If you care about your own civil liberties or have ever given even the slightest thought about how all the surveillance equipment we subject ourselves daily might be used against us, Little Brother might just be the best fiction book you read all year. Author Cory Doctorow paints a chilling picture of a near future where San Francisco's Bay Bridge is blown up by terrorists and the Federal government takes up residence in the Bay Area. Everything from traffic light cameras, to FastPass data, to BART fare passes is used to profile 'normal' behaviors and seek out those who deviate from normal. At the center are a group of hacker kids who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on the day the bridge exploded. The kids want their city back and technology plays a central role in making that happen. On a few occasions Marcus, the 17-year-old main character, sounds a bit more like Cory Doctorow former European Director of the EFF than a teenager. Generally speaking the story flows smoothly weaving equal parts techno-thriller, online and hacker culture, and an applied lesson in technologies presented throughout the story. I'll be surprised if this doesn't turn up as a summer blockbuster in the next few years.
Like previous Doctorow offerings, you can download an ebook version of Little Brother for free. And of course, the print version of Little Brother is available on Amazon.