Sunday, July 27, 2008

Doctorow, Cory. LITTLE BROTHER

How much is your identityworth? I have a friend who just tried to renew his driver's license only to find out there was a warrant out for him in another state. He has never even been to that state but his identity has been stolen and now he is a wanted man. He is trying to clear up the situation but it has been hard. In the meantime, he can't have his driver's license, he can't take the new job in the school district that he's been offered, he can't collect unemployment and his life is just a jumble. It has taken awhile but it looks as if his nightmare may be coming to an end but he has lost so much in the meantime. He and his wife are in the process of adopting a baby and that has had to be put on hold.

We hear about identity theft and until it happens to us or someone we know, we may be unaware of how much our lives can be disrupted because of it. And yet many of us give away our privacy everyday. We give away our information for a chance to win a prize. We put lots of personal information into our myspace account. Kids are telling way too much about themselves on the Internet not realizing that the information is there forever. And may be used by strangers. And may come back to kick them (think drunk pirate teacher case). We really need to step back and rethink things. And teach the kids to do the same.

And then there is national security. How much are we willing to let the government do to "keep us safe"? Taking library computers? Strip searches in the airport? Cory Doctorow's new book looks at what may happen if we give up too much of our privacy and too many of our rights. Although a work of fiction, it is certainly not too unbelievable that things like this can happen. What do you think? Should we give up our rights? Is it worth it? Are we safer when old ladies are strip searched in airports?

Doctorow, Corey. LITTLE BROTHER

It was just supposed to be a harmless afternoon of skipping school. Techno-geek Marcus bypasses the school security to escape with his friends to spend the afternoon playing games. But they certainly couldn't have known that a terrorist attack on San Francisco would change their lives forever. Picked up by the Department of Homeland Security, Marcus is held in an undisclosed location for 6 days and faces intense interrogation. When he is finally released, he is warned not to tell anyone where he has been. San Francisco is now little more than a police state and the DHS is controlling everything. Just how much of their privacy will the population give up to feel secure? Is there anyway that a group of teens can bring down the government? Should they even try?

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