I just finished reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.
As a regular reader of BoingBoing, I can not help but be a bit of a Cory Doctorow fan, but until now I had not read any of his works of fiction. This excellent book was a nice diversion from all the space science fiction I have been reading lately. W1n5t0n (Winston) is a cocky 17 year old who empowers himself with technology to overcome his schools surveillance systems. He thinks he has the system beat until he and his friends are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time immediately after a terrorist bomb attack in San Francisco. He quickly learns that the Department of Homeland Security is not like the police and don’t trouble themselves with the rules of the American justice system. Even though he knows it is crazy to fight such a large and corrupt system, he can’t seem to help himself and must take a stand for what he knows is right. With a lot a tech savvy and some creativity he decides fight back.

“My technology was working for me, serving me, protecting me. It wasn’t spying on me. This is why I loved technology: if you used it right, it could give you power and privacy.”

A wonderful tech geek adventure that hooked me from the first page with good characters, compelling story line and lots of techy goodness. You will learn a bit about internet protocols, cryptography and electronic security as well as a bit about what freedom and privacy is really about (wanting privacy doesn’t mean you are a criminal and treating everyone as a suspect doesn’t keep you safer). It is a well written, enjoyable read that I think is also, at the risk of sounding cliche, an “important read”.