I've read about Cory Doctorow when his first novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom came out, but forgot about it and haven't read it at that time.

Now I've stumbled upon him again and started reading his Little Brother – in short, a novel about kids hacking to get their freedom back, because they feel too oppressed, too monitored and in short robbed of their basic freedoms in the almost Orwellian society.

It might sound like sci-fi and the first few pages did feel like it as well, but both the technology and the state of the society are almost identical to what our current lives. And, being an EU-citizen, once I got over that it's located in San Francisco and got used to some of the specifics of the slang, it's quite engulfing!

The story itself is quite exciting and I'd gobble it up in one day, if I was still in high-school, but its strongest point is how it describes all the technology we use today (TOR, PGP/GPG, SSL, encrypted disks, etc. etc.) to try to ensure at least some privacy in our online lives as well as the technology that's used to spy on us (be it just advertising cookies, credit cards or biometrics, CCTV or worse).

So far I've read halfway through it – although I wanted to read only a chapter a day, I couldn't help myself! XD – and if most books about "hackers" show them in just one light, this one seems to try to cover as many aspects as possible. From the hacker's/kid's views, the normal users', worried parents' and those who think that privacy is a small price to pay for the terrorists to be caught. It also shows the possible good as well as the bad consequences that could happen when you deviate from the norm or even fight for your rights.

It's one of those rare books that come out at exactly the right time and are aimed at exactly the right crowd – the high-school kids, as they are the biggest users of the internet, therefore the most vulnerable and also the ones that can make the biggest change. Just today I read in the local paper's NYT supplement on what all crap the advertising and profiling companies (try to) take from us on the 'net. And if it's already normal news in the papers, the shit's hit the proverbial fan already – it's high time the broader public knows about it (especially the kids).

If you haven't yet, read it – go download it for free (it's under CC BY-NC-SA) or rent it or buy it in a bookstore. Give it to a kid you know at least occasionally uses the internet (yeah, every little bugger, I know :P), share it with your friends, spread it around…

I seldom get this passionate about a book, but – by George! – if I was a kid, that book'd be a real eye-opener for me!

hook out → have to stop reading … must learn for exams … have to stop reading … must learn for exams XD

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