Book review: IDENTIFIED

(I’m not sure why the title is in capitals, but there we go…)

West Wilder is released on parole with a promise to never hack computers again. He just wants to recoup his young adulthood. But the world he knew has changed. The days of the NSA as a privacy-invading boogeyman seem almost quaint. Now a global security agency called G20S has its digital tentacles everywhere. Ordinary people are treated as threats just because they use the internet.

Following the endeavours of a group of incredibly talented (almost too talented, given how quickly they can hack pretty much anything?) hackers, IDENTIFIED (by John Wilander) is a fast-moving novel, with numerous twists and turns.

There are two predominant themes: hacking, and the Orwellian always-on monitoring of the global security franchise G20S, based around a blockchain-stored unique digital identity of every person.

I enjoyed it, and stayed up later than I should have done to finish it.

I wonder how well this will age. If you read it now - as in, right now - a lot of the references and side jokes will resonate. The sub-title of the book is “A hacker thriller ripped from the headlines of today’s newspapers”, and I think that is spot on.