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The near future of privacy - as presented by Cory Doctorow

One of my podcasts just mentioned a new book by Cory Doctorow, called Radicalized (link is to the author’s website).

Mr Doctorow is a well known Canadian writer of science fiction and non-fiction, and this latest effort is a collection of four visions of the possible near-ish future.

My podcast included an extract from one of the stories, titled Unauthorized Bread (dang this North American spelling!). The story describes what happens when your smart products - including your toaster - refuse to accept products from anyone but their manufacturer… and the manufacturer goes bust!

While the ACCC has already stomped on printers that try to insist on their own ‘special’ ink, I can easily imagine a world in which a large proportion of devices are not only Internet-connected but will phone home to make sure what your doing is ‘manufacturer-authorised’.

Mr Doctorow happens to hold certain views on copyright and freedom of ideas, and many of his books are free to download (e.g. Context). His website even includes information about full audio versions of his books that have been published on the Internet Archive and a search of the Archive for his name brings up plenty of books he has published under a creative commons licence as well as translations into other languages. Just remember that he does make a living from his writing.