David Schmidt Ph.D.
The book, Blown to Bits, uncovers the many ways that the new digital world has changed and is changing our whole environment. Some changes are incremental but others are more revolutionary. Some of the changes that we welcome are slowly eroding our privacy and are changing the rules of ownership. This book illuminates the complexities of these changes. I have attempted to capture the central points in selected chapters, and in some cases I have added new material or new examples to replace dated material. I picked chapters to summarize that address the following topics (and more). There are many pieces of data that exist about each of us that aggregators can piece together often because we willingly give it up to receive some service. Because of that we have little privacy left. Ownership of digitized content is being redefined legally because digital copies are as good as the original and because those copies are difficult to control. The change from an analog world to a digital world is revolutionary, and the social customs and laws are slow to adapt to the change. Encryption now is generally accepted by legislators because it is necessary for banking transactions and other commercial activity, but it gives rise to activities such as the dark web (example, the Silk Road). How does the technology behind the dark web work? The pervasive nature of digital images, digital text, GPS data, metadata, and the nature of software applications makes inadvertent disclosure of information almost impossible to control. How can laws be fashioned to control predatory behavior on the web? The supplementary materials I have created unpacks the chapters that focus on these issues. In addition I have added other materials useful for instructors who choose to use the book (some technical material, assignments and rubrics).
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