Solove offers a balanced discussion of the supposed conflicts between security and privacy. A theme running throughout is a dismantling of the notions that privacy = secrecy and that privacy is of only personal and not societal interest. The latter argument has been used by the government, and often affirmed by the courts, as a means of denying standing to those who would sue to force changes in government surveillance of citizens.

Though Solove mentions some of the abuses of the state secrets claims that are being used more and more often by the federal government, I think he could have highlighted those abuses more prominently. We have good evidence that when state secrets are used as a means of preventing judicial review of government actions, the claim probably has more to do with covering up illegal acts than it has with security. Solove alludes to this, and in fact spends several pages discussing it, but I think it would have been worthwhile making this a more pervasive theme.

In any case, this is a book that might be persuasive to some of the ‘security is everything’ crowd, so Solove has done a great service with this book.



Book cover

Metadata Info

  • Title: Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security
  • Author: Daniel J. Solove
  • Published: 2011
  • ISBN: 0300177259
  • Buy: Amazon search
  • Check out: Seattle library
  • Rating: 4.0 stars