The Rands Conspiracy takes the reader on a Bourne-style case as Josh Borland and his development team run for their lives after creating an experimental spy-ware program for the powerful, government funded Rands Group.
Prize winning author Jon Batson wrote The Rands Conspiracy to create an exciting story people would enjoy while bringing to light issues related to the flagrant and often unknown misuses of personal data collection.
Jon Batson Author Songwriter
Each of you has at some point entered onto the Internet all that is needed to replicate you. Not just basic information, but your likes, your dislikes, your opinions, your secret passion and sexual preference. Each of you at some point has expressed your displeasure at something or other. And all that is needed is to gather that information and tint it slightly, to spin it in such a way that it can be manipulated by someone else. Josh Borland created just such a software on government contract, experimental, not to be used, just to see if it could be done. If it could be done, safeguards could be made. But one day the door was locked, the computers were gone and he was handed his severance check. So he did what any red-blooded American male would do, he went to the beach and got good and drunk. When he woke up, he found the rest of the party-goers had been shot.
Your privacy and mine is fast going the way of the Dodo.
There was news of a government agency giving an airline company private information on half a million citizens of the US to assess terrorist risks. This was cross-matched with the passenger lists and information from the national census to find ‘anomalies’.
Place that into a landscape of political correctness that has run wild for far too long and you have a formula for disaster. What we think, right or wrong, can be known and dealt with before a person has the chance to stand up and shout an opinion.
Though there has been quite a bit written about the amount of data-trafficking, cross-referencing and information-sharing going on around the globe, it is having no effect.
A recent Public Television special on the invasion of privacy was scheduled opposite the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special, diminishing the show’s impact. An award-winning novel on the same subject, the loss of privacy, shot up the best seller’s list only to be dismissed as ‘entertaining fare’ by hired guns posing as critics.
The business advisor to one highly placed official wrote an extensive paper regarding the legal ramifications of technical information gathering. He was appalled at the amount of information that could be casually gathered on someone in a single day with a common home computer; much of it unauthorized. Is the data true? Some of it perhaps, and some not – but if it is found at all, it creates a technology leak that is too big to plug.
The point is, you can kiss your privacy goodbye. There is no such thing as a secure server. Identity theft is almost a non-crime considering how easy it is. What you do and where you go, especially online, is common knowledge and a simple cross-referencing program is all that is needed to establish a pattern.
Have you taken part in a survey online? Did it ask for your preference in perfumes, books, political parties or television shows? Have you filled in a women’s magazine questionnaire to find out if you are attractive to the opposite sex or ‘fit the profile’ of an eligible mate? You are providing information that is traceable to you and can become part of a database later to be used against you.
For many years, advertising and marketing surveys have gathered information for the purpose of discovering what we buy and why. Now the technique is being extended to our schools, "psychographic surveying" in order to find out what the kids are thinking as a reflection of what the parents are thinking. Your information leak could be your five-year-old.
How was this witches’ brew made? First, a broth of personal information is put into the pot: name, address, phone, age, weight and mother’s maiden name. Then add opinions, preferences and feelings – using surveys, tests and questionnaires from school, online sites and consumer magazines. Include cross-referenced public and private records, checking account and credit card spending patterns. Now stir well with a mathematical logarithm to predict reactions, individual and group, to hypothetical situations and find common areas of agreement among political, religious, demographic and socioeconomic groups. Voila! Profiler’s Stew: complete with the name and address of those most likely, in our computer program’s ‘mind’, to commit a crime of a politically incorrect opinion.
Every piece of personal information you possess is available, along with the presumed capability to evaluate your state of mind… and that of your child. Also under evaluation is the little tyke’s fitness to serve in the military in future years, his potential to be a contributing member of society and his parent’s ability to properly raise children – as well as his parent’s potential predilection to tax evasion. Your tax dollars at work!
Are you concerned that the government or some lesser agency might be assembling a dossier on you right now, prying into every possible corner of your existence?
Again, too late! That ship has sailed! The files are already being assembled with arrangements being made to put the information on a microchip and embedded inside you, complete with GPS tracking. But that is another story entirely.