Privacy for Sale: How Computerization Has Made Everyone's Private Life an Open Secret

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Simon & Schuster, 1992 - Political Science - 224 pages
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Privacy for Sale is a startling expose and analysis of the demise of privacy in the age of the computer. The proliferation of computerized files containing the intimate details of our private lives--our financial data, medical history, employment records, and on and on--means that practically everything there is to know about any of us is available. Whether it's our driving records, our travel habits, the medications we take, or whom we call on the telephone, it's all on file somewhere. As is what we buy and borrow every time we use a credit card. Privacy for Sale takes readers inside the information industry and introduces us to the people who profit from the data explosion: the Big Three credit bureaus, the superbureaus (wholesalers of the credit industry), the direct marketers, and the information underground, where anything and everything is available for the right price. No one's privacy is safe, not even that of celebrities. (Mr. Rothfeder reveals how easily he was able to obtain personal data about Vice President Dan Quayle and how, with a little more difficulty, he was able to tap information about Dan Rather.). The government offers us little protection: Some of our most important privacy laws are twenty years old and predate the desktop computer revolution. Worse yet, the government itself is infected by data mania and is creating new computer systems monthly to track virtually every aspect of our lives. This revealing--and alarming--book explains what we must do, as individuals and as a nation, to begin to regain control of our private lives.

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About the author (1992)

Former "BusinessWeek", Time Inc., and "Bloomberg News" editor Jeffrey Rothfeder has written for numerous publications, including the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post", and has appeared on "20/20", "Nightline", "Today", "Good Morning America", and "Oprah". He lives in Cortlandt Manor, New York.

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