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382 pages, Hardcover
First published April 29, 2008
“It's not about doing something shameful. It's about doing something private. It's about your life belonging to you.”What do you value more - privacy or security? What if the endless security measures lull you into thinking you're safe but are in fact little but an excuse for a tight grip on your, ahem, 'unmentionables' in order to keep you meek and docile?
“I thought I lived in a country where I had rights. You’re talking about defending my freedom by tearing up the Bill of Rights.”But for every Big Brother there is a Little Brother, and here this role is taken on by a 17-year-old technology-savvy young man Marcus Yallow, whose natural incline towards questioning authority (by, really, quoting the Declaration of Independence) and accepting freedom of speech as the undeniable right, combined with the poor luck of ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time make him a target and a victim of those in power - and make him a thorn in their side that they cannot get rid of. Instead of obediently accepting the new reality of 'anti-terrorism' leading to curbing of rights and freedoms, Marcus rallies the young into a cyber war against the Big Brother.
“I couldn't believe it, but there was no other explanation. It had been sheer vindictiveness. My mind reeled at the thought. They had done all that as a mere punishment for defying their authority.What follows is Cory Doctorow's treatise (disguised as a smart and witty novel) on why your freedom and privacy is important and how you can fight back and ask inconvenient questions. Do we have the right to privacy? The right not to succumb to fear-mongering? The right to liberty? The right to freedom and justice for all?
I had been scared. Now I was angry. "Those bastards," I said, softly. "They did it to get back at me for mouthing off."[...]
"I'm going to get them," I whispered, staring at my soda. "I'm going to get them."
Jolu shook his head. "You can't, you know. You can't fight back against that.”