Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Do You Know Who's Watching YOU?

If you are a computer geek, an avid role-playing game freak or wonder how your life might change if a terrorist attack occurred in your city, then Little Brother by Cory Doctorow is just the book for you.
Meet Marcus, aka 'w1n5t0n.' He is 'in the know' when it comes to technology, and he uses it to his advantage in school. Marcus and his friends bypass the school's security systems to 'skip out' and run down a clue in Harajuku Fun Madness, an ARG (Alternate Reality Game). While they are moving about in downtown San Francisco, terrorists blow up the Bay Bridge. In the ensuing chaos, Marcus and his friends are detained by Homeland Security, taken to a secret location and interrogated for several days.
When Marcus is released, he discovers his life and the lives of everyone in San Francisco have changed dramatically. They are living in a police state where everyone is treated as a potential terrorist. Marcus, teenage hacker extraordinaire, decides to fight back. And fight back he does, with interesting results.
The book contains some language, and there is a bit of sexual content. Overall, it is a riveting story of how something intended to help and protect us can evolve into the enemy if left unchecked. The technology is mind-blowing and it was tempting to believe the technology described was fictional; however, a bibliography at the end of the book made me realize that yesterday's science fiction is today's reality.