Privacy and the Media: Andrew McStay - Privacy and the Media, SAGE: Los Angeles, CA, 2017

Kevin Macnish

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewAcademic

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One of the challenges in approaching a critical analysis of privacy today is the number of different ways in which the privacy of individuals and groups is challenged. No longer is it merely the case (if it ever was) of government intrusion, peeping Toms or reading each other’s diaries. Not that these have gone away, but they have been joined by others relating to social media platforms, corporate data analytics, wearable technology and the ubiquitous mobile phone as potential threats to our privacy.
In Privacy and the Media, Andrew McStay has written an introductory text that attempts to cover these many areas through the lens of media studies. The intended audience, McStay informs the reader, is not the specialist but is rather the ones seeking an overview and that is indeed what he provides. The analysis is therefore also necessarily limited, but the work remains balanced and descriptive, seeking to present the issues and asking rather than answering the questions these issues raise. He makes the point throughout that ‘privacy is the number one issue for critical accounts of media today’ (p. 187).
The book is divided into three parts: journalism and politics, corporate interests and the body. Clearly there is overlap between each of these areas, and McStay handles this well. It does, however, mean that the book is best read cover-to-cover rather than as an opportunity to get acquainted with, say, the arguments regarding big data. This is particularly so as regards the concept of privacy itself which, despite having its own chapter at the outset, continues to grow and morph as the book progresses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-102
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean journal of communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2018


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