"Future Crimes" by Marc Goodman. A Review
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Paranoia will quickly set in, and if it doesn't it probably ought to! That's the immediate effect of reading "Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World". This 608 page paperback reprint, and light expansion, of the 2015 hardback, was penned by Marc Goodman. Goodman is the founder of Future Crimes Institute and holds the chair of Policy, Law, Ethics at Singularity University, and has been a Law Enforcement Officer, Futurist with the FBI, and Senior Adviser to Interpol. As readability goes, the book is very accessible. My 19 year old son gulped it down in a week. As for content, it is overwhelming and inundating with details and designs.
"Future Crimes" is a dossier compiling gigabytes of factual exemplifications showing the interconnections of our cyber-world's "Internet of Things" (IoT), and exposing how deeply vulnerable we are to cyber-crimes. As Goodman notes, the "nature of the Internet means that we are increasingly living in a borderless world. Today anybody, with good or ill intent, can virtually travel at the speed of light halfway around the planet" (15). But the Utopian giddiness of this http:// world is quickly exploded because cyberspace is outpacing the ability to build in substantive security measures. The hyper-speed advances have therefore left colossal holes that can be, and are, exploited by malign forces. The huge bulk of the book gives case study after case study, example after example, and illustration after illustration of how connected we are, and how truly assailable we have become. The author approaches a plethora of levels of susceptibility, whether its through hacking and viruses, fake news and tweaked social media, cell phones turned on their owners to spy on them, compromised automated homes and automobiles, arson through network-connected copiers, infiltrated robotics, prosthesis and biometrics, to name a few. "The cyber threat is thus morphing from a purely virtual problem into a physical world danger. The result, as we have seen throughout this book, is that science fiction is becoming science fact before our very eyes" (442).
But "Future Crimes" is not a diatribe against the internet and technology. Rather, Goodman's intent is to show how susceptible we are to the assaults of rogue governments, Crime, Inc., hackers and the malevolent, and to work toward remedies. Goodman catalogs several workable antidotes that range from government actions, to corporate incentives, down to the personal. This section of the book is thought-provoking and gives some sensible stability after almost 400 pages of paranoia producing information.
In the end "Future Crimes" is a deluge of alarms that appear to be well grounded and require reasoned responses. This volume should be required reading for college courses, IT departments, VPs, CEOs, CIO's, law enforcement agencies, and intelligence bureaus. But also individuals who want to preserve themselves from identity theft and intellectual-property fraud. It's an extremely important book that should be in the hands of the masses. Rush out and snatch up a copy ASAP!
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