The Spy in the Coffee Machine

Pages: 280
Subject: Current Affairs
Imprint: Oneworld

The Spy in the Coffee Machine

The End of Privacy as We Know It

Kieron O'Hara, Nigel Shadbolt

A startling exposé of the surveillance state we didn't even know existed: from CCTVs to blogging, from cookies to RFID tags, we are watched more than ever before.
9781851685547 (25 Apr 2008)
RRP £24.00 / US$35.00

The Book

We are entering a new state of global hypersurveillance. As we increasingly resort to technology for our work and play, our electronic activity leaves behind digital footprints that can be used to track our movements. In our cars, telephones, even our coffee machines, tiny computers communicating wirelessly via the Internet can serve as miniature witnesses, forming powerful networks whose emergent behaviour can be very complex, intelligent, and invasive. The question is: how much of an infringement on privacy are they? Exposing the invasion of our privacy from CCTVs to blogs, The Spy in the Coffee Machine explores what—if anything—we can do to prevent it from disappearing forever in the digital age, and provides readers with a much needed wake-up call to the benefits and dangers of this new technology.

Additional Information

Subject Current Affairs
Pages 280
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Kieron O'Hara is Senior Research Fellow in Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, UK. He is the author or co-author of nine other books about technology, politics and society, including Power, Poverty, and the Digital Divide, also published by Oneworld.

Nigel Shadbolt is Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Southampton, UK, and was President of the British Computer Society in its 50th anniversary year 2006-2007. He is Chief Technology Officer of internet security firm Garlik, and a director of the Web Science Research Initiative. He is both a chartered psychologist and a chartered engineer, and sits on a number of UK national science and technology committees.


" A striking and readable book"

- Retain Security

"Shadbolt and O'Hara have kick-started a new debate about what we mean by privacy."

- The Sunday Times

"Timely and balanced, their book The Spy in the Coffee Machine is a scary treatise about the way technology has eroded privacy and continues to do so … The chief lesson of this excellent and potent short book is that we have to learn how to live with these actualities."

- New Scientist

"Though the questions around CCTV, blogs and the internet, and RFID (radio frequency identification) are complex - and without easy answers - the authors cover much ground, always readably"

- Professional Security Magazine

"this book will give anyone concerned about the growing number of CCTV cameras in our streets or the way young people expose their secrets on Facebook a sound appreciation of the wider issues.

- BBC Focus

"While critics have variously demanded control over the internet, the practical means have been ignored; O'Hara and Shadbolt readdress this, offering detailed accounts of how technology that threatens privacy can be used to protect it." Catherine Humble

- The Times Literary Supplement

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