Recommended Reading: Silicon Valley's role in government surveillance

Updated ·2 min read

Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

The National Security Agency (NSA) headq
The National Security Agency (NSA) headq

The NSA's surveillance tactics have been discussed at length, and will continue to be as new information comes to light. In a recent book, author Shane Harris details Silicon Valley's involvement with the government's watch, including how some companies are disclosing security flaws to US agencies before they're alerting customers. Harris also covers details like how network traffic is shared and how backdoors are intentionally left open for the authorities' prying eyes. Want to read on? You can dive in with an excerpt from the title over at Salon.

The Shazam Effect
by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

Data from streaming services is being used to analyze an artist's popularity for planning tours and figuring out which tunes will be hits. It's a great business move, but will it kill variety in the music industry?


Beyond: A Story in Five Dimensions
by Wired

Guest editor Christopher Nolan guides an issue of Wired through five dimensions to enhance the reading experience. Why five? "Because if we can get our heads around the idea that time is just a fourth dimension, no more noble or abstract than the other three, then the fifth dimension reveals itself as the perch we have to climb onto to be able to actually view the four dimensions we know," Nolan explains.


The Oral History of the Poop Emoji
Lauren Schwartzberg, Fast Company

Ah, the poop emoji. We all love it. Now you can read about how it came to pass (sorry, I couldn't resist), its Japanese heritage and why it almost didn't make the cut.


Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?
by Michael Shermer, Scientific American

On regular basis, folks buy into seemingly well-argued conspiracy theories. This piece takes a look at why that is, and how anxiety and fear lend a hand in the myths taking root.


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