Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance

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Overview


"Everyone of us is under the omniscient magnifying glass of the government and corporate spies. . . . How do we respond to this smog of surveillance? Start by reading Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance by Heidi Boghosian"--Bill Moyers

"With ex-CIA staffer Edward Snowden’s leaks about National Security Agency surveillance in the headlines, Heidi Boghosian’s Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public...

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Overview


"Everyone of us is under the omniscient magnifying glass of the government and corporate spies. . . . How do we respond to this smog of surveillance? Start by reading Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance by Heidi Boghosian"--Bill Moyers

"With ex-CIA staffer Edward Snowden’s leaks about National Security Agency surveillance in the headlines, Heidi Boghosian’s Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance feels especially timely. Boghosian reveals how the government acquires information from telecommunications companies and other organizations to create databases about 'persons of interest.'” -- Publishers Weekly

"Heidi Boghosian's Spying on Democracy is the answer to the question, 'if you're not doing anything wrong, why should you care if someone's watching you?'"—Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU and former FBI agent

Until the watershed leak of top-secret documents by Edward Snowden to the Guardian UK and the Washington Post, most Americans did not realize the extent to which our government is actively acquiring personal information from telecommunications companies and other corporations. As made startlingly clear, the National Security Agency (NSA) has collected information on every phone call Americans have made over the past seven years. In that same time, the NSA and the FBI have gained the ability to access emails, photos, audio and video chats, and additional content from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, YouTube, Skype, Apple, and others, allegedly in order to track foreign targets.

In Spying on Democracy, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian documents the disturbing increase in surveillance of ordinary citizens and the danger it poses to our privacy, our civil liberties, and to the future of democracy itself. Boghosian reveals how technology is being used to categorize and monitor people based on their associations, their movements, their purchases, and their perceived political beliefs. She shows how corporations and government intelligence agencies mine data from sources as diverse as surveillance cameras and unmanned drones to iris scans and medical records, while combing websites, email, phone records and social media for resale to third parties, including U.S. intelligence agencies.

The ACLU's Michael German says of the examples shown in Boghosian's book, "this unrestrained spying is inevitably used to suppress the most essential tools of democracy: the press, political activists, civil rights advocates and conscientious insiders who blow the whistle on corporate malfeasance and government abuse." Boghosian adds, “If the trend is permitted to continue, we will soon live in a society where nothing is confidential, no information is really secure, and our civil liberties are under constant surveillance and control.” Spying on Democracy is a timely, invaluable, and accessible primer for anyone concerned with protecting privacy, freedom, and the U.S. Constitution.

Heidi Boghosian is the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild. She co-hosts Law and Disorder, broadcast on WBAI-FM in New York and over forty stations nationwide. She is based in New York City.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/16/2013
In a typical day "your image is caught on surveillance cameras at least 200 times," warns Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, in this well-researched dossier on the pervasive lengths the U.S. government and corporations will go to track citizens' personal habits. Rejecting the notion that the domestic "surveillance net" of technologies such as biometric scanning, drones, and RFID chips keep Americans safer from terrorism, the author argues that such relentless scrutiny makes Americans less free by silencing critics and encouraging complacency with waning expectations of privacy. Timely examples are provided, including one from a Pennsylvania school district which remotely monitored students via cameras on school laptops, as well as a breakdown of the police tactics used during the Occupy movement. These examples are carefully connected to their societal consequences: among the areas directly affected, claims the author, are free speech, attorney-client privileges, investigative journalism, and the ability to protest injustice. Boghosian concludes with a survey of organizations devoted to protecting civil liberties. But real freedom, she stresses, must be defended on the personal level through committed encouragement of dissent. An informative read for parents, students, and activists, especially those interested in the implications of technology in today's society. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"Reading this book, one realizes that the US government has initiated a double standard in its attempts to define democracy through the spying policy. Instead of creating national safety by means of mass surveillance, the constant monitoring of people while they shop, ride in elevators, tour museums, stand in line at banks, use ATMs or merely walk down street has the opposite effect."--Donny Syofyan, The Jakarta Post

"Heidi Boghosian is a brave and patriotic individual in the same manner as Edward Snowden. If the efforts of these patriots go unheeded we are in for a sorry ride to the end of freedom of speech and expression. Buy the book. Inform yourself. And remember, everyone is always watching you."--Emanuele Corso, Grassroots Press

"In a dozen short, punchy, and very readable chapters, Boghosian paints a picture of an increasingly integrated, government-corporate surveillance hydra. . . . Boghosian combines an activist’s commitment and first-person experiences--along with an extensive knowledge of court decisions, government reports, whistleblower revelations, and media accounts--to tell her compelling story."--David Rosen, The Brooklyn Rail

"If the Edward Snowden and NSA spying incidents peaked your interest in surveillance, Spying on Democracy by Heidi Boghosian is sure to quench your thirst. Within these pages, you’ll discover a whole new world of surveillance you never even knew existed."-- Jennifer Melville, San Francisco Book Review

"It's nearly impossible to name a more timely book than Heidi Boghosian's Spying on Democracy . . ." --Lou Fancher, Vallejo Times Herald

"Heidi Boghosian’s Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance is a timely, controversial, and engaging account of government and corporate surveillance of daily life. . . . Ms. Boghosian is a gifted writer." -- Jeffrey D. Simon, The New York Journal of Books

"Spying on Democracy is an excellent collection . . . fast-paced, active, and punctuated with photographs . . . a colorful, illustrative primer on governmental and private-sector intelligence gathering. "-- Julia Horwitz, The Electronic Privacy Information Center Newsletter

"Modern life has a way of making us forget the deep political power of privacy. Spying on Democracy shakes that complacency, explaining how journalists, attorneys, political dissidents, religious groups, even children, are subject to ever new forms of surveillance in the name of convenience, marketing, and security. This book's great contribution is to remind us how government and private-sector control over information can have shocking implications for freedom and democracy."—Alexandra Natapoff, author of Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice

"Heidi Boghosian's Spying on Democracy is the answer to the question, 'if you’re not doing anything wrong, why should you care if someone’s watching you?’ It’s chock full of stories about how innocent people’s lives were turned upside-down by public and private sector surveillance programs. But more importantly, it shows how this unrestrained spying is inevitably used to suppress the most essential tools of democracy: the press, political activists, civil rights advocates and conscientious insiders who blow the whistle on corporate malfeasance and government abuse."—Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU and former FBI agent

"It's about time someone reverses the spy lens, and exposes the corporations and government agencies behind a new wave of surveillance. In Spying on Democracy, Heidi Boghosian draws on her extensive legal and activist experience to document a web of surveillance stretching between private industry and the state. It's a chronicle of rogue spy operations, but it's also a damning indictment of how our privacy rights are violated in ways that are shockingly legal. The material here is unsettling, but Boghosian's message is not that we should attempt to hide in the shadows; it's that we must be out front, loud, and on the side of the journalists and dissidents whose rights are most threatened." -- Will Potter, author of Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege

"Spying on Democracy puts a laser focus on a challenge faced by millions of Americans who, like me, took a solemn oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. What does that oath require of us now, as most of our co-citizens nod an acquiescent 'yes,' when NY Mayor Bloomberg (of 'stop-and-frisk' fame) tells us that, after the Boston bombing,'our interpretation of the Constitution has to change?' The naive 'but-I’ve-got-nothing-to-hide' reaction betrays how little most Americans know of history, and how willing they are to watch our Constitution shredded . . . Grateful applause for another young lawyer with the guts to tell it like it is. Let’s hope Americans will read Heidi Boghosian’s Spying on Democracy and learn from it. For, as Dr. King put it, 'There is such a thing as too late.'"—Raymond McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

"In a typical day 'your image is caught on surveillance cameras at least 200 times,' warns Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, in this well-researched dossier on the pervasive lengths the U.S. government and corporations will go to track citizens' personal habits. Rejecting the notion that the domestic 'surveillance net' of technologies such as biometric scanning, drones, and RFID chips keep Americans safer from terrorism, the author argues that such relentless scrutiny makes Americans less free by silencing critics and encouraging complacency with waning expectations of privacy. Timely examples are provided, including one from a Pennsylvania school district which remotely monitored students via cameras on school laptops, as well as a breakdown of the police tactics used during the Occupy movement. These examples are carefully connected to their societal consequences: among the areas directly affected, claims the author, are free speech, attorney-client privileges, investigative journalism, and the ability to protest injustice. Boghosian concludes with a survey of organizations devoted to protecting civil liberties. But real freedom, she stresses, must be defended on the personal level through committed encouragement of dissent. An informative read for parents, students, and activists, especially those interested in the implications of technology in today's society."--Publishers Weekly

"Heidi Boghosian, the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, examines the nexus of corporate power, the US surveillance state and resistance to both. In addition to discussing the history of spying on Americans by Americans, and the ways Americans have resisted individually and organizationally, many of the chapters focus on how people are categorized and monitored based on their activities. These range from how the NYPD has spied on bicyclist activists and helped Citibank and MasterCard corporatize cycling in NYC; spying on children at McDonalds; spying on the press; spying on lawyers and progressive lawyer associations like the National Lawyers Guild and the People's Law Office; the use of drones; and environmental activists. The book is part catalogue and history, but also concludes with an eye toward further activism."--Book News Inc.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872865990
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 8/6/2013
  • Series: City Lights Open Media
  • Pages: 350
  • Sales rank: 272,327
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 6.92 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author


Heidi Boghosian is the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild and oversees the legal defense of protesters and individuals targeted by the government. She co-hosts the program "Law and Disorder" based out of Pacifica radio network’s WBAI, New York, and is broadcast to more than 25 states on over 42 stations. Selected writings by Boghosian include Punishing Protest (National Lawyers Guild 2007), Applying Restraints to Private Police(Missouri Law Review 2005), and The Assault on Free Speech, Public Assembly, and Dissent (North River Press 2004). Her books reviews have appeared in The Federal Lawyer and the New York Law Journal.
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  • Posted September 6, 2013

    Important Revelations Here that Describe the Current Assault on the U.S. Constitution and Citizen Rights

    Released this year, just before the Snowden NSA links, Heidi Boghosian reveals government and corporate threats to our democracy, from RFID chips imbedded in our stuff to the harassment of people for their political beliefs and activism. Boghosian is the Executive Director of the National Lawyer's Guild and is at the forefront of the battle for our Constitutional rights and liberties. There's much in this book that is not discussed (at length, if ever) in the mainstream corporate news media. I recommend this to all who might find all the intrusive corporatocracy disconcerting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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