Amy Gajda, a former journalist, and one of the country’s top experts on privacy and the media shares information about her own dossier – her background check. This is an example of how deftly Ms. Gajda weaves her own experiences into a fascinating book. “Despite a placid life”, she writes, “no criminal history, no bankruptcies, no foreclosures, no evictions, nothing that would stand out should someone really want to have a look at what I’m about” she continues, “the private detective I hired to see what he could find, came up with more than two hundred pages of data”. Amy Gajda goes on to tell the reader that there was the mundane information, like her current home address and the sort of information not protected because it’s public record. Then she says, “My dossier swerves into unnerving territory”, and she lists in extraordinary detail, facts that most of us would be shocked to learn are readily available to anyone who decides to probe into our backgrounds. The battle between an individual’s right to privacy and the public’s right to know has been fought for centuries. The founders demanded privacy for all the wrong press-quashing reasons. Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis famously promoted First Amendment freedoms but argued strongly for privacy too, and presidents from Thomas Jefferson through Donald Trump confidently hid behind privacy despite intense public interest in their lives. Today privacy seems simultaneously under siege and surging. And that’s doubly dangerous, argues Amy Gajda. Too little privacy can mean extraordinary profits and power for people who deal in and publish soul-crushing secrets. Too much means the famous and infamous can cloak themselves in secrecy. By the early 2000s, we were on our way to today’s full-blown crisis in the digital age, worrying that smartphones, webcams, basement publishers, and the forever internet had erased the right to privacy completely. Should everyone have privacy in their personal lives? Can privacy exist in a public place? Is there a right to be forgotten even in the United States? Is it too late to get control of data privacy? Amy Gajda shows us how the answers may not be what you expect, or hope, how technology makes these issues more complicated than ever before, and how we can learn from the mistakes of the past as we try to balance privacy and First Amendment freedoms in a modern age.