Book Review: American Spies - Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, and What to Do About It

The story of U.S. surveillance — its promises and its pitfalls — is challenging to communicate in 300 pages. That the amount of publicly available information surrounding these measures is so severely limited makes the articulation of surveillance’s “Golden Age” an even more arduous task. Any book addressing modern surveillance faces these hurdles, yet Jennifer Stisa Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, manages to provide an expansive, nuanced, and engaging assessment of the complex surveillance state under which people in America live. American Spies is accessible to a wide audience, acting as an introduction to modern surveillance or a review for experienced lawyers. Indeed, the layperson who does not have extensive knowledge regarding surveillance law can engage in a worthwhile manner, as long as one manages the necessarily expansive use of acronyms in the text.