Privacy, whether we like it or not, has gone public. We are only just beginning to recognize how the Internet has redefined the relationship between our private lives and the public sphere. Every time we personalize a Web site, join a mailing list, or purchase a book or CD online, we open our lives to an ever-widening data network that offers us scant protection from the prying eyes of corporations, governments, insurance companies, or criminals. Has the e-commerce revolution permanently eroded all personal boundaries, or is it still possible to protect one's personal information in an increasingly wired world?
Charles Jennings and Lori Fena have devoted their careers to this question, most notably as the founders of TRUSTe, the leading privacy assurance and monitoring organization on the Internet. They have been instrumental in developing standards for judging how Web sites use and protect the personal information they collect, and they have advised numerous corporations who recognize that trust is the key to economic growth and expansion in the e-commerce world.
Security experts often say that if you put bars across ninety-nine of your windows but leave the hundredth window open, the invaders can still get in. For computer privacy, then, the question becomes, How can you best monitor that hundredth window? Jennings and Fena answer that question by providing a comprehensive guide to privacy and security in today's fast-moving online world, identifying winning and losing strategies for users and businesses alike. They argue that with so much information about us accessible through the Internet, we now need to think of privacy less as an inalienable right and more as a personal skill to be practiced and sharpened regularly. And for companies doing business on the Web, they demonstrate the critical importance of ensuring a private and secure environment for one's customers.
The Hundredth Window is also an invaluable source of useful information for every citizen of the World Wide Web. Jennings and Fena offer their readers:
- An unsparingly honest assessment of how many popular Web sites handle privacy protection
- Guidelines for evaluating a site's trustworthiness
- Tips and tricks for protecting your private information while surfing online
- Strategies to avoid being followed on the Internet
- An advance look at likely new technologies that could put your privacy at risk
Far from predicting the death of privacy, Jennings and Fena provide the tools and the perspective that will enable us all to preserve our privacy as we enter the twenty-first century, enabling us to enjoy the many benefits that the Internet can offer.