Small-business owner Daugherty, in his debut, recounts how he uncovered shady practices going on behind closed government doors.
In May 2008, several years before government surveillance became an explosive issue in America, everything was going well at an Atlanta cancer-detection facility that the author started 12 years before. Then he received a call from someone at a data security firm who claimed to have his patients’ confidential medical data. What initially seemed like extortion turned out to be part of an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission—and Daugherty began to realize that there were forces at work beyond his control. Using emails, letters, cited sources, extensive research and data, the author explains how he eventually uncovered a relationship between the FTC and various private security firms, who, instead of trying to stop malware that preys on private information, instead attack small businesses—the malware’s victims—for security failures. Daugherty’s story is harrowing and hard to ignore: Orwellian in its exploration of government overreach and lawyer doublespeak and Kafkaesque in its nightmarish depiction of innocent citizens falsely accused. Daugherty has clearly done his research, and he skillfully explains the political processes that he believes lie at the heart of the FTC’s questionable practices. At times, the book reads like an engaging thriller, but it also drags at points and, overall, may be too long for its own good. Some readers may wish that the author were less concerned with minutiae, or eased up on some of the more hard-line anti-establishment rhetoric; if the book were tighter and more streamlined, it might have been far greater. That said, as it stands, it’s an effective and frightening cautionary tale.
A true story of a businessman’s struggle in the digital information age.