ThinkOlio Presents Privacy and the Profit Motive: “If you’re not doing anything wrong then you should have nothing to hide.”

Friday February 17: 7:00PM 8:00PM

The average American living in the digital age willingly hands over dozens of snippets of very personal information to a host of strangers on a daily basis. Sometimes knowingly, but more oftentimes not. Those snippets are then recorded, reconfigured, and redistributed in ways that few people really understand. The United States presently has the weakest information privacy laws among all of the advanced democracies.

How did we get here? Why didn't we see this coming?

This lecture examines the history of large-scale data collection in America from the first census in 1790 to the present day. Topics will include the rise of the welfare state, the advent of mainframe computers, early social and political debates over data privacy and protection, the many problems inherent to the misuse of personal data, and what privacy advocates are presently doing about all this. Front-and-center will be an examination of the all too familiar statement: “If you’re doing nothing wrong then you should have nothing to hide.”

Leading this lecture is Lawrence Cappello, historian and privacy advocate. He is the director of quantitative research at the CUNY Center of Latino Studies and a lecturer of United States history at CUNY Queens College. He has written for The Atlantic and The Nation.

The presenting beer sponsor is Sixpoint Brewery. Wine is generously provided by Maison Cubi

Buy a ticket HERE or at the door to attend. This event will take place in the Rare Book Room on the Strand's 3rd floor, accessible via the store elevator or at 826 Broadway.