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Introduction > Who Should Read This Book?

Who Should Read This Book?

Everyone—and I'm not saying that just to boost sales (though if you want to buy copies for your friends and loved ones, I won't object). You don't need to be a paranoid nut job holed up in a windowless cabin in Montana to be concerned about the loss of your privacy. Every person above the age of zero has an interest in protecting his or her personal information, whether they know it or not. In fact, most people don't care much about their privacy, although with the boom in identity theft crimes, that's rapidly changing.

From the moment you're born, you enter the data stream—from birth certificates to inoculation records through school, work, marriage, and the great beyond. This data can easily end up in the hands of stalkers or identity thieves, nosy neighbors or snooping spouses, eavesdropping employers, divorce attorneys, business rivals—the list is almost endless. Unless you know what data is available about you and how to protect it, you're a sitting duck.

Luckily, you don't have to be a computer geek to use this book. True, the majority of the material relates to computing and your privacy, and how you can protect yourself. But you can also hand this book to your technology-challenged grandmother and she'll still get plenty out of it—like how to free herself from telemarketers and junk faxers, how to protect her medical and financial information, and how to find out what her favorite grocery store knows about her and who they're telling.

Most important, this book is just a beginning. Privacy is a complex topic impossible to cover in a mere 170 pages—or even a book five times that long. Think of Computer Privacy Annoyances as a gateway to other sources—the first stop on your journey toward a more private life.

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