Monday, March 28, 2016
The God's Eye View by Barry Eisler
Basically, in the novel, the NSA has built this terrifying surveillance system called The God's Eye View. With it, everyone can be (and probably is) monitored 24/7. However, when news of this system falls into the hands of a journalist, Anders, the director of the NSA, employs more and more extreme measures to shut him up.
Coming into this mess is Evie, an NSA employee who's beginning to have doubts about what she's doing. But when the man who's sent to spy on her falls in love with her... Well, that's where the NSA's plans start to unravel.
The scary thing about this book is that it could totally be real. Actually, I'm pretty sure that the tech companies (Google, Facebook) already employ some form of this, as a way of data mining. We just sign away our rights without reading the fine print.
Apart from the plausibility of this scenario coming to life/already present, what I found interesting about this book were the characters. There were sides, yes, but each side believed that it was right. It's a bit like Cory Doctorow's Little Brother - are you for privacy, or will you give it up to potentially catch terrorists? The villain of the piece wasn't out for world/country domination. He just assumed that his methods were the best way to protect his country.
While the book has a somewhat happen ending (for the time being), the ending also leaves the possibility of a repeat incident happening in the future. When you get drunk on power, and have unlimited access to information, it's too easy to lose your humanity.
And a warning for the squeamish: there are graphic sexual and violent scenes in the book. I had to skip quite a few pages myself.
Overall, a well-written thriller, and one that will probably make the reader paranoid (or even more paranoid) about having her movements tracked. Looks like just not turning on the GPS isn't enough.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.