Firmin DebrabanderMar 3, 2022
Life After Privacy
Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society
Cambridge University Press 2020
Privacy is gravely endangered in the digital age, and we, the digital citizens, are its principal threat, willingly surrendering it to avail ourselves of new technology, and granting the government and corporations immense power over us. In Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society (Cambridge UP, 2020), Firmin DeBrabander begins with this premise and asks how we can ensure and protect our freedom in the absence of privacy. Can--and should--we rally anew to support this institution? Is privacy so important to political liberty after all? DeBrabander makes the case that privacy is a poor foundation for democracy, that it is a relatively new value that has been rarely enjoyed throughout history--but constantly persecuted--and politically and philosophically suspect. The vitality of the public realm, he argues, is far more significant to the health of our democracy, but is equally endangered--and often overlooked--in the digital age.
Austin Clyde is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science. He researches artificial intelligence and high-performance computing for developing new scientific methods. He is also a visiting research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Science, Technology, and Society program, where my research addresses the intersection of artificial intelligence, human rights, and democracy.