Investigative reporter Julia Angwin was curious what Google knew about her, so she asked the company for her search data. “It turns out I had been doing about 26,000 Google searches a month … and I was amazed at how revealing they were,” she tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies.
From NSA sweeps to commercial services scraping our Web browsing habits, to all kinds of people tracking us through our smartphones, Angwin says we’ve become a society where indiscriminate data-gathering has become the norm. Angwin has covered online privacy issues for years, and in her new book she describes what she did to try to escape the clutches of data scrapers, even to the point of creating a fake identity.
“I want all the benefits of the information society; all I was trying to do is mitigate some of the risk,” she says.
Angwin’s book is called Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. She considers dragnets — which she describes as “indiscriminate” and “vast in scope” — the “most unfair type of surveillance.”
If you are interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend that you listen to the podcast