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The Silicon Jungle: A Novel of Deception, Power, and Internet Intrigue
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The Silicon Jungle: A Novel of Deception, Power, and Internet Intrigue

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  68 ratings  ·  16 reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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As background - I enjoy reading books that are recommended by Scientific American - this one caught my eye. Books based on technology and real world issues are my particular favorites (see Brave New World, Freakanomics). This book worked for me.

First and foremost a scientist from Google wrote this book (you should look the author up on Google, in fact). He wrote this book about a fictional company and went to great length to say it is not based on Google - but come on, of course it's Google. It
Jonathan Lu
Great story concept from a former Google employee, though clearly one whose background is technology and not literature. I loved the story itself, which Baluja clearly meant as a wake-up-call to the public in his attempt to be the modern day technology Upton Sinclair - one that is very feasible itself and well stated by this choice quote between interns at the Google-esque company:
²"Everybody just hands us their data. Think anybody would just hand their e-mails over to the NSA? I don't think so
Keith Kendall
Sep 17, 2012 Keith Kendall rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Keith by: Goodreads
Shelves: fiction
I started reading this book thoroughly convinced that it is a thinly disguised description of what goes on inside Google. I finished the book, believing what the author says - it is a novel. As I got into the book, the suspense built, something that I am not used to because I generally don't read that kind of books. I had a surprisingly good feeling at the end, without the book having a 'they lived happily ever after' ending. There are a lot of things left unresolved - much like real life, the " ...more
Summer Kennedy
May 31, 2011 Summer Kennedy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
The Silicon Jungle is not only a fun and compelling thriller, but is also a scary glimpse into the dangers of living our lives online and a fascinating look into the absolutely insane culture of Silicon Valley. The story itself is structured in a nonlinear way which ups the suspense and keeps the reader guessing as to how all of the seemingly disconnected parts come together. The structure of the story is itself an illustration of how data miners put together all the tidbits of our lives and sno ...more
Eh...thought it might be a fun read, particularly with the NSA scandal currently breaking, but I just couldn't get into it. While "big data" and the amount of personal information we regularly divulge on the internet and other technologies is rich territory for some very terrifying writing, both fiction and non-fiction, Silicon Jungle never quite delivered for me; I wanted a book that would invoke a feeling of dread every time I use google, rather than a general "meh" that led me to skim through ...more
Hugh Knight
The Silicon Jungle is a fascinating thriller inside the data-mining world. He combines his "insiders knowledge" (as a Senior Staff Research Scientist at Google) with a fast moving plot of Stephen Thorpe's life, his "dream" job and his new relationship. His business contacts thrust him into a mysterious world of deception, power and access to sensitive information for noble and/or nefarious purposes.

He engages you with the personal thoughts and feelings of his characters. The ending is spell-bind
I found this book in the library by accident and it turned out to be a great read, both as an insight into start ups, Silicon Valley and the implications of search giants like Google and the privacy issues being debated re the NSA and other authorities with a mandate to protect us. The amount of information available to all and sundry today is scary enough without thinking about what the search giants are now offered by digital citizens. Recommended reading for everyone today.
Amy Broome
I like technical books. I really do. That being said, I was really bored with the technical details, and found myself skimming through the data mining sections. Now, if they'd talked more about the server farms or sexy applications ... (I'm revealing my inner geek).

It's interesting. I would have to agree that we've only really harnessed data to further targeted advertising, and additional applications are really experimental - and sometimes questionable.
Scary to think of what information the Googles of this world gather about us based on our internet usage. This book is written by a Google research scientist, and while it is a work of fiction, many of the data mining techniques discussed in the book seem realistic. The story follows an intern at a fictional company as he figures out how to piece together internet searches and emails to make a list of people on government watch lists.
I think that "1984"is with us! Instead of regarding Big Brother with fear and loathing, we opened all the doors and invited him in. He is in our homes, our schools, places of business. He works with law enforcement, our Department of Defense, the CIA,our educators on every level. We delight in our computers and they monitor and report on all that we do, draw conclusions, make inferences. Are we doomed? Maybe we are.
Jacob Peled
Aug 30, 2014 Jacob Peled rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: 1-stars, _2014
Although I am a Technical person. Dealing all day long with Computers, and Communication . I couldn't finish the book. Too long technical descriptions. The story didn't make much sense. There are other books out there. Lots of others. So why waist the time on some book that it seems you spend too much emotional effort to reed it.Gave uo on page 202.
Amelia Arsenault
This book starts out strong. I was hoping it would delve mire deeply into issues of privacy and corporate power. However, it devolves into a standard issue shallow thriller with too many plot diversions.
Is this book the 1984 book of our time? Great read. Didn't really want to access anything on the Internet after reading it, though. Definitely some reflective thought about datamining after reading this.
Somewhat disjointed, but an interesting look at the privacy implications of big data.
Nino Uziel
It is a scary notion to think that this such a thing can actually happen.
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