Privacy/tech related novels?

In the thread about Firefox possibly integrating Tor people mentioned novels and I thought that might be an in interesting topic in its own right.

I hadn’t heard of 'Infinite Detail’s before, but I’m going to check it out now, sounds really interesting. And there must be many more great novels and stories related to our topics here, so maybe some folks want to share or exchange recommendations?


I don’t think one could go wrong with Schneier (he’s like the Chuck Norris of Security, Privacy and Cryptography;)…

…from Secrets & Lies in 2000, to Liars and Outliers, to Data and Goliath to his latest (2019) real good read for current times:
Click Here to Kill Everybody (Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World)

(iow, see link for his book list lol


Tom Clancy’s “Net” series.

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The first one coming to my mind is Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress.

When the National Security Agency’s invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage… not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence.

Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.


Ooh, great thread!

Infinite Detail - Tim Maughan (Augmented Reality British Urban Dystopia, check out a short story teaser here:

Daemon - Daniel Suarez (‘AI’, carders, realistic hacking, rogue self driving cars, OSINT, and MMORPG in a pacey thriller)

The Circle - Dave Eggers (Ignore the awful TV show! Fb/Goog mashup creates OS that ousts wind & mac, privacy becomes extinct)

Rainbow’s End - Vernor Vinge (AR and surveillance, fantasy worlds overlaying the real, very clever)

Neuromancer - William Gibson (Cyberpunk, end of story)

Also see:

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After my previous post I remembered Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, how could I have forgotten?

Cryptonomicon zooms all over the world, careening conspiratorially back and forth between two time periods–World War II and the present. Our 1940s heroes are the brilliant mathematician Lawrence Waterhouse, crypt analyst extraordinaire, and gung-ho, morphine-addicted marine Bobby Shaftoe. They’re part of Detachment 2702, an Allied group trying to break Axis communication codes while simultaneously preventing the enemy from figuring out that their codes have been broken. Their job boils down to layer upon layer of deception. Dr. Alan Turing is also a member of 2702, and he explains the unit’s strange workings to Waterhouse. “When we want to sink a convoy, we send out an observation plane first… Of course, to observe is not its real duty–we already know exactly where the convoy is. Its real duty is to be observed… Then, when we come round and sink them, the Germans will not find it suspicious.”

All of this secrecy resonates in the present-day story line, in which the grandchildren of the WWII heroes–inimitable programming geek Randy Waterhouse and the lovely and powerful Amy Shaftoe–team up to help create an offshore data haven in Southeast Asia and maybe uncover some gold once destined for Nazi coffers. To top off the paranoiac tone of the book, the mysterious Enoch Root, key member of Detachment 2702 and the Societas Eruditorum, pops up with an unbreakable encryption scheme left over from WWII to befuddle the 1990s protagonists with conspiratorial ties.

Hash: SHA512

You might also recognise a tool everyone uses in the present time
even if it has a strange name, maybe you will wonder what it would be like
if it existed in real life or then you will be amused to notice that you
have already used it ;)



Oh, Ingress books may also count, sorry for not finding a better link, it’s the AR game by Niantic.

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These works are quite dense, but I would say that many of the works of Foucault regarding the panopticon, with the big one being Discipline and Punish.

Required reading should also include Deleuze’s work on societies of control, particularly Postscript on societies of control and David Lyon’s The Electric Eye.

These works provide needed context on how surveillance interacts with our society, something often missing in these debates.

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Laura Poitras’, “Astro Noise”, isn’t a novel but still worth it.

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A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick.
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick.
The Minority Report short story by Philip K. Dick
The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner - A 70s pre-cyberpunk novel that in many ways predicted a lot of modern “information age” society. IMO Brunner is underappreciated in Sci-fi circles, he was spot on about how society would develop.


1984 by George Orwell :wink:

Took the liberty to say it since no one else did