What happens when a naive intern is granted unfettered access to people’s most private thoughts and actions? Stephen Thorpe lands a coveted internship at Ubatoo, an Internet empire that provides its users with popular online services, from a search engine and e-mail, to social networking. When Stephen’s boss asks him to work on a project with the American Coalition for Civil Liberties, Stephen innocently obliges, believing he is mining Ubatoo’s vast databases to protect people unfairly targeted in the name of national security. But nothing is as it seems. Suspicious individuals surface, doing all they can to access Ubatoo’s wealth of confidential information. This need not require technical wizardry—simply knowing how to manipulate a well-intentioned intern may be enough.
The Silicon Jungle is a cautionary fictional tale of data mining’s promise and peril. Baluja raises ethical questions about contemporary technological innovations, and how minute details can be routinely pieced together into rich profiles that reveal our habits, goals, and secret desires—all ready to be exploited.