Information warfare is just one click away.
Worried about Alexa listening to your private conversations? What about identity theft? Or the census tracking illegal immigrants? If Big Brother and Big Tech had a love child, it would be Big Data—information gathered about citizens that could be used for nefarious purposes.
In CODE 6, the 30th novel and newest thriller from bestselling author James Grippando, these concerns are just the tip of the cybersecurity iceberg as billion-dollar companies, the US government, and China tabulate who will be targeted and who won’t.
In the novel, law school student Kate Gamble is writing a play, one she’s researched for years. America used the IBM Hollerith D-eleven card sorting machine to collect data for the US census. But Kate didn’t capture the more dangerous truth surrounding the machines.
In 1939, the Nazis used the same Hollerith machines to collect information about the ancestry, religious preferences, and assets of 80 million German citizens. Unfortunately, it was used to identify those with Jewish ancestry, leading to their incarceration in concentration camps. Famous playwright Irving Bass wants to direct her play, but only if Kate rewrites it to focus on the German Reich’s use of the machine to round up Jews for the death camps.
Kate has lived with techno information collection her entire life. Her father is Christian Gamble, founder and CEO of Buck Technologies, a multibillion-dollar information gathering company partially funded by the CIA. When Kate works for Buck, employee and friend Patrick Battle slips when he tells her the play is eerily similar to Buck’s classified Project Naivete.
Kate’s former boyfriend, Noah Dunn, is a senior prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Cybercrimes Unit investigating Buck in a cybersecurity audit. After Patrick’s revelation, he’s sent to the Colombian jungle for a corporate survival exercise. As Kate learns more about the clandestine purposes of her father’s company, it appears her play captures more insights into cyber-spying than she ever dreamed. Digging deeper, she discovers Buck’s data mining targets more than she ever considered: exploitation of the dreams and desires of teen girls.
Amidst Patrick’s disappearance, the cybersecurity audit, rewriting her play, and her mother’s mysterious death, Kate isn’t sure who she can trust.
Read the rest of my review and interview with Grippando in The Big Thrill.