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The Silicon Jungle

by Shumeet Baluja

What happens when a naive intern is granted unfettered access to people's most private thoughts and actions? Young Stephen Thorpe lands a coveted internship at Ubatoo, an Internet empire that provides its users with popular online services, from a search engine and shopping to e-mail and social networking. When Stephen's boss asks him to work on a project with the American Coalition for Civil Liberties, Stephen innocently obliges, believing he is mining Ubatoo's vast databases to protect the ever-growing number of people unfairly targeted in the name of national security. But nothing is as it seems. Suspicious individuals--do-gooders, voyeurs, government agents, and radicals--surface, doing all they can to access the mass of desires and vulnerabilities gleaned from scouring Ubatoo's wealth of intimate information. Entry into Ubatoo's vaults of personal data need not require technical wizardry--simply knowing how to manipulate a well-intentioned intern may be enough. Set in today's cutting-edge data mining industry, The Silicon Jungle is a cautionary tale of data mining's promise and peril, and how others can use our online activities for political and personal gain just as easily as for marketing and humanitarian purposes. A timely thriller, The Silicon Jungle raises serious ethical questions about today's technological innovations and how our most confidential activities and minute details can be routinely pieced together into rich profiles that reveal our habits, goals, and secret desires--all ready to be exploited in ways beyond our wildest imaginations.

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