Protecting Yourself Online: The Definitive Resource on Safety and Privacy in Cyberspace

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9780062515124: Protecting Yourself Online: The Definitive Resource on Safety and Privacy in Cyberspace

Like any new frontier, cyberspace offers both exhilarating possibilities and unforeseen hazards. As personal information about us travels the globe on high-speed networks, often with neither our knowledge nor our consent, a solid understanding of privacy and security issues is vital to the preservation of our rights and civil liberties. In reaping the benefits of the information age while safeguarding ourselves from its perils, the choices we make and the precedents we establish today will be central in defining the future of the electronic frontier.

Since 1991, the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has worked to protect freedoms and advocate responsibility in new media and the online world. In Protecting Yourself Online,  Robert Gelman has drawn on the collective insight and experience of EFF to present a comprehensive guide to self-protection in the electronic frontier. In accessible, clear-headed language, Protecting Yourself Online  addresses such issues as:

  • avoiding spam [junk mail]
  • spotting online scams and hoaxes
  • protecting yourself from identity theft and fraud
  • guarding your email privacy [and knowing when you can't]
  • assessing the danger of viruses
  • keeping the net free of censorship and safe for your children
  • protecting your intellectual property

Produced by the leading civil libertarians of the digital age, and including a foreword by one of the most respected leaders in global business and the cyberworld, Esther Dyson, Protecting Yourself Online is an essential resource for new media newcomers and old Internet hands alike.

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Review:

Too many cyberspace pundits fail to deliver constructive ideas on how to deal with issues of safety, privacy, and censorship online. Protecting Yourself Online, penned by members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), is a splendid exception that makes good on its claim to be the definitive resource for practical solutions to these problems.

The authors cover a lot of territory in a concise, direct manner. Among the topics are free expression and online censorship, reconciling individual liberties with community standards, secure communications and online commerce, and the protection of intellectual property online. One excellent chapter deals with netiquette, spam, hackers, computer viruses, and flames. A major focus is placed on recognizing online spoofs and scams, whether it be an e-mail advertisement that is too good to be true or people who aren't who they say they are.

Additional topics include protecting yourself from spam and mail bombs, issues of government control online, and how can you protect your personal information (including credit-card numbers, medical information, and passwords) by using encryption and authentication. The book also delves into dealing with e-mail flames, children on the Internet, and even how the U.S. Constitution might apply over an international network. Each issue is discussed calmly, rationally, and without sensationalism.

The EFF, founded in 1990 as a nonprofit organization to defend civil liberties and rights in cyberspace, has consistently been at the forefront of the debate on freedom and responsibility online. Perhaps its most famous case was the campaign against online censorship that started in reaction to the Communications Decency Act's initial passage. --Elizabeth Lewis

About the Author:

Robert Gelman is a writer, editor, musician, interactive media developer, and event producer, with his roots in the performing arts. His company, BG and Associates, provides audio and other content for companies such as Mindscape Entertainment, Disney, and America Online.

He serves as a contributing editor to InterActivity Magazine and is a regular contributor to newspapers and journals on subjects of interest to interactive media developers.

He was co-founder and producer of the seminal CyberArts International conferences and festivals, producer of the Digital Be-In, and dozens of other live high-technology events. He is a judge for the Global Information Infrastructure Awards and is a fellow of the Seybold Institute.

For those interested in a digest of views from many corners about cyber-rights and responsibilities, he offers a free email-delivered newsletter.

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