Online Privacy

A Reference Handbook

by Robert Gellman and Pam Dixon


Here's a frightening fact: more than 500 million online records have been breached since 2005. Even seemingly innocent online activity—such as having a Twitter account or responding to online advertising—can affect the security of your private information. Protecting individuals' privacy online while still allowing the Internet to be used to facilitate communication in our digital world is a vexing challenge.

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Cover image for Online Privacy

September 2011


Pages 295
Volumes 1
Size 6x9
Topics Current Events and Issues/Society

The Internet is great—until someone hacks your accounts or otherwise violates your privacy. This expert book provides a thorough and up-to-date overview of the key issues and risks relative to online privacy and explains how to counter those risks with solutions everyone needs to know.

Rampant violation of online privacy is a problem of epic proportions—and impossible to stamp out. Online Privacy: A Reference Handbook provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand investigation of the history of and controversies surrounding online privacy. It overviews the most critical issues involving topics such as social networking and online medical records. Along the way, this book shares insights and information from experts active in the field and exposes many misconceptions about what is and isn't considered private in the online world.

Authors Dixon and Gellman begin with an overview of online privacy that elucidates why this 21st century issue is so critical. They provide key guideposts throughout the book that allow readers to grasp these complex and ever-changing issues, addressing topics that include what comprises online privacy today, what protections exist in current law, and current challenges in international online privacy. The authors also present practical expert advice, providing measures and strategies that readers can take to protect themselves.


  • Illustrative source materials from leading privacy institutions, government, and academia, including research reports, legal cases, laws, regulations, treaties, and codes of conduct
  • A first-of-its kind chronology of online privacy events, people, organizations, key publications, and agreements
  • Biographies of key individuals and organizations relative to online privacy
  • An up-to-date glossary of hundreds of online privacy terms
  • A substantial reference section including sound clips, video, and other interactive privacy materials


  • Provides a rich overview of online privacy issues as they have developed over the past 20 years and as they are developing today
  • Provides a simplified pathway to understanding privacy's highly complex legal, technological, and policy issues
  • Gathers and analyzes the core issues and tensions in online privacy, such as opt-in, data retention, First Amendment rights versus privacy rights, and self regulation
  • Highlights key individuals and organizations in online privacy
Series Description

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of Internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


  • Subject coverage spans six main categories:
  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
  • Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that supports statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, Web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
Author Info

Robert Gellman is a privacy consultant, graduate of Yale Law School, and former chief counsel to a House of Representatives subcommittee responsible for privacy legislation.

Pam Dixon is the executive director of the World Privacy Forum where she has published numerous influential privacy studies. She testifies frequently on privacy matters before Congress and other federal agencies. A former educator and journalist, Dixon has written seven books and hundreds of articles.

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