Our guest Christian Parenti has written a new book called THE SOFT CAGE: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror (Basic Books), a vivid and chilling chronicle of the role of surveillance in American life-from the antebellum South to the computerized landscape of the futuristic present. In this provocative and insightful study, Parenti explores the history, technology, and politics of everyday surveillance. THE SOFT CAGE explores the relentless growth of surveillance in the United States-from controlling slaves in the old South, in implementing early criminal justice, in tracking immigrants, and in establishing modern social work. It also explores the role of computers in creating a whole new (some would say terrifying) world of seemingly benign surveillance technologies-such as credit cards, ID numbers, electronic toll collection, EZ Pass, tracking systems for delivery trucks, and iris scanners at airports.

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