Spying on Democracy

Spying on Democracy
Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance
Foreword by Lewis Lapham





CHOICE Magazine

"Boghosian (executive director, National Lawyers Guild) has written a fairly unbiased, balanced overview of government surveillance, corporate surveillance, and the mingling of the two. Extensive research and notes with popular, accessible media sources as well as scholarly and legal sources make this work approachable to the general public. There are plentiful examples and case studies, all backed with sources. While focused on teh surveillance of protest organizations, other types of surveillance are covered. This is a great introduction for those beginning to read about the current state of surveillance and privacy. Privacy scholars will find the very recent examples and logical arguments compelling. Highly recommended."--J.M. Keller, CHOICE Magazine


The Federal Lawyer

"[The] scope of the book and its understanding and exposure of the many and various ways in which individual liberties are being attacked is its chief virtue. . . . few recognize the pervasiveness of government and corporate spying in our age. But, as Heidi Boghosian reveals, it touches virtually every aspect of our lives, almost from the time we are born."--David Gespass, The Federal Lawyer


"Heidi Boghosian featured in VTDigger.org"
Feb 3, 2014

Heidi Boghosian, the head of the National Lawyers Guild and author of Spying on Democracy, comes to light in VTDigger.org

- Anne Galloway, VTDigger.org

"Heidi Boghosian shares what Americans need to know about spying and civil liberties"
Jan 16, 2014

Surveillance expert and author of the book Spying on Democracy, Heidi Boghosian, shares her thoughts on how President Obama might restore confidence in the National Security Agency (NSA).

- Heidi Boghosian, Bill Moyers and Company

The Commonwealth Magazine covers Boghosian's event
Dec 1, 2013

Cover story on book & event

- The Commonwealth: The Magazine of the Commonwealth Club of California

The Jakarta Post

"Reading this book, one realizes that the US government has initiated a double standard in its attempts to define democracy through the spying policy. Instead of creating national safety by means of mass surveillance, the constant monitoring of people while they shop, ride in elevators, tour museums, stand in line at banks, use ATMs or merely walk down street has the opposite effect."--Donny Syofyan, The Jakarta Post


"Interview on OpEd News"
Dec 1, 2013

A transcript from Boghosian's interview with Rob Kall on his radio program is posted here.

- Rob Kall

Book News, Inc.

"Heidi Boghosian, the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, examines the nexus of corporate power, the US surveillance state and resistance to both. In addition to discussing the history of spying on Americans by Americans, and the ways Americans have resisted individually and organizationally, many of the chapters focus on how people are categorized and monitored based on their activities. These range from how the NYPD has spied on bicyclist activists and helped Citibank and MasterCard corporatize cycling in NYC; spying on children at McDonalds; spying on the press; spying on lawyers and progressive lawyer associations like the National Lawyers Guild and the People's Law Office; the use of drones; and environmental activists. The book is part catalogue and history, but also concludes with an eye toward further activism."--Book News, Inc.


"Interview with Joan Hamburg on WOR AM New York, NY"
Nov 12, 2013

Joan Hamburg at New York's News & Talk Radio WOR 710 AM interviews Heidi Boghosian.

- WOR Radio 710

"Our Man in Boston recognizes Heidi Boghosian"
Nov 11, 2013

Robert Birnbaum gives a shout out to Spying on Democracy.

- Our Man in Boston

"The FDL Book Salon welcomes Heidi Boghosian"
Nov 9, 2013

Heidi Boghosian discussed Spying on Democracy with the FDL Book Salon community. The conversation was moderated by Mike German of the ACLU.

- Mike German, FDL Book Salon

"Heidi Boghosian interviewed by Bill Moyers"
Nov 8, 2013

Executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, Heidi Boghosian, joins Bill Moyers for a conversation on what we all need to know about surveillance in America.

- Bill Moyers and Company

"Book excerpt on Bill Moyers and Company web site"
Nov 7, 2013

Read to find out why surveillance does not make us safer.

- Bill Moyers and Company

Publishers Weekly

"In a typical day 'your image is caught on surveillance cameras at least 200 times,' warns Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, in this well-researched dossier on the pervasive lengths the U.S. government and corporations will go to track citizens' personal habits. Rejecting the notion that the domestic 'surveillance net' of technologies such as biometric scanning, drones, and RFID chips keep Americans safer from terrorism, the author argues that such relentless scrutiny makes Americans less free by silencing critics and encouraging complacency with waning expectations of privacy. Timely examples are provided, including one from a Pennsylvania school district which remotely monitored students via cameras on school laptops, as well as a breakdown of the police tactics used during the Occupy movement. These examples are carefully connected to their societal consequences: among the areas directly affected, claims the author, are free speech, attorney-client privileges, investigative journalism, and the ability to protest injustice. Boghosian concludes with a survey of organizations devoted to protecting civil liberties. But real freedom, she stresses, must be defended on the personal level  through committed encouragement of dissent. An informative read for parents, students, and activists, especially those interested in the implications of technology in today's society."--Publishers Weekly


"Interview with The Jefferson Exchange"
Oct 29, 2013

So you use your "club card" to check out at the supermarket. The clerk thanks you by name, and you get a coupon for an item you might like, based on your past purchases. The store knows some of your habits. Do the things that company knows about you end up in the hands of anybody else? That's one of the key questions of our time, and one of many considered by Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild. Her book on the prevalence of surveillance in our society is Spying on Democracy.

- Geoffrey Riley and Charlotte Duren, Jefferson Public Radio

"Interview on KBOO in Portland, OR"
Oct 10, 2013

Have you ever been talking about government spying when someone says, "Well if you aren't doing anything wrong, Why are you worried?" Heidi Bogoshian's new book, Spying on Democracy is all the answer you’ll need. 

- Linda Olson-Osterlund, KBOO

Grassroots Press

"Heidi Boghosian is a brave and patriotic individual in the same manner as Edward Snowden. If the efforts of these patriots go unheeded we are in for a sorry ride to the end of freedom of speech and expression. Buy the book. Inform yourself. And remember, everyone is always watching you."--Emanuele Corso, Grassroots Press


San Francisco Book Review

"If the Edward Snowden and NSA spying incidents peaked your interest in surveillance, Spying on Democracy by Heidi Boghosian is sure to quench your thirst. Within these pages, you'll discover a whole new world of surveillance you never even knew existed."-- Jennifer Melville, San Francisco Book Review


"Excerpt on The Daily Dot"
Oct 7, 2013

"How apps capture your kids' data without you even knowing" -- An excerpt from the chapter "Spying on Children."

- Heidi Boghosian, Spying on Democracy

"Interview on Marin TV"
Oct 3, 2013

City Lights and the Community Media Center of Marin present Heidi Boghosian discussing Spying on Democracy with Peter B. Collins, live from the Marin TV studio.

- Peter B. Collins, Marin TV

"Heidi Boghosian interviewed on Berkeleyside"
Sep 26, 2013

Heidi Boghosian discusses the rise of surveillance and her new book, Spying on Democracy. 

- Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside

"Interview with Heidi Boghosian"
Sep 25, 2013

"It's nearly impossible to name a more timely book than Heidi Boghosian's Spying on Democracy . . ." 

- Lou Fancher, Times-Herald

"Essay in Playboy Magazine"
Sep 20, 2013

Heidi Boghosian discusses the surveillance state in the October 2013 issue of Playboy Magazine

- Heidi Boghosian, Playboy Magazine

"Interview with Heidi Boghosian"
Sep 18, 2013

Listen to Heidi Boghosian's interview on The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast. 

- Rob Kall, The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show

"Heidi Boghosian interviewed on Coast to Coast AM"
Sep 12, 2013

Boghosian addressed the extent to which the US government is actively acquiring personal information on Americans through their phone calls, emails, and Internet usage. She warned that the government now has the means to suppress the most essential tools of democracy. For instance, they have spied on some reporters, and threatened them with charges of espionage and conspiracy. We really have "an affront, not only to the Constitution, but for an open society where we can keep the government in check rather than having them control us," she stated.

- George Noory, Coast to Coast AM

"Interview with Heidi Boghosian"
Sep 9, 2013

On WLRN's "Topical Currents," Boghosian discusses the increase of surveillance on ordinary citizens through technology, and how this benefits commercial entities as well.

- Joseph Cooper, Bonnie Berman and Paul Leary, WLRN

"Heidi Boghosian discusses how AT&T partners with the Drug Enforcement Agency to spy on Americans"
Sep 3, 2013

While the NSA has been in the news recently for spying on Americans, the Drug Enforcement Agency's "Hemisphere Project" is far bigger. The DEA database tracks every call that goes through an AT&T switch dating back to 1987. Not only that, the Hemisphere Project goes even further than NSA records because it includes location information. The project works by using AT&T employees, paid by the government, to gather data for police officers and agents, using administrative--not judicial--subpoenas that are not overseen by a judge.

- Russia Today

The Brooklyn Rail

"In a dozen short, punchy, and very readable chapters, Boghosian paints a picture of an increasingly integrated, government-corporate surveillance hydra. . . . Boghosian combines an activist's commitment and first-person experiences—along with an extensive knowledge of court decisions, government reports, whistleblower revelations, and media accounts—to tell her compelling story."--David Rosen, The Brooklyn Rail


"Heidi Boghosian interviewed on WPSL, Port St. Lucie, FL's Financial Survival Network"
Sep 3, 2013

Boghosian discusses the role of technology in our daily lives, and the abuses by corporations in accessing our private data.

- Financial Survival Network

"Read an excerpt from Spying on Democracy on Truthout"
Aug 23, 2013

Freedom Cannot Exist Alongside a Massive Surveillance Industrial Complex: They Are Incompatible . . .

- Heidi Boghosian, City Lights Books

"Interview with Heidi Boghosian on Truthout"

From Spying on "Terrorists Abroad" to Using Massive Surveillance to Suppress Domestic Dissent: When We Become the Hunted.  An interview by Mark Karlin with Heidi Boghosian. 

- Mark Karlin, Truthout

"Amazon Received $600 Million CIA Computer Cloud Contract: Surveillance Shopping?"
Aug 21, 2013

How do you think Jeff Bezos will allow the Washington Post to cover surveillance and spying concerns?

- Mark Karlin, Truthout

Electric Review

" . . . Spying On Democracy is the most important book in circulation right now and an absolute must-read for every American"-- John Aiello, Electric Review


Heidi Boghosian interview on Counterspin
Aug 16, 2013

Edward Snowden's NSA's surveillance disclosures have sparked a debate over privacy, spying and civil liberties. Heidi Boghosian in her new book Spying on Democracy tells the history of those issues, and warns about the threat to democracy posed by snooping government agencies and corporations.

- Peter Hart

The New York Journal of Books

"Heidi Boghosian's Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance is a timely, controversial, and engaging account of government and corporate surveillance of daily life. . . . Ms. Boghosian is a gifted writer." -- Jeffrey D. Simon, The New York Journal of Books


"Heidi Boghosian featured on KPFK Los Angeles"
Aug 13, 2013

 Heidi Boghosian's comment was featured as the"Subversive Thought of the Day" on KPFA Los Angeles. 

"Without a free press to expose and challenge it, surveillance will continue unabated in its many forms."- Heidi Boghosian 

- KPFA, Uprising Radio

"What rights do we have on our digital data?"
Aug 11, 2013

Lee Fang from The Nation and Heidi Boghosian from the National Lawyers Guild converse with Karen Finney about the practices companies use to gather digital data.

- Karen Finney, MSNBC

The Electronic Private Information Center Newsletter

"Spying on Democracy is an excellent collection . . . fast-paced, active, and punctuated with photographs . . . a colorful, illustrative primer on governmental and private-sector intelligence gathering. "-- Julia Horwitz, The Electronic Privacy Information Center Newsletter


"Heidi Boghosian interviewed on Russia Today TV"
Aug 8, 2013

The massive surveillance by the NSA continues, but now intelligence officials have come forward to add more detailed information on how exactly the agency sifts through communications. Since Edward Snowden leaked information on the NSA, surveillance has gathered much needed attention and has lawmakers debating the issue. Heidi Boghosian, executive director for the National Lawyers Guild, and Brian Duggan, technologist for Open Technology Institute discuss how Edward Snowden changed the scene.

- Sam Sacks, Russia Today TV

"Heidi Boghosian interviewed on KZYX's 'Forthright Radio' "
Aug 6, 2013

An engaging interview with KZYX's Joy LaClaire about Heidi Boghosian's new book. 

- Joy LaClaire, KZYX

"Excerpt from Spying on Democracy on Utne.com"
Jul 30, 2013

Government Surveillance: Then and Now. Heidi Boghosian discusses whether or not government surveillance really make us safer. 

- Heidi Boghosian, Utne.com

"Interview with Ian Masters on KPFK's 'Background Briefing' "
Jul 25, 2013

Heidi Boghosian discusses the very close 217 to 205 vote in the House that killed an amendment to curb the NSA's authority under section 215 of the Patriot Act to gather metadata on American citizens. She also provides an analysis of the alliance between Tea Party Republicans and progressive Democrats who narrowly lost to a coalition of the NSA, the White House and the Minority and Majority leadership of the House.

- Ian Masters, KPFK's "Background Briefing"

"Whatever Happened to MoveOn.Org? Progressives and NSA Spying"
Jul 13, 2013

"Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyer's Guild, explains that one of the first things the government does is target the individuals who are challenging either its policies or the corporate power structure. Evidence of such targets is mounting. Environmental activists and animal rights activists were labeled the top domestic terrorism threat in 2005. The brutal tactics used to suppress the Occupy movement should have given serious pause to activists on all fronts.
Boghosian points out that the spying program also has serious implications for client/attorney communications. When people know that their conversations are being listened in on, it inevitably alters the way they communicate with their attorney, just as it can stifle what a source reveals to a journalist. . . ."

- Jessica Bernstein

"Heidi Boghosian discusses NSA's surveillance programs on Russia Today"
Jul 5, 2013

Author Heidi Boghosian appeared on Russia Today to discuss the NSA's surveillance programs and whether they are actually legal or not.

- Russia Today

"Heidi Boghosian interview on Democracy Now"
Jun 21, 2013

Boghosian discusses how the FBI's use of drones for U.S. surveillance raises fears over privacy, widening corporate-government ties. 

- Amy Goodman, Democracy Now

"Heidi Boghosian interviewed on Phoenix New Times"
Jun 20, 2013

Boghosian comments upon the Phoenix Police Department's use of federal anti-terrorism resources to track occupy protesters.

- Monica Alonzo, Phoenix New Times

Publishers Weekly

"With ex-CIA staffer Edward Snowden's leaks about National Security Agency surveillance in the headlines, Heidi Boghosian’s Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance feels especially timely. Boghosian reveals how the government acquires information from telecommunications companies and other organizations to create databases about 'persons of interest.'"


"Heidi Boghosian interviewed on Canadian News TV"
Jun 16, 2013

Boghosian discusses the Obama administration's damage-control tactics with the press regarding disclosure of their NSA surveillance programs. 

- Scott Laurie, CTV News

Heidi Boghosian interviewed on KALW's "Your Call"
Jun 13, 2013

"Your Call" explores the impacts of the National Security Agency's data collection system and revelations about tech companies sharing your personal information. Even before this program was exposed, civil liberties advocates called President Obama's record  'dismal.' They say he has expanded the Bush administration's worst policies. What explains this? How is the public responding? And what precedent does this set? Heidi Boghosian answers these questions along with other panelists. 

- Becca Hoekstra, KALW

Heidi Boghosian featured in "99%--The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film"
Jun 12, 2013

From NY Times Stephen Holden's "Critics Notebook": "The movie doesn't disguise its left-wing sympathies with the protesters, and it is bolstered by pungent political commentary from talking heads including Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine; the author Naomi Wolf; and Heidi Boghosian, director of the National Lawyers Guild." 

- Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Heidi Boghosian radio interview"
Jun 11, 2013

Boghosian interviewed about the NSA's surveillance programs on WEAA's "Marc Steiner Show" in Baltimore, MD.

- Marc Steiner, "Mark Steiner Show"

"Heidi Boghosian radio interview"
Jun 10, 2013

Boghosian interviewed about the NSA's surveillance programs on WPKN, Bridgeport, CT's "Between the Line."

- WPKN, Bridgeport, CT's

Kansas City Info Zine
Jun 8, 2013

Heidi Boghosian said today: '"The Obama administration has built on the worst abuses of Bush's 'anti-terrorism' surveillance agenda, expanding and institutionalizing warrantless domestic surveillance, criminalizing certain Internet activity, tightening government secrecy, all based on increasingly secret interpretations of laws like the USA PATRIOT Act."

- Staff infoZine, Kansas City Info Zine

"Heidi Boghosian radio interview"
Jun 8, 2013

Heidi Boghosian interviewed on KPFA, Berkeley, CA's, "Saturday Morning Talkies" with Kris Welsh.  Interview begins at 22 minutes.

- Kris Welsh, KPFA, "Saturday Morning Talkies"

"Essay "The Business of Surveillance" by Heidi Boghosian in Human Rights Magazine"
May 1, 2013

"Cloaked in the name of convenience and expediency, electronic technology is literally embedded in most aspects of modern-daily life. But for every way in which these systems improve life in our society, more sinister applications undermine privacy and threaten human rights, specifically privacy and First Amendment–protected activities. The impending ubiquity of such devices, irrespective of their original purpose, erodes privacy and endangers a robust participatory democracy: The more we grow to accept that all kinds of information will be transmitted about us in everyday life, the more we accede to the potential abuses of this information. In George Orwell's 1984, the all-seeing state was represented by a two-way television set. In a more modern adaptation, it would be represented by the devices we carry in our pockets and the very clothes we wear on our backs."--Heidi Boghosian

- Heidi Boghosian, Human Rights Magazine

"All policing, no protest around the inauguration"
Jan 16, 2013

It will be big on policing and little protest at Obama's inauguration.  Heidi Boghosian, author of the forthcoming City Lights book Spying on Democracy, explains why.

- Natasha Lennard, Salon

"Attorney Heidi Boghosian Speech: National Special Security Events"
Sep 10, 2012

Heidi Boghosian talks about tactical strategies deployed by police during the Republican National Convention in Tampa and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, which challenged the civil rights of protesters.

- Law and Disorder Radio

"One Woman's Data Trail Diary"
Aug 31, 2012

Heidi Boghosian shares an account of her personal data trail with the New York Times.

- Scott Shane, The New York Times

Heidi Boghosian on the "Nerd Scare"
Aug 5, 2011

Heidi Boghosian on the "Nerd Scare," a phrase used by the National Lawyers Guild to describe a wave of subpoenas and indictments aimed at people thought to be members of activist hacker groups.

- Colin Moynihan, The New York Times