They can watch us, of course. We knew they could. We suspected. But to have it confirmed, to discover that exactly this and precisely that, these emails we sent, those calls we made, are neatly documented and filed away (just in case there should be a future cause for concern, of course, don't worry yourself, it will probably never be you) ... that's a little uncomfortable.
Novels dealing in privacy-free futures aren't new, with Orwell's 1984 the granddaddy of them all. (Is there anything that book didn't get right? Only things that haven't come true yet). But they're rapidly becoming more relevant. As we shift our lives online, more of what used to be private by default is made visible to digital eyes, both government and corporate, which sift, analyze and seek out patterns. The kind of privacy we used to enjoy without thinking about it — back when we traveled without swiping, purchased without registering and liked without clicking — is a thing of the past. Privacy is no longer something we get for free.
And is it worth it? Because it's easier to be tracked: to swipe the card, to sign up for the service, to install the app. We get a lot of cool stuff that way. A lot of convenience. So why resist? What's the downside? Three lesser-known books answer have an answer.