Digital Fortress by Dan Brown Review
Codes. Ciphers. Pass-keys. Eavesdropping. Big Brother.
Project Echelon is a fact. The UKUSA Alliance is a fact. US satellites in low orbit intercept lost signals from phone microwave transmitters. E-mails can and are opened and read by our intelligence services. Phone conversations are listened to by the most advanced computers in the world, listening for designated key-words. How many terrorist attacks have been foiled? How many criminals have been put behind bars? How has our National Security been protected? We will never know, but you can be sure that we sleep more safely in our beds because of the work the NSA, MI6 and Communication Intercept Agencies are listening out for the bad guys.
In Digital Fortress Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci weaves together a thriller based around the concept of an unbreakable code. What would happen if none of our Intelligence Services could decode enemy transmissions? How far would we go to stop that code falling into the wrong hands?
Of course there is always more to the subject. An unbreakable code is one thing, but as we all know, communication intercepts are only as good as the intelligence that checks their validity. Military history, all the way back to Roman Times is littered with instances of deception and counter espionage. How did the Allies keep D-Day a secret from the Germans for so long? Why did the German Generals still think the invasion was coming through Calais well into a week after we had landed in Normandy ? Because they had no one on the ground to check all the radio and air surveillance that was pointing towards a huge build-up of troops around Dover , when instead they were far to the West.
What I'm trying to say is that although Dan Brown has written a great thriller, computer based intelligence intercepts are no where near as effective as operatives & informants in enemy territories and organisations. If we spent as much resource on that as on complicated intercept infrastructure we would be a lot safer then we are now.
Digital Fortress. A good read, but delve deeper into the subject to find out the truth.
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