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  • Writer's pictureIan Patrick

Privacy Is Power

It gives me great pleasure to welcome to the blog the author and Professor, Carissa Veliz. Professor Veliz has written a fascinating and much needed book for our data hungry times. I'm not talking about all you can eat data on your phone but the data that dominant corporations are hungry for.

In essence they want your soul. They desire to know as much about us they can. With knowledge comes power and with power comes abuse.

Privacy is Power educates us about how our behaviour online is giving up our minds at the click of an advert or a like or share on social media. This book has reopened my eyes to an area that has always troubled me. More so since becoming a published writer. Until that happened I wasn't on any social media platform. It has made me reconsider how much longer I will be too. Don't be surprised if I disappear from Twitter or Instagram and just maintain this site for contact. I've done it before but now, more than ever, the desire to stay away is strong.

This isn't Professor Veliz's message. She advocates we make our own choices based on knowledge. It's my own instinct that has been reinforced through the educative experience of reading this book and my past experience as a detective.

I hope you enjoy this brief insight and I'd encourage everyone that reads my fiction to buy and read this book. I value your right to privacy but I'm a small fish in a big pond.

Over to Professor Veliz

1/ How much research did you need to complete this book? I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the ethics and politics of privacy, so I have been researching the topic full time for more than six years now.  2/ Do you think being on social media sells books or are most of us shouting in the wind? Very good question. I’m not sure. I wish I could do a controlled experiment about that, but I can’t peer into a parallel world in which I publish Privacy Is Power and refuse to be on social media. 3/ I was surprised to see you were on Twitter. Is this something you’ve had to do or by choice?  Something in between. It’s one of those things. I’ve been told many times by different people that in order for a book to be widely read, the author needs to be on Twitter. My priority is to spread the ideas in Privacy Is Power, and it seems that Twitter might help. It has certainly allowed me to connect with some kindred spirits like you, but if I didn’t feel like it was important to better inform the public about issues like privacy and AI, I wouldn’t be on it. In fact, although I’ve had an account since 2011, I didn’t use it at all for many many years. 4/ If you were to write a book of speculative fiction what would be your worse case scenario? Something like Joanna Kavenna’s Zed 5/ Are you planning a follow up book or involved in any other research you can talk about?  Yes. I am currently finishing an academic book on the ethics and politics of privacy, which will be published by Oxford University Press. And I’m also editing the Oxford Handbook of Digital Ethics, which is also an academic volume.  In terms of writing for a broader audience, my next book will probably be about predictive analytics.  6/ What’s the strongest piece of advice/caution you’d wish for people who read your book to take away and pass on? Protect your privacy as much as you can before it’s too late, because once you feel the negative effects of a loss of privacy, it’s too late to recall the data. Inform yourself about what risks you face, and what you can do about it.  7/ What’s your favourite book of fiction and why? 

Thanks so much to Professor Veliz for agreeing to come on this platform and I wish you every success now and for the future. Link to her book is shown below with all the purchasing options. See you on the next one and don't be late. Stay safe and best wishes Ian

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