Book Review – Habeas Data

By | March 7, 2021

In Habeas Data, Cyrus Farivar does a fantastic job of recapping many of the key privacy-related court cases over the last century that either served as precedents or are useful background for understanding some of the most important data privacy issues of our time. While the legal jargon can be overwhelming for someone without much previous exposure to it (even two years of high school Latin got me only so far), Habeas Data is both meticulously researched and is far more engaging than the topic may sound. Among many things, it is a great response to the tired claim, “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

I was fortunate enough to attend a book reading by Cyrus at my neighborhood library in Oakland that was attended by none other than Lou Katz, who makes an appearance in the next to last chapter. I met Lou at an OpenOakland hack night many years before but had not known that he had founded USENIX.

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