Give me your best essays on secrecy and privacy.
January 12, 2011 12:14 PM   Subscribe

What are some very well written, brief, persuasive articles (not very short-form journalism) on questions of secrecy and privacy?

I'm teaching a Freshman composition course next semester where the readings (for student analysis, summary, and discussion) will cluster around the general theme of privacy and secrecy, particularly as those issues involve technology. I've already got a handful of good articles on Assange and Wikileaks and a nice piece or two on Facebook and privacy concerns.

Ideally, they should

1) Be under 15 pages. My students can read, but it's a hard sell to get them to read long things.
2) Be well written. Straight reportage in newspaperspeak doesn't act as the model I'll want to present.
3) Show good argumentation and support. Documentation is a plus. Laughably bad argumentation may also be interesting.
4) Be freely available on the web (though I can copy and distribute must-haves).
5) Use interesting events and generally appeal to students who are not well informed and perhaps not as intellectually curious as they might be.

I will be googling frantically, of course, but I figured you all might have some bookmarks.
posted by LucretiusJones to Education (3 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I enjoy Bruce Schneier's writing on this sort of thing. He an expert, he tends to not employ crazy hyperbole and his writingh is readable. You can click around in his essays but I'd suggest

The Failure of Cryptography to Secure Modern Networks
When to Change Passwords
It Will Soon Be Too Late to Stop the Cyberwars

danah boyd's SXSW keynote last year about privacy is a terrific and persuasive essay. It's called Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity. This is a very old essay but it's great at untangling how what we think of as private can become public: Accidental Privacy Spills: Musings on Privacy, Democracy, and the Internet. James Grimmelmann also writes a lot of great stuff on his own blog and many of his publications are available online including a few on privacy.
posted by jessamyn at 12:32 PM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

2nding Schneier.
Also, the EFF has a lot of good stuff here.
posted by spasm at 3:14 PM on January 12, 2011

'I've Got Nothing To Hide, And Other Misunderstandings of Privacy' by Prof. Daniel Solove

link seems to be down now, but it should be back up soon.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:06 PM on December 29, 2011

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