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

Co-Winner of the 2012 Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work, Media Ecology Association

Paperback | 2015 | $19.95 | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780691169675
352 pp. | 5 3/4 x 9
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What happens when a naive intern is granted unfettered access to people's most private thoughts and actions? Stephen Thorpe lands a coveted internship at Ubatoo, an Internet empire that provides its users with popular online services, from a search engine and e-mail, to social networking. When Stephen’s boss asks him to work on a project with the American Coalition for Civil Liberties, Stephen innocently obliges, believing he is mining Ubatoo’s vast databases to protect people unfairly targeted in the name of national security. But nothing is as it seems. Suspicious individuals surface, doing all they can to access Ubatoo’s wealth of confidential information. This need not require technical wizardry—simply knowing how to manipulate a well-intentioned intern may be enough.

The Silicon Jungle is a cautionary fictional tale of data mining’s promise and peril. Baluja raises ethical questions about contemporary technological innovations, and how minute details can be routinely pieced together into rich profiles that reveal our habits, goals, and secret desires—all ready to be exploited.

Shumeet Baluja is a senior staff research scientist at Google and the inventor of over 100 patents in algorithms, data mining, privacy, and artificial intelligence.


"Baluja's clever, cynical debut explores the frightening possibilities of data mining. . . . A nod to Upton Sinclair's muckraking The Jungle, which scared its readers into regulating the meat-packing industry, this lively if depressing novel suggests that computer snooping is too seductive to control, despite the consequences."--Publishers Weekly

"[F]righteningly convincing. . . . The read is quick, the questions will linger, and the ideas are so intriguing. . . . Baluja simplifies the abstract world of tech-speak for the rest of us while aiming to do for the Internet what Upton Sinclair's The Jungle did for the meat industry: make readers reconsider its safety. For fans of intelligent thrillers."--Stephen Morrow, Library Journal

"In the era of the ubiquitous web company, The Silicon Jungle provides ample food for thought."--Zena Iovino, New Scientist

"[T]his cautionary tale is fascinating for its exploration of technology as a conduit for crime."--Michele Leber, Booklist Online

"The book's central message is fascinating. A company like Google, Baluja points out, has far more information on U.S. citizens than does the FBI and far fewer restrictions on how to use it. It's a chilling message in a fun package."--Kathleen Offenholley, Mathematics Teacher


"A cerebral, cautionary tale. Credible and scary."--Vint Cerf, Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist and one of the "Fathers of the Internet"

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