Deibert is always acute and provocative but where he is most interesting is in the final section of the book, where he lays out a recipe of possible remedies. He argues strongly for regulations to limit the extent of data harvesting by private companies. Why should a weather app need to access our social contacts? To this end, he supports the call by Tim Wu, the Columbia University professor, to create a “codified anti-surveillance regime”.
There have been many disturbing books about the surveillance society and its abuses. This one is more convincing than most. Deibert rambles and he often strays too far from hard evidence into theory. However, he has some of the best — ie most horrifying — stories. And, above all, he is right: one more unchallenged step down this road and any remaining shreds of our freedom and privacy will be lost.