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Robert Ellis Smith's book is both rigorous and creative, careful and lively in the same breath.
To encounter his work for the first time is an eye-opening experience; to delve into it a second or third time is a vastly enriching one.
Ben Franklin's Web Site is a wonderful book - clear, detailed, engaging, hype-free.
So many books have been published on the topic of privacy (especially in recent years).
"Mistrust" recounts early battles over confidentiality in the Post Office, the Census, and Western Union.
"Space" describes the quest for privacy in living arrangements (including the first moves to suburbia after the Civil War) and the lack of privacy on Southern plantations.
Robert Ellis Smith brings the privacy debate back home and to an understandable level in "Ben Franklin's Web Site : Privacy and Curiosity from Plymouth Rock to the Internet." Many privacy books dwell on obscure legal cases that bore the reader to a near state of torpidity. Smith's common sense descriptions and explanations of privacy issues throughout the American experience.
Aside from giving the reader the ability to understand the importance of privacy in a number of critical facets, this book is just plain fun to read.
With more than 25 years of experience writing on privacy issues in his newsletter, Privacy Journal, Smith has written a clear, readable history of privacy in America that weaves the various threads of and threats to privacy together in a well-documented fashion.