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Tech Q&A

Mick Farren

Describe your latest project.
I’m the lead author of Who's Watching You? with John Gibb, a British journalist. The subtitle is "The Chilling Truth About The State, Survellance, and Personal Freedom." The official description is:

The threat of terrorism and the corresponding climate of fear encouraged by the State have together eroded our freedom to live our lives in peace and quiet away from the prying eyes of hidden cameras. The state is tightening its grip on us by watching and recording what we do. They are doing this because they know they can and because knowledge is power. But exactly who are "they" and why do they want to know so much about us? This book includes chilling, accurate and up-to-date descriptions of the methods the state (and private company proxies) uses to watch us. Essential reading for everyone concerned about privacy and freedoms of speech and association, even—perhaps especially—if you don’t plan on doing anything wrong.

In the book we cover all the obvious surveillance techniques and devices like RFID, human chip implants, surveillance cameras and facial recognition software, to less obvious dangers such as the enormous wealth of personal information being gathered by private companies like Google and ChoicePoint. We’re not paranoid, far from it, but we do try to give a big picture look at just how far gone we are in the surrender of personal privacy. What the reader does with the information is up to him or her, but it’s not revealing too much to say that we hope there will be some pushback.

What inspires you to sit down and write?
The knowledge that I will die horribly if I don't. The best metaphor for this is in the Stephen King novel Misery.

Umm, it’s just what I do. There’s so much going on in the world, and we need reliable information filters more and more. I seem to be a good filter. With respect, the whole point of my new book is to educate people on how their privacy is being eroded.

Describe your favorite childhood teacher and how that teacher influenced you.
He was called David Sylvester and he saw that under my faux-James Dean exterior, I could write.

Chess or video games?

What do you do for relaxation?

What's your favorite Blog right now?
Mistress Matisse.

Douglas Adams or Scott Adams?
Douglas Adams.

What was your favorite book as a kid?
Dracula by Bram Stoker.

What new technology do you think may actually have the potential for making people's lives better?
The nanobot when it happens.

If you could be reincarnated for one day to live the life of any scientist or writer, who would you choose and why?
The Marquis de Sade, before his wife's family tossed him in jail. Why? New dimensions of fun.

What was your best subject in high school? Your worst?
English, worst was French.

What are some of the things you'd like your computer to do that it cannot now do?
Change the cat box.

Describe the best museum of science and/or industry you've ever visited and what made it great.
The Natural History Museum in London. The giant Tesla coil.

By the end of your life, where do you think humankind will be in terms of new science and technological advancement?
Extinct, I fear.

Which country do you believe currently leads the world in science and technology? In ten years?
The USA now. In ten years it'll be China.

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