Saturday, January 26, 2008

New book Patriotic Information Systems is not a fast read

Second in a series of reviews of recent books on the topic of government policies and their impact on personal privacy.

This second title is “Patriotic Information Systems,” by Todd Loendorf and G. David Garson, published by IGI Publishing.

The summary explains this book will discuss the inherent “bias” that status-quo IT security systems in the U.S. have toward grassroots and openly protected privacy concerns.

This is not a quick read. Its tone is academic, its approach is scholarly. The three main sections or chapters are: Bush Administration Information Policy and Democratic Values, The Dismantling of Public Information Systems after 9/11 (the decline of freedom of information) and finally, Security, Technology and Democracy.

For reasons that remain unclear, the authors really enjoyed diving into RFID (radio frequency ID) technology. The section on that technology is extensive and actually well-done. But its length is a bit disproportionate to the key questions of the book: namely is the IT system being implemented without adequate safeguards against invasion of privacy?

Its justification seems to have derived from the authors’ extensive research on the topic; too bad they did less explaining about RFID and more analysis of its likely impact.

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