We See It All: Book summary and reviews of We See It All by Jon Fasman

We See It All

Liberty and Justice in an Age of Perpetual Surveillance

by Jon Fasman

We See It All by Jon Fasman X
We See It All by Jon Fasman
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Book Summary

An investigation into the legal, political, and moral issues surrounding how the police and justice system use surveillance technology, asking the question: what are citizens of a free country willing to tolerate in the name of public safety?

The police now have unparalleled power at their fingertips: surveillance technology. Seamless, persistent, even permanent surveillance is available - sometimes already deployed, sometimes waiting for the right excuse. Automatic license-plate readers allow police to amass a granular record of where people go, when, and for how long. Drones give police eyes--and possibly weapons--in the skies. Facial recognition poses perhaps the most dire and lasting threat than any other technology. Algorithms purport to predict where and when crime will occur, and how big a risk a suspect has of re-offending. Tools can crack a device's encryption keys, rending all privacy protections useless.

Embedding himself with both police and community activists in locales around the country - ranging from Newark, NJ and Baltimore, MD, to Los Angeles and Oakland, CA - Jon Fasman looks at how these technologies help police do their jobs, and what their use means for our privacy rights and civil liberties. We want safe streets and fewer criminals, but we also want to protect our privacy rights and civil liberties. Fasman provides a framing for thinking through these issues, exploring questions like: should we expect to be tracked and filmed whenever we leave our homes? Should the state have access to all of the data we generate? Should private companies? What might happen if all of these technologies are combined and put in the hands of a government with scant regard for its citizens' civil liberties?

Through on-the-ground reporting and vivid story-telling, Fasman explores the moral, legal, and political questions these surveillance tools and techniques pose.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A cogent critique of the age of ubiquitous surveillance...An urgent examination of police-state intrusions on the privacy of lawful and law-abiding citizens." - Kirkus Reviews

"[A] deeply reported and sometimes chilling look at mass surveillance technologies in the American justice system...Fasman avoids alarmism while making a strong case for greater public awareness and tighter regulations around these technologies. This illuminating account issues an essential warning about a rising threat to America's civil liberties." - Publishers Weekly

"If you want to understand the stakes and the landscape of surveillance in your life—yes, yours right now—We See It All is an outstanding place to start. Fasman walks his readers through a meticulously balanced review of how police, corporations, local businesses, governments, and ordinary people conspire to exchange real privacy for the feeling of safety. An evocative storyteller, Fasman lays out his case that, because government regulation lags impossibly behind technological advances, the only salve for our predicament is collective awareness. And collective action. The writing is sober and sobering. And, though the recent fires of Minneapolis, Atlanta, Portland, and the nation have not centered squarely on surveillance, Fasman argues convincingly that the next ones very well might." - Phillip Atiba Goff, co-founder and CEO of the Center for Policing Equity and professor of African American studies and psychology at Yale University

"This powerful, engrossing book will challenge your assumptions about persistent surveillance. Jon Fasman makes a clear case for civil liberties and explains how our laws and public safety infrastructure must keep pace with the advancement of technology. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the future and the unintended consequences of artificial intelligence, data, encryption and recognition technology." - Amy Webb, founder of The Future Today Institute, author of The Big Nine and The Signals Are Talking

"Jon Fasman has given us a stellar account of the use of surveillance technologies by the police. It's comprehensive, even-handed, informative, and fun to read." - Barry Friedman, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor, New York University School of Law

This information about We See It All shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Jon Fasman

Jon Fasman is the Washington correspondent of the Economist, having previously been South-East Asia bureau chief and Atlanta correspondent. In addition to his work for the Economist, he is also the author of two novels, both published by The Penguin Press: The Geographer's Library was a New York Times bestseller in 2005 and has been translated into more than a dozen languages; and The Unpossessed City, which was published in autumn of 2018, was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award. Fasman resides in Westchester County, N.Y.

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