In Industry Unbound, Waldman Exposes how Big Tech Systematically Undermines Our Privacy


09.24.21 —There are many new privacy laws, tens of thousands of privacy professionals and new privacy offices all tasked with protecting our privacy from inside the information industry. So why does our privacy seem more out of reach than ever? Sunglasses that spy, in-home assistants that listen to everything, websites that track our every move online. These aren’t accidents. The system is working just as its designed to work. In Industry Unbound: The Inside Story of Privacy, Data, and Corporate Power (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Professor Ari Ezra Waldman exposes exactly how the tech industry conducts its ongoing crusade to undermine our privacy, undermine privacy law and subjugate us all in the process. Based on nearly four years of research (interviews, observations, embedded fieldwork and reviews of confidential documents), Industry Unbound shows that tech companies do not just lobby against privacy law, they also manipulate how we, their employees and policymakers think about privacy, how their engineers design new technologies and how their privacy professionals — regardless of their good intentions — are manipulated and co-opted into serving industry’s surveillance goals. While many claim that privacy law is getting stronger, Industry Unbound shows otherwise: Recent changes in privacy laws are exactly the kinds of changes that corporations want, with even those who consider themselves privacy advocates often unknowingly complicit in data extraction.

“I hope this book proves useful to everyone: scholars, students, policymakers, civil society and those working in privacy,” said said Professor Ari Ezra Waldman, faculty director of Northeastern Law's Center for Law, Information and Creativity (CLIC). “Industry Unbound's goal is nothing less than the wholesale remaking of privacy law and the privacy profession as we know them. What we've been doing isn't working. We're on a dangerous path. And that's because we've been blind to how tech companies are manipulating privacy law from within. Not anymore.”

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