Windows Into the Soul

soulWindows Into the Soul : Surveillance and Society in An Age of High Technology
By Marx, Gary T.
Book – 2016

The library’s barcode sticker on the back generally obscures some unimportant back-cover information but, in this case, it is troublesome: it covers Schneier’s recommendation. I wanted to read that so I found it on the web:

In a world punch-drunk on data, with both governments and corporations Рnot to mention private persons Рincreasingly recording and correlating our every move, Windows Into the Soul is an important and timely book

The author, Gary Marx, is / was an MIT professor who lives and breathes surveillance, in particular, the social and philosophical aspects. This book is not easy reading, but it is thought-provoking.

Death of Cancer

The Death of Cancer –
After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, A Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable — and How We Can Get There, Vincent T. DeVita, 2015

This book is intended for the layman, for anyone who wants to know more about cancer. The author talks of experiences in the clinic, treating patients, and in the research lab, investigating medicines. He discusses how he discovered that medicines can be combined for use in chemotherapy. I like that his lab emphasized the scientific method, at a time when other research hospitals seemed unscientific.

The author is the researcher who discovered how to treat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This type of cancer was the first one for which a cure was discovered, and the author was the first to be bold enough to use the word ‘cure’ when speaking at conferences. He discusses the politics of cancer research, how a research institute can become single-minded in focussing on radiation or surgery to the exclusion of other valid types of treatment. And how politics can determine which institute gets funding, while another more ‘advanced’ institute can be left with inadequate funding (we are talking of large amounts of money, billions of dollars).

The book is well written and engaging, you will not want to put it down. Perhaps it is mostly ‘history’ and not appropriate for mention here, along with books on new technology. But the author has a very current message about the policies of the FDA, which lag far behind the advances of modern medicine. He makes his point real at the start of the book, by talking of the recent death of a friend due to the conservatism of the FDA and of hospital staff.

Law, Privacy and Surveillance

Law, Privacy and Surveillance in Canada in the Post-Snowden Era
Edited by Michael Geist (May 2015)

Years of surveillance-related leaks from US whistleblower Edward Snowden have fuelled an international debate on privacy, spying, and Internet surveillance. Much of the focus has centered on the role of the US National Security Agency, yet there is an important Canadian side to the story. The Communications Security Establishment, the Canadian counterpart to the NSA, has played an active role in surveillance activities both at home and abroad, raising a host of challenging legal and policy questions.

online book from the University of Ottawa