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on 1 November 2008
If you think I'm being paranoid, I'm not. It is highly likely that this review & anyone who reads it online have been swept up into the data vacuum cleaner of the NSA for analysis. Though this book is largely about the US's National Security Agency, that eavesdrops on the world's electronic communications, it is as equally relevant to the UK with GCHQ (our NSA) being intimately involved with American eavesdropping.

Be aware, that in parts, this book can be quite technical, as the NSA use the world's most powerful supercomputers to sort through all the billions of e-mails & phone calls from around the world. You'll find out what a petaflop is! It also might make people who are supporters of George Bush hot under the collar as Bamford is clearly anti-Bush. However, it is a fascinating & frightening read about what they are already capable of doing & what they will soon be capable of- nothing less than the systematic profiling of the whole US population based on their web searches, telephone conversations, credit card purchases, etc. The NSA have developed an artificial intelligence that can basically tell how people think through these activities.

The NSA has too long been shrouded in secrecy; this is a timely drawing back of the curtain that updates into Bamford's back catalogue of books about the NSA. It is clear the NSA has a vital mission in fighting terrorism & espionage, but at what price to freedom & democracy?

I just wonder how long it is before there's a knock on the door....
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on 23 August 2013
I liked the book. Well written, well researched - maybe a bit too heavy on detail in parts. I would recommend it in terms of the way it should raise consciousness about how freedom and democracy can be undermined and what could or should be done to control this.
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on 23 August 2013
...particularly in the light of recent disclosures. Dives into the technology, motivations, constraints and politics of intelligence gathering with a strong focus on signals intelligence and the challenges of dealing with the information explosion of the last couple of decades. Recent disclosures (as of summer 2013) pick-up where this book leaves off.
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on 24 May 2016
Updated to the Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets.
Describes exactly where the taps were placed on the early East, Central and West switches, town, road, building, room number and all! -this should scare you if you think you had some privacy before on the internet, now there is none at all.Most telling , it describes exactly how snooping on you has been outsourced to Korea, India and China, where there are no laws to stop it, and results are sent back to NSA. Gives a LOT of detail, a lot of it technical. A tour-de-force. Describes exactly why there is no internet privacy on your surfing, email, texting, twitting etc and all Government guarantees are false. If you are from the Colonies (eg" America) I would be pretty mad about the selling of you.
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on 1 May 2015
Brilliant, jaw dropping, eye popping stuff. Obviously the Snowden leaks confirm/reaffirm a lot of what's in Bamford's book. The criminality of the NSA (and GCHQ), the complicity of some/most in the corporate sector and the tacit; if not overt; approval and encouragement of criminality by the government(s) is staggering and, of course, it continues today; all funded (and they are gargantuan funds) by the taxpayer. A great and terrifying read for anyone concerned about civil liberties, the rule of law, the end of privacy and the sham that is 'Western Democracy'.
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on 20 January 2015
This book is a brilliant insight into aspects of our worldwide intelligence networks. NSA by its very nature must remain as secret as we can make it, especially in the modern world. Despite the constant bickering about how much we pay for this facility in the USA, I personally feel every penny spent was worthwhile. A good read and a must for the intelligence orientated readers amongst us. Highly recommended.
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on 12 November 2014
Very impressive piece of work, and the first half - the lead up to 9/11 - is totally engrossing. Gives a bit of depth to the Snowden revelations. As I mentioned it does loose a bit of steam and is not as engrossing in the second half, but still worth the read.
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on 29 June 2013
Excellent book. Shows that many people died unnecessarily due to the poor performance of the NSA, CIA and FBI. There is more to tracking terrorists than spying on emails......
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on 27 November 2010
Great book but when I started to read it and got to page 16 there were pages missing!! 17 to 48 inclusive!! Very annoying because I'd saved this book for a business trip that I've just got back from.

Not very happy and would ideally like Amazon to investigate with the publisher because there was no sign of these pages being ommitted, it is clearly a manufacture/production fault.

Would have been the perfect 5 stars had this fault not been there.
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on 20 June 2014
Well in light if Edward Snowden the information presented is nothing new, it is still a reasonable account of the internal politics of who is watching who but nothing special. It does get bogged down in places and somewhat of a bitchfest between players and you can easily put this book down and come back later.
Readable and helps pass an afternoon but not very informative.
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