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Peer Review

Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age

by Herbert S. Lin , Lynette I. Millett , James Waldo


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Nov 26, 2012 by Library and Information Services
Overview: A book exploring the collection, use, and repurposing of personal information in an environment characterized by technological advances, societal shifts and trends, and a rapid pace of change that precludes sufficient time to reflect and adjust to new circumstances. This open textbook covers the issue of privacy in the digital age. It "is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The spread of the Internet and the seemingly boundaryless options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger consumer worries. Online practices of business and government agencies may present new ways to compromise privacy, and e-commerce and technologies that make a wide range of personal information available to anyone with a Web browser only begin to hint at the possibilities for inappropriate or unwarranted intrusion into our personal lives."
Type of Material: open textbook
Recommended Uses: In class and individual use. This is a good resource to introduce the concepts, principles, and issues associated with the debate surrounding privacy on the Internet.
Technical Requirements: Minimal--a computer and Internet to access the electronic version of the printed book
Identify Major Learning Goals: To educate college students about privacy and information technology issues in this modern digital age.
Target Student Population: The book focuses on no particular student population.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: This open textbook, published by the National Academics Press, can be read online for free. The book examines the issues related to privacy in the digital age from a philosophical, economic, and sociological perspective. Identifying and exploring the driving forces—"technological change, societal shifts, and discontinuities in circumstances"—are presented for the reader’s consideration. As such, this is a good primer to serve as an introduction to the topic.
Concerns: The web page is a little confusing.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Includes Research Tools: "Web search builder" where you can use book's key terms to search within the book, across the collection, or across the entire Web, and "Reference Finder" where you can paste your own text into the box and find books that relate to your topic. Benefits of Buying a PDF: Instant. Buy it, download it immediately, and start reading. Convenient. Download it to your laptop and read it whenever, wherever. Searchable. Search for any word or phrase.
Concerns: This book represents a treatise on the topic of privacy in the digital age and as such is limited to presenting information in a written format.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Chapters can be read online for free.
Concerns: A print book that has been digitalized and can be downloaded as a .pdf document does not exploit, let alone employ, the features commonly associated with an interactive or multimedia format.

Other Issues and Comments: This book can be purchased as a computer file. The format of the file is called a "PDF". To open, view and print the file, you must have third party software (e.g. Adobe Reader or XPDF) installed on your computer.

Creative Commons:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States