefferson Scholars Foundation Schenck Distinguished Professor in Law, University of Virginia School of Law, and recipient of the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship

    ‘Why is there so much privacy law but so little privacy? The answer lies in the way privacy compliance is practiced on the ground. Ari Waldman supplies a lucid, rigorous explanation of how privacy law has become captured from the inside out. Essential reading.’ Julie E. Cohen, Mark Claster Mamolen Professor of Law and Technology, Georgetown, and author of Between Truth and Power

    ‘No one but law professor and sociologist Ari Waldman could have written Industry Unbound. Drawing from years of qualitative study, Waldman develops a ‘social practice of privacy’ that lays bare the cultural, political, and discursive forces winnowing our privacy even as regulatory requirements proliferate. Waldman’s sober-eyed, sophisticated, and wisely prescriptive work should be required reading for anyone who studies or cares about privacy. We are not doomed to push the privacy rock up the hill, only for it tumble back down. There is a path to resistance, and Industry Unbound is its map.’ Ryan Calo, Lane Powell and D. Wayne Gittinger Professor, University of Washington School of Law

    ‘Clearly written, insightful, polemical, sophisticated, and based upon extensive fieldwork, Industry Unbound is an instant classic. It is a rare combination of a sophisticated academic study, a penetrating sociological critique, and an accessible explanation of what’s actually happening inside the information industry for the general reader. Few books have changed our understanding of privacy like this one; it is a must-read for anyone who studies, works in the field of, or worries about privacy and the power that human information confers.’ Neil Richards, Koch Distinguished Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis, and author of Intellectual Privacy

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2021
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108492423
    • length: 378 pages
    • dimensions: 223 x 143 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Privacy and the Information Industry:
    1. A day at the office
    2. Spotting the issues
    Part II. A Vicious Cycle:
    3. Privacy's discourses
    4. Privacy compliance
    5. Designing data-extractive technologies
    Part III. Power and Resistance:
    6. Power
    7. Fighting back
    8. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Ari Ezra Waldman, Northeastern University, Boston
    Ari Ezra Waldman is Professor of Law and Computer Science at Northeastern University School of Law and Khoury College of Computer Sciences. A graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College, he also earned his Ph.D. in sociology at Columbia University. He is a widely published and award-winning scholar and teacher focusing on the ways law and technology entrench traditional hierarchies of power.

Industry Unbound Book Trailer

Video with Ari Ezra Waldman on his new book Industry Unbound

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