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By mapping out obfuscation tools, practices, and goals, Brunton and Nissenbaum provide a valuable framework for understanding how people seek to achieve privacy and control in a data-soaked world. This important book is essential for anyone trying to understand why people resist and challenge tech norms, including policymakers, engineers, and users of technology -- danah boyd, author of It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens and founder of Data & Society Obfuscation is an intelligently written handbook for subversives. I found the historical examples fascinating and the ethical discussion thought-provoking. -- Lorrie Faith Cranor, Director, CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University This book presents a fascinating collection of examples of decoys, camouflage, and information hiding from the human and animal worlds, with a discussion of how such techniques can be used in applications from privacy online through search optimization to propaganda and deception. It leads to discussion of informational justice, and the extent to which camouflage can perhaps help people hide in plain sight online. -- Ross Anderson, Professor of Security Engineering, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

About the Author

Finn Brunton is Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University and the author of Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet (MIT Press). Helen Nissenbaum is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication and Computer Science at New York University, where she is Director of the Information Law Institute.


At Obfuscation's core is a dystopian vision, offering solutions for 'users' who are assumed to have enough want-to and know-how to follow the authors down this road. It is a shame that obfuscation to this degree has become necessary. But at least we are now armed with the necessary knowledge, thanks to this book. -Times Higher Education
Right now we're being watched. It might not be literal watching: it might be that a computer somewhere, owned by a government or a corporation, is collecting or mining the crumbs of data we all left around the world today.... When it comes to maintaining their digital privacy, many people probably think about software like encrypted messaging apps and Tor browsers. But as Brunton and Nissenbaum detail in Obfuscation, there are many other ways to hide one's digital trail. Obfuscation, the first book-length look at the topic, contains a wealth of ideas for prankish disobedience, analysis-frustrating techniques, and other methods of collective protest. -Motherboard

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