In both his novels and in his 2005 essay, How We Live Now, John Twelve Hawks was one of the first authors to warn us about the growing power of surveillance technology.
Now he has written a personal and controversial book that shows how our lives are watched and analyzed by governments and international corporations.
In a world in which our actions can be monitored by a computerized grid of social control, is there anything we can do to defend our freedom?
"John Twelve Hawks" is a pseudonym and his real identity is unknown. Also known as JTH to his readers, John Twelve Hawks is the author of the new near-future thriller, Spark (October 2014), and the 2005 dystopian novel The Traveler and its sequels, The Dark River and The Golden City, collectively comprising the Fourth Realm Trilogy. The trilogy has been translated into 25 languages and has sold more than 1.5 million books.
Against Authority begins with a personal description of the neurological experiments performed on Hawks when he was a child and
states that all of us have the ability to reject the “right” of those in
power to control our lives. JTH describes how the reaction of
governments to the September 11 attacks led to the Patriot Act in the United States and the proliferation of Closed-circuit television cameras in London. He references his 2006 essay How We Live Now that was his first published reaction to these systematic attacks on privacy.
The book explains how the Total Information Awareness program developed by John Poindexter at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) led to the expansion of the National Security Agency and the revelations of Edward Snowden.
Hawks criticizes the assumption of “mass surveillance” strategies
against terrorism and shows how “trickle down surveillance” has spread
to small towns and developing countries.
JTH believes that surveillance technology has given those in power a
crucial tool for social control. He describes how the culture of
surveillance is used to track citizens for commercial reasons and gives
examples of how people are now routinely watched at work. In the
conclusion, He advocates a strategy of “parallel lives” that allows
people to exist in the digital world while protecting their private
actions and thoughts.